flight through the forest
I'm currently sitting in front of a computer running an internet tracing anonymiser, which means, hopefully, that no-one can trace where I am. Suffice to say it is somewhere remote and not easily reached by car. In fact, the car is nowhere near at all. Let me fill you in on what happened after we turned off the main road to evade Miron, Ravel's sinister brother.
Miron was still on our tail a couple of miles later, which wasn't surprising really as there had been no turn off. I wasn't giving up hope though, because I knew of a forest about 3 miles ahead with enough roads and dirt-tracks crossing it to lose an entire convoy of baddies. The adrenalin was surging as I directed Ravel to drive faster. He kept trying to protest, but I knew that I had to remain strong of purpose and straight of thought. I would cut him down with a curt 'keep concentrating on the road Ravel!' each time he began to protest. Eventually he gave up and focused more on avoiding the potholes.
A few minutes later I saw the entrance to the forest. I could see Miron's car behind us, gaining ground, and knew that he would follow us into the woods. This was part of my plan. Once we had trees to offer some cover we could easily lose him. The place I wanted to reach was on the other side of the forest, three miles away.
At the last moment I told Ravel to turn right. He yanked the wheel sharply, forcing the car to lurch to the left as we left the tarmac and hit the dirt road. Almost immediately we were in dense forest on a long straight track. As we accelerated away, I glanced behind and saw Miron was almost upon us.
So the chase continued. I barked orders for Ravel to turn left and right as we sped through the densely packed forest. Row upon row of pine trees, tall and stiff, zipped past the car. The track was narrow and bumpy, and it was only due to Ravels' excellent driving skills that we avoided a crash. Equally up to the task, however, was Miron. We just couldn't shake him, and my planned exit point was growing ever closer. 'Faster!' I shouted at Ravel, my blood pumping and heart pounding.
'I no go any faster boss. I tell you this waste of time. I like fast driving but why we run away?'
'I've told you a dozen times. He had a gun.'
'No gun boss! I tell you fifty times it was not a gun.!'
'Did you see it Ravel?'
'I clearly saw a gun - turn left - and he was clearly taking it out of his jacket - turn right.'
Ravel managed the manouvre easily, changing smoothly down then accelerating away. Not that quickly, I thought, not quite fast enough to lose his brother.....'You're not driving fast enough!I said loudly, suddenly pricked by the notion that Ravel was deliberately driving slowly.
'OK boss. I stop car now. No point driving more. Miron is better driver. He spend many years driving in Romanian forests. He is a better driver than me. We will not lose him. If you are scared you stay in the car. I speak to him.'
'Ravel NO!' I shouted as he started to slow down. For a moment I was tempted to try and wrestle control of the car, but the trees were too close. We came to a gentle halt instead, and Ravel immediately left the car. Fearing the worst I locked the doors and slid down the seat as far as possible. If Miron took a shot at the windows I might be spared.
I heard Miron's car stopping behind us. His door opened, and immediately the two men started shouting at each other. I couldn't see anything, nor could I understand a word of what they were saying, but I guessed they were, in all probability, having an argument.
The commotion carried on for a good ten minutes. I remained motionless in the passenger side well of the car all this time, straining to listen for any escalation of hostilities and wondering whether Ravel was bartering for my life, or helping plan its end. My research assistant scares me sometimes, and I'm not afraid to admit it. It was all very different a few months ago, but the first appearance of Miron appears to have changed things. Nowadays Ravel is more sullen, seems less happy and more than a little insubordinate (note to self: book Ravel in for a therapy session asap).
Eventually I heard footsteps approaching the car. Were they Ravel's or Miron's, I asked myself. Moments later the answer was revealed as Ravel's face appeared at the window. 'Let me in boss,' he said.
'Where's Miron' I squeaked from my not-so-secret hiding position.
'He's going. He knows this forest also and is leaving us now.' As Ravel spoke I heard Miron's car starting. Moments later a high-pitched engine sound indicated he was reversing.
'OK, get in and tell me what happened' I said, instantly relieved that my life was no longer in imminent danger. I unlocked the doors, sat up and waited for Ravel to enter. He sat down and stared ahead in silence. I watched him for a few moments, unsure of why we weren't proceeding. He seemed deeply concerned about something. Eventually I asked what was the problem.
'OK, he tell me not to tell you.'
'He tell me not to tell you anything. I have to do some things for him, that is all. He was not after you.'
'But he drew a gun!'
'He draw....what he draw?'
'I told you a dozen times. The gun. He was going to shoot!'
'No boss. OK, you were right. It was a gun. He took it out out because his phone was in the same pocket and was ringing. I told him you were scared like a cat underneath a bucket of water and that is why we run away like hens'
'I told you it was gun! Why did you not believe me? Huh?'
'OK boss, I thought he did not carry a gun in this country. It is illegal.'
'Correct, Ravel. Well done for absorbing this finer point of Scottish law. But next time please do not assume that your brother has anything less than total contempt for local laws.'
'Oh never mind. I assume from what you said that he is going to leave us alone?'
'Yes boss. I will do something for him later. He leaves us now. And he say he leave your family alone also'
My eyes widened. I hadn't thought for a second about anyone else's safety. 'Dolores!' I exclaimed, whilst looking forlornly at my dead phone. Here I was, stuck in a pine forest with no communication to the outside world. I suddenly felt miserable. The adrenalin had been re-absorbed, leaving nothing but a feeling of emptiness and self-pity.
'Boss' said Ravel.
'What is it?' I replied quietly.
'The car not start.'
'I think driving it break something. I check engine.' With that, Ravel exited the car and lifted the bonnet. Steam rose from either side.' Things broken' he said, 'And oil leaking. Car not going anywhere boss.'
There was nothing to do except abandon the car and start walking. The place I wanted to hide was about 2 miles away, and we reached it within forty minutes. It was somewhere I knew and had access to for research purposes. What exactly goes on there I cannot say for fear of compromising my position. Nothing nefarious, I assure you. No-one at the Institute knows about this place, as it hasn't been used since any of them joined. Fortunately I still pay the electric bills, so we have power. I have been in touch with Dolores and I think she understands why I need to stay here for a while. When the police offer me some guaranteed protection then I'll go home.