As the heavy door thudded shut behind them, Nadia gave Harry a dark heavy-eyed stare. 'And what was all that about,' she spat. 'Couldn't you bear to leave to leave her side. I was ONLY waiting outside in the RAIN for you.' She waited for a moment, then continued. 'Well?'
Harry was dumbfounded. 'I dunno,' he replied. 'She's someone I sort of knew slightly, as you know. I was just glad that she wasn't dead. I'm sorry, doll.'
Nadia frowned. 'Okay. Although I don't know how you could cope with being so close to her, with her smelling like that.'
'Like what,' Harry asked, clearly surprised.
'Like she'd just bathed in cheap perfume. You didn't smell that? And you a gardener as well!'
Harry shook his head, looking dazed. 'No, I really didn't notice.'
Nadia scowled at him. 'Here, take the umbrella,' she said, handing it to him. 'I've got something else to carry.
Nadia looked suddenly pleased with herself. 'Only this,' she said, presenting an long black, silver topped object from behind her back with a flourish. 'Ta Dah!'
Harry looked aghast at her. 'That's Samedi's cane!'
'Yup! The cane that Samedi is hardly ever seen without. And it was in the house all the time. In the umbrella stand, of all places!' Nadia looked very pleased with herself, but Harry didn't seem to be sharing her elation.
Nadia went on, triumphantly. 'I think we can definitely say that the story that Grace was selling us was a complete crock. Samedi is definitely not in Switzerland, he's gonna be around here somewhere. He always has this cane close at hand...'
'And he's definitely going to miss it and then come looking for it,' Harry continued, totally deadpan.
'Oh my God! He will, won't he?' Nadia suddenly realised the enormity of what she'd done, almost dropping the cane in shock. 'Do you think if we just left it here or if we take it back to the house and say we picked it up by mistake?'
Harry shook his head. 'Do you honestly think that we'd get away with it that easily...'
It was at that moment that the lights lining the driveway suddenly went out.
'Nadia, come closer to me. It's a shame it's so dark and overcast. We'll just have to move slowly and keep to the driveway, at least until our eyes acclimatise to the darkness.'
Nadia took his hand and snuggled close to his side. 'Okay, Harry.'
Harry closed the umbrella, furling it tightly and reversing it so that he could use it as a club.
'It's a shame that the drive meanders so much. It means we've either got to go further or walk cross-country over the hillocks it weaves it's way through.'
Nadia looked up to the pale shape of his face as they walked quickly down the track. 'What do you think they're going to do?'
Harry looked down toward her. 'I'm guessing they'll come for us in the car. If so, we should be able to see and hear them coming, even though we'll have little chance of out-running them. If that happens, we'll have to leave the road and take our chances going cross-country.'
'Wait,' Nadia said, cupping her ear. 'Did you hear that?'
'Yes. It's a car. Quick, follow me!' Harry pulled her away from the road and onto the rolling grassy field. 'We'll probably not be able to get to the main gate before them, but I'm guessing that they'll not be able to negotiate the dirt track we followed when we carried on from there. And, more to the point, they'll not be able to catch us once we get there because we can carry on the other way and avoid them altogether.
'Good. We're in with a good chance to get away, then?'
Harry nodded. 'Come on. Hurry!'
The noise of an engine being raced came roaring through the still air toward them. Two narrow cones of light appeared, slicing through the darkness and the rain.
They both ran together, Harry constantly needing to keep his speed down so as not to outpace Nadia. He remained slightly ahead all the time, guiding them both through the cloud-darkened night-time landscape, taking advantage of his years of experience working on the estate.
'You okay, Nadia', he asked, concerned because she was obviously less able to cope with the running cross-country than him.
'Yes. Yes,' she wheezed, breathing heavily. How much longer do you think until we get to the pick-up?'
'I'm not sure,' Harry replied. 'All being well, about five minutes at our current pace. How long do you think you can manage?'
'About five minutes, or as long as it takes, whichever is the shorter,' Nadia gasped. 'Look, I think the car's stopped!'
Harry looked back. 'Yes, you're right! But don't stop running. Keep it up! Keep it up!'
As they both ran through the darkness and the rain, Nadia was beginning to struggle. The ground was getting progressively rougher and the grass was getting longer, grasping at their feet as though trying to hold them back. The fact that she only had Harry's back to chase made it increasingly harder for her to pull herself ever forward, as did the unseen and unknown nature of the menace behind them.
There was a sudden loud cracking noise, followed by another, and then another.
'Harry,' Nadia shouted, suddenly finding some extra speed in her legs. 'Harry, I think they're shooting at us!'
'Don't worry, doll! We're running and they're too far away! They're never gonna be able to hit us. They're only trying to scare us.'
'They're doing a damn good job of scaring me! How much further, Harry? Please let it be nearly over!'
The ground started to rise before them and a tree began to appear in the gloom.
'That's the tree near where we climbed over the wall. We're nearly there, Nadia!'
'Oh my God, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you,' Nadia mumbled, reaching the wall and making short work of scrambling over it. 'Come on Harry, get those keys! Please hurry!'
There were three sudden thuds inter-spaced by the reports of their associated shots and a shower of wood splinters as the three bullets hit the tree.
'Damn, they're getting closer,' Harry said, vaulting over the wall to rejoin Nadia.
'Hurry up, Harry! Come on,' Nadia urged. 'We need to move quickly because we'll be an even easier target in the pickup!'
Harry quickly let her in and then ran round to get in himself.
'No worry, doll! We're gone from here,' he said, cranking the engine into life and sending the small truck quickly on it's way.