Landon stood stock still, he felt he had no choice. Where could he go? The man began walking towards him, he had to cross the bridge. The man walked very steadily, given the unstable nature of the bamboo bridge. A shaft of light glanced the strangers face and Landon met his eyes. They were warm and convincing.
Landon held the stranger’s stare as he approached; then suddenly, without a moments pre-consideration Landon lunged forward, sending the stranger plummeting off the edge of the bridge.
Landon did not look down. He scrambled to all fours and crossed the bridge, he could see something resembling a ladder on that side, also, that side was away from the Spanish corpse that he didn‘t want to look at ever again. He decided he needed to get down out of the trees.
“Oh my God!!” Landon nearly followed the stranger down with the sudden piercing sound of a woman’s voice. “Where did he go?” Landon looked up to see Anna, his wife. His wife.
“Anna. What the hell is going on?” Anna was staring down, her eyes searching.
“Where did he go? I was watching, he just… it can’t have been what I thought. I’m just really tired.” She looked distractedly distraught as she scoured the ground with her eyes.
“Who cares? He tried to kill me. He killed that man.” He pointed, she didn’t look. “I’m fine, by the way,” he paused, “whoever you are.” Anna looked at him for just a second, it was all she needed to see the spark of hope in his eyes.
The Companion now saw what the Leader saw, a man who would believe anything to believe his real life wasn’t true. She saw a man who had longed for female company and had had little success; she was a good looking woman, she knew that as sure as she knew he would be happy to believe she was his wife.
“FOR GOD’S SAKE!!” She bellowed, birds evacuated the boughs above them. “Will you quit with this crap! I’m tired, I’m hungry and I’ve got Jimmy-Choos on in the jungle. I do not know what the hell you’ve been playing at, and you’ve obviously been on drugs, but get me the hell out of this now. And I mean NOW!!!” He voice was fast and high pitched. Landon shushed her.
“Okay, I’m sorry. Let’s get out of the trees.” Landon felt like he was married, the ear-bashing had reminded him of his mum. He was bound to remember, she was right, he’d definitely been on drugs. He put his arm around her, not too awkwardly, and they began moving, quietly looking around.
Suddenly she turned to him:
“Are we going to be okay Ollie?” Her voice was gentle and unsteady, and her eyes were wide and wet. She looked so lost and innocent Landon’s heart melted; he tightened his upper body and moved his arms around her. He felt so strong in his responsibility for her.
“I promise.” he kissed her forehead and looked into her eyes, “I promise,” he repeated “now let’s keep moving”.
As they began the unsteady climb down the flimsy ladder they were watched by the Invigilator and the Writer. The Writer grit his teeth.
“She’s good your lady. Very good. Never would have thought one would need an actress.” said the Invigilator casually.
“She’s brilliant. All well and good. What am I supposed to say happened to the Leader? He fell off the bridge, where did he go?”
“I’m sure, as with everything else, all will become clear.” The corpse of the Spanish man began moving and the Guide pulled his blood pack out from under his uniform.
“Who told me these things don’t hurt you. They a liar. Let’s get right out of these trees. I have vertigo now.” The Guide rubbed his shoulder ruefully.
“But where did he go?” The Writer scratched his head and looked down, Landon and the Companion were nearly on the ground. “And where is he going with my woman?”.