03-03

          “I feel sick.” It was the third time they had stopped over the two hours, but Alan really did look very green. “You don’t know what it’s like, I’m not used to being in vehicles…” He frowned and retched. “Just let me get out!”

          Yet again they pulled over, and allowed him to throw up in the tough grass by the side of the motorway, so that he didn’t spoil the interior of Jonathan’s pride and joy. Rich helped Alan by bringing him water from the cooler—he really had no idea what else he could do.

“Are you okay?” he would say, uselessly and somewhat unhelpfully. “I’m sorry, that’s a really stupid question, isn’t it?” Alan had groaned and agreed, before getting back in the car, not without a little reluctance.

“This thing is a death trap,” he said each time. “I don’t know how you can drive around in these things all the time, it must be awful.” His body, not being adjusted to vehicles and certainly not those so luxurious on such long journeys, was reacting strongly, and it wasn’t pleasant for the rest of the organisation.

“So, Rich,” said Jonathan, attempting to change the subject. “What have you thought about our little proposition? Do you have anything to ask?” He had plenty, but none of the questions were ones to which he was likely to be given answers. Like “Why me?” for example, or “What is this thing, anyway?” If they were going to tell him, Rich was sure that his companions would have done so by now.

Instead, he merely replied, “Not really. I’m still thinking. Give me more time.” Linda smiled encouragingly, Matthew remained entirely silent and Davide gave him a quick wink. Alan tried to look out through the darkened window, holding a hand over his mouth, while Jonathan spoke briefly with the driver. It was going to be a long journey at this rate.

About three hours after they left the restaurant, it was announced that they were nearly in Durham. “Should only be an hour or so from here,” said Jonathan, sounding far too cheerful for someone who had been in a car for about six hours. “You needn’t worry about a thing. It would be less, only there’s always traffic once we arrive.”

“Rich, are you going to tell Alan exactly why you were coming to Durham in the first place?” asked Linda, distracting him. “He wasn’t here for our little meeting earlier, and of course he doesn’t have a mobile phone.” Here she rolled her eyes, laughing again. She was always laughing; Rich wasn’t quite sure if he liked it or not.

“Of course,” he said uncertainly. “That is, if Alan wants to hear?” He looked inquiringly at their passenger, who was swallowing down vomit again. Alan nodded.

“But don’t expect me to talk back,” he warned. “I think I’ll puke if I say anything...”

The End

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