As the sirens came closer Jason blasted through the door, down the steps, Megan closely behind, and Sean behind her, they entered the sports centre. Behind the desk a spectacled teen around the same age looked up at them.
“Jesus Jason.” He whistled softly, “What the hell happened to your arm.” His eye sight firmly on Jason’s wound.
“Stanley. Focus. We need a first aid kit, then a back door exit outta here.” Sean barked. Stanley’s eyes snapped to him, over the now dishevelled Megan. Brown hair framing her face, and her red rimmed eyes.
“Yeah mate. Sorry. Follow me!” they hurried through seemingly endless passages, passing door after door, seeing snapshots of Basketballers, Squash players, and hundreds of other sports being played to varying degrees. On the way they gave a shortened version of what had happened to date.
“So if the police come in here bro, just be as unhelpful as possible.” Sean finished as Stanley slowly wrapped a bandage around Jason’s upper arm. Stanley was so absorbed in the story he ignored Jason’s winces and grimaces.
“There you go mate.” He murmured, still lost in the story. Jason moved the arm, gingerly, nodding thanks to Stanley. Stanley turned from Jason to face Sean with serious eyes behind his thick spectacles. Nodding.
“Right. Take the door behind me, then the first left, it’ll bring you to a set of metal stairs, from there your behind the car park, I dunno where you wanna head from there, but the Gogg McGoggs are around a mile, two miles to the left, but if you keep going you can hide in the inner city... but if the police are against you that’s not the brightest of ideas...” He offered. Sean turned to Jason.
“You’re the lead on this couz. You tell me.” Sean muttered. Jason swallowed, and at that moment he realised, he had the lives of himself, Megan, and Sean in his hands. It was a heavy burden.
“McGoggs. Gotta be. We’ll hide in those little forested areas, we can stay there for days if need be.” He stated, trying to force more confidence than he was feeling. Sean started to move towards the door, Megan behind him, and Jason following the both of them.
“Hey, Jase,” Stanley shouted, Jason turned. “You might need this.” He threw the remaining bandage at him, and his own mobile phone.
“Thanks man...” Jason replied.
“S’nothing dude. Good luck. You’re gonna need it.”
Jason, Sean and Megan set of at a quick pace, following Stanley’s instructions, and in the space of less than two minutes they were out of the building and following the road taking them further out of the city and into the country side surrounding Cambridge.
Less than a minute after Stanley returned to his desk the door flung open and a group of men stormed in, mostly in police clothes, but two men led the main group, both wearing suits, one with the makings of a black eye, and the other with a bloody face.
“So if the police come in here bro, be as unhelpful as possible” Sean’s words echoed in his ears. He swallowed and put on the brightest smile he could muster.
“Good afternoon gentlemen, how can I help you?” He said serenely, looking up at them with innocent eyes.
“Where the hell are they?!” the Muscular Man with the Bloody Face said, placing his gun on the table.
“W-who?” Stanley stuttered, terrified. The Muscular one turned to the Skinny one and cocked his head towards Stanley. The Skinny Man nodded.
“Listen punk.” The Muscular Man cocked his gun, leaning closer to him “We saw them bloody come in here. So either tell us where the hell they went and save us all a lot of pain and effort, or continue to play stupid and get a bullet between your eyes.” He raised the gun to Stanley’s head.
“Sir, I have no idea who you’re talking about.”
The muscular man turned his head angrily, letting his arm fall to his side.
“Fuck it.” He raised his gun and shot, twice in the chest, once in the head. Stanley’s parents would be alone tonight. Days later a preacher would be stood at the head of Stanley’s grave, giving a beautiful eulogy, say, how brave he was, how he sacrificed himself for his friends, and for justice to take its course. But none of this mattered anymore. Now he was just a statistic in a cold world, and no matter how brave he may have been, his last thought was still of himself running to his parents, wanting them to tell him everything would be fine, but as he passed through the void into death he received no comfort, only pain.
A mile and a half away, unaware of their friend’s death Jason, Sean and Megan were trudging silently up a hill towards a small clump of wooded area on the top of one of the Gogg McGogg hills.
“I can’t do this.” Megan whispered. At first Jason didn’t hear here, and just kept trudging on, trying to get to the wooded area as fast as possible.
“Jason! I can’t do this!” She screamed, her voice echoing through the hills “I can’t! Every second you’re with me the both of you are in danger! Just go!” she started sobbing again. He turned and looked at her with incredulous eyes.
“Megs, you really think I hadn’t already thought that? But the fact is, hell, the fact is that your family, to both of us, and if I wasn’t prepared to go through the long haul with you I wouldn’t have come with Sean to save you. Fact is, we’re here now, and your our responsibility, we both love you, and we can’t just let you go. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t.” Progressively through this speech he got closer and closer to her, slowly, as if approaching a wild animal.
“Why?” she whispered, with wide, cheerless eyes.
“Cause, I have a duty to you, your dad and your mum. I’m one of your best mates, arguably your brother. I love you Megan, and I’m never letting you go, remember, I promised you that after we knocked out those goons. You’re stuck with me.” Megan was speechless. And for a moment all the both of them could hear was the wind blowing through the hills and her hair blowing everywhere. She took a quick step forward and engulfed him in a hug.
“Thank you.” She said, her voice muffled by Jason’s shoulder.
“No worries. Come, let’s get to the wooded area and we’ll call Aimele.” From no-where he was shoved to his knees he turned to see Sean laughing manically and pelting up the hill,
“Oh Hell no!” Jason hollered, and took off after him; Megan was left stood on her own laughing.
Five minutes later, after the cat and mouse game around the wood was over, the three of them collapsed on the grass in the weak sunlight. Jason offered Megan the phone,
“You ring her, you’re voice will be the most comforting.” Before Megan could protest, Sean grunted an agreement on the other side of her.
“We went running after you Megs, and if she knows you’re ok half her worry will be gone, like, immediately.” Sean murmured, basking in the sunlight. Megan finally nodded and dialled.