Are we safe?
Three squeezed my hand. All clear. I put my head above the water to check. The grounds were empty and I could hear gunshots from the palace and screaming. We climbed out and grabbed the bag of our electronics. Three found a gardener and made him lead us to a way out.
‘Quick go! Good luck.’ He whispered as we ran through the gardener's gate onto the back road.
Two pulled us around towards a field.
‘I have a mini cooper. Hang on.’ He walked along the field until he came to a shed. Three ran to help as we walked along behind.
‘So. I was thinking that this may take a long time.’ Louis said casually as we walked through the field of golden Barley. It was cutting my legs as I walked, making them sting slightly.
‘We should get to know each other better.’
‘Louis we have been friends since year 7. What is there to know?’ He looked uncomfortable at my question and looked away.
‘Like I don’t know.’ Two let out a triumphant cry.
‘Found it. Come on guys. Quickly!’ We ran towards the shed. A gleaming white Mini Cooper was in the field now. Three opened the door for us as we piled into the mini. The inside was a creamy leather with black stitching.
‘Alright guys. Best bet is getting to Britain as we all have British passports. Taylor will get in without hers because she is a princess.’ Two said briefing us on the situation. I smiled to myself thanking the stars I didn’t have to have a passport.
‘Well what about you guys I mean it can’t be that easy to get out.’ I asked them as Three looked out the window not answering my question.
‘Taylor you are asking us to get out of the country we grew up in. I know a secret way out of the country.’ Two turned around and flashed a bright smile at me. I noticed that Louis looked put out but put on a fake smile to hide his emotions.
‘Cool. We can stay at Taylors british house once we get there.’ He said clapping his hands excitedly.
‘If we get there. This is a serious thing. If Ethelburgesa turns into a land where there is a dictator then we have a problem. If they put out an arrest warrant for both of you we will have an issue.’ Two said more seriously as he slotted the keys into the ignition.
‘Why?’ Louis asked as Three turned around to face us.
‘Because it will be treason if they demand to have you brought in. This is also called kidnapping a minor. You two are under eighteen.’ We were now flying along small country roads towards the Russian border. It was slowly getting darker and darker as night drew in. So I guess nothing lasts as long as you want it to. The last thing I remember was falling asleep on Louis shoulder and him throwing a smug look at the back of Two’s seat.
I awoke to the sounds of cheers and the opening of bottles. I got out of the car to where Two, Three and Louis were stood.
‘We are finally in Russia. Two got his great aunt to help us across the border.’ Three said with excitement. I felt a small smile stretch at the corners of my mouth. I had left all my family behind in my country which was being overridden with corrupt generals and evil laws that would harm the poor and scar the innocent across the country. Louis hugged me close.
‘I know how you feel. I want to go back but we can’t and must look forwards to what lies ahead. It is not good to dwell on the past and miss out on what is happening.’ He tried to sound wise and clever.
‘How long did it take you to think that one up? Do you need a seat? All that thinking must have made you feel dizzy.’ I said fanning his face.
‘Taylor, stop it.’ Two said quietly. I turned and narrowed my eyes at him.
‘What? I am teasing him.’
‘You are hiding what you are feeling.’ He said getting up off the floor. ‘It will eat you up and you won’t be a nice person by the end of this trip.’ He said.
‘Are you going to counsel me then?’ I asked sarcastically as Two took me around to the other side of the mini so the others couldn’t hear me.
‘Tell me what you are feeling. You can come to me at any time about this but just tell me.’ He said seriously.
‘I am bloody terrified,’ I whispered sobering up. ‘Not just for me but for my father and my grandmother. However much she annoyed me she is still family.’ He awkwardly gave me a boy hug and stood up. He offered me a hand up which I graciously took. I felt a huge weight off my shoulders once I had told Two about my feelings but I also left vulnerable; I had told him something I didn’t know I was feeling and it felt quite good. Two had a sense of peace around him which made you feel that you could tell him anything.
I leaned against the Mini as Two started shepherding the other two into the it.
‘We will be our own small family. However dysfunctional we may be. You will go to school and we will be your guardians. We are still being paid from the royal vault. That won’t change unless you die.’ He said firmly as they complained about him being bossy.
‘So we have a steady fund to keep us going until we get to England. From there we can stay at Firs Cottage and then Louis and I can go back to school or we could be home schooled.’ Two smiled down at me and shut the door after me.
‘Okay guys. We are going to find a motel and stay there tonight. We are going to be using cash only. Harder to track.’ Three said wisely and looked at me like he wanted my approval.
‘I’ll drive.’ He said when I looked blankly at him.
‘No! Nobody is driving my baby.’ Two said quickly slamming the drivers door shut after he climbed in. Three looked offended but moved to the passenger side.
‘I won’t crash it.’ He said crossly. Two coughed which sounded a lot like 2013.
We checked into a small grotty Motel where there were two double beds an hour later. Two offered to sleep on the floor with Three while Louis and I got the beds. Louis went to have a shower first but Two stopped him.
‘Taylor should have the first shower. She is a princess.’ It was quickly agreed on that they should keep guard by the door overnight just in case we had been followed and somebody came into kill us.
I was gently shaken awake by Louis who was grinning sleepily at me.
‘Come on. Get up. We are leaving.’ Two was handing over the money for the night and we set off.
There was a small village nearby where we stopped off. Two started speaking Russian and got us some provisions for a few days and a loaf of bread which we ate while looking at a Tv. There was a man was tall with closely cropped ginger hair. He had a scar down the left of his face from the middle of his forehead to just below the middle of his chin. His yellow eyes held a look of smugness and conceit in them.
‘Thats General Mosebush.’ Two whispered quietly for mine and Louis’s benefit. General Mosebush was making a speech that I must be found alive for a great reward. They brought out my father and addressed me.
‘Taylor. If you come back to Ethelburgesa we won’t shot your father. If you stay hidden away like a coward, we will shoot him and your grandmother. I won’t harm you or your family if you turn yourself into the nearest police by midnight tomorrow.’ Everyone was looking at us as we left. My vision went blurry as hot tears spilled onto my cheeks. I got up and walked out.
Two followed and grabbed my shoulder making me turn to face him.
‘Please can I go back? I need to! It is my father!’ Two grabbed my shoulders to make me look at him.
‘Taylor you can’t they will kill you and your father. You are Ethelburgesa’s last hope. We have to get you to England.’ I nodded. It hurt to know I was leaving my father behind. Even my grandmother because even if she scolded me about running, tried to force me into a marriage with my best friend, kept secrets, planned out my life for me, in the end she was still my grandmother who tried to do what was right for the country and me; Selflessly putting others before herself. I had not been the best granddaughter, ignoring her from time to time but in the short time I had known her I had learned to live with the fact that she would deteste me.
Three and Louis walked out with the provisions. Being guys they were awkward about how to comfort me while I tried to wipe away my tears. We got back into the mini and drove to the Russian border. Two produced our passports from the glove compartment and we were rushed through.
‘I had them stashed in my pocket just incase we needed a quick getaway. Seems I was right.’ He said bashfully to me. It was my turn to sit in the front as Louis and Three sat in the back chatting about chocolate.
We made it through passport control and the endless toll gates into Ukraine. We drove into Luxembourg and then into Switzerland with no fuss. After getting through the alps and into France was when we came into difficulties. After stopping off at a local bakery we stopped to watch the news in the shop.
‘Taylor Ayers. We are demanding you turn yourself in and come back home. Or we will shoot your grandmother on the spot at noon tomorrow.’ They General put up a photo of me. It was one of the photos that had been taken while Louis and I had been hanging out in the grounds it was grainy and poor but you could tell I had red hair and my height.
‘Citizens of the world if you see any of these people please call the police. They are needed back in their native country.’ The baker looked at me and Louis and then the picture. His hand reached for the phone but stopped.
‘Why are you running?’ His english had a strong french accent.
‘Because they are going to kill the princess and her family.’ He raised an eyebrow at Two's voice. Two had perfectly accented English as if it was his first language but he used another more often and so it was less smooth.
‘You are not English?’ The baker asked taking us all in. Two blondes, a brunette and a redhead: unlikely traveling companions but it was France and two of them looked like they had guns.
‘Father was full Ethelburgesan as was my mother. Please don't hand us in.' The baker smiled at us.
‘I could let you off but don’t forget what I have done for you.’ I smiled a bright smile which fooled everyone but Two. We had a lot in common as we found out when we had conversations in the car together.
‘We won’t.’ I said looking him straight in the eye willing him to believe me. He nodded and moved his hand away from the phone. A boy from my tutor walked in with his family as we walked out. He turned to look back at us as if to check he was seeing things right but we had gone.
Now is the time where I say if you like rainbows and three headed puppies and unicorns that ride on moonbeams and poop out rainbows then go and read another book. I won’t say why as that is spoilers but you can guess. If you want to keep reading be my guest. I won’t judge you for your choice.