Elijah watched him. The man’s face disappeared beneath his baseball cap as he lit a cigarette. He leant back against his car, and stuck his other tattooed hand inside a pocket. He looked absently around him. At least Elijah hoped it was absently.
Elijah glanced over at Adrian. She hadn’t looked up when the man had closed the car door. Now he wondered if she had heard it.
Adrian had heard it. She had noticed him in the car when they first pulled in. But she knew they wouldn’t have been able to get anyone out there that fast.
She hoped Stanfield was still at the house. She also hoped Elijah hadn’t cut the lines.
She dialed the home number. She turned her back towards the man standing outside his car.
“Hello?” Stanfield was still at the house. That was all she needed to know.
“Hey is Annie there?” she asked, mimicking a voice. She just needed it to look like a real call.
Click. He hung up.
She put the phone back.
Elijah was relieved when Adrian got back in the car. Though he thought it was a rather short phone call.
“Well?” he asked. She turned on the ignition and started pulling out.
“We’re going to book a room at a motel up the road so you can get some sleep.” She pulled back onto the road. “I’m going to drive back to the house.”
Elijah scooched forward, alarmed.
“Do you want to get yourself caught?” he asked. “Is that what that phone call was for, to see if he was still there?”
“He let you go. He’s doubting what he’s doing,” she answered. She glanced over at him. “He’s alone right now, and there shouldn’t be anyone there till morning. I’ll be back by then and we’ll both be out of here.”
Elijah didn’t say anything for a moment.
“What about the guy in the car?” he asked, quietly.
“They can’t get anyone here that fast,” she answered. Elijah didn’t say anything more. Neither of them did as she drove onto a busier road.
Elijah sat back, but watched her. The lines on her face were clear, placid. He had always known that Adrian wasn’t weak, but he wondered how she had quenched all her anger from that evening, and her shock in the apartment. If she had quenched it.
He stayed silent until they found a blue roofed motel with yellow lights and a half empty parking lot.
He sat forward again once she turned off the car.
“Before we go in I need to ask you something,” he said.
“What?” she shoved the keys in her pocket.
“Are you scared?” he asked.
She looked up sharply, and then back over at him. She opened her mouth, and for a moment nothing came out.
“What – no,” she stuttered. “It doesn’t matter.”
“No. It does. You offered to help me, I want you to know you don’t have to do it.”
“Well you took it so I should follow through,” she snapped back.
“Alright. But now I’m giving you an out,” he said.
She didn’t answer for a moment.
“Remember when I said – well, I told you the only friend you have is me,” she answered. ” I know I probably haven’t been the best of friends recently, but, I don’t want to lose you.”
She opened the car.
“So, now I’ll ask you: are you ready to start running?”
“You forget: I don’t run,” he said wryly and put his backpack over his shoulder and opened the car door.
Adrian drove off once they booked the room. Elijah was alone now, and it was dead quiet in the room, and also in the small town outside.
He turned off the lights, and sat on the bed alone in the dark. The only light came from the streetlights in through the blinds. He doubted he would be able to sleep, he felt too jumpy. He knew he would have to get out if Adrian wasn’t back by morning.
He glanced over at the red numbers on the clock. 1:13. He rolled his head back and closed his eyes and listened to the quiet, till his own thoughts began filling his head.
“Do you have any idea how you survived?” the military questioner had asked him.
It was after they had found him in the jungle, after he had escaped the Correlation.
“Uh…no, sir.” He had answered.
“You are the only survivor from flight 344. Is there anything that happened on board that might tell us why the plane was shot down?”
Elijah had hesitated. Me, that’s why. But he didn’t say that.
“No, sir. I – I don’t remember what happened before the crash.”
I don’t remember. I don’t remember. But I remember all the people’s faces.
He sat up. Unexpectedly he had fallen asleep. There was morning light coming through the window. And he was still alone.