Chapter Forty-OneMature

'Are you sure you know where you're going?'  Savannah asked as we ran down street after street, desperately searching for the place where the swap would take place.

'Of course I do,' I snapped, taking another turning right.  'I know this town like the back of my hand.'  This wasn't strictly true, but I did recognise the address on the business card I had been given.  I knew exactly where it was, getting there was the only problem.

'I still don't think-'

'What did I tell you to do with your opinions Savannah?'

'I was only saying that-'

'Well I don't want to hear it.'

'Stop bickering the pair of you,' Abril hissed, her eyes darting up and down the streets nervously.  'I'm not too happy with this either Savannah, but we're here now so we might as well get on with it.  I don't want to have to hang around here too long, I'm not sure I can explain why we've got a man with a bag over his head and his hands tied behind his back and I can't make him disappear, so we can't get caught.'

'Thank you Abril,' I said.

'I'm aiming that at you too.  Where the hell are we?  If we don't get there soon the time will have run out and we'll lose your mother and Clay too.'

'I'm sure we're nearly there,' I said, trying to remember the way through the maze of dark streets that covered this part of town.  It wasn't the best place to be at night, there were no street lamps or any houses for that matter.  We were entering an industrial estate on the outskirts of the town where warehouses loomed on either side of the road.

'I wish you could sound a little more certain,' Abril said.

'I can,' I replied, the knot in my stomach loosening slightly.  'There it is.'  I pointed to a dilapidated warehouse standing alone, away from the rest of buildings.

'This is so cliché I could kill myself,' Savannah muttered.  'You would have thought with a name like 'The Twelve Zodiacs' they would have spent more time thinking of some more original ideas.'

'Just shut up Savannah,' Abril snapped, her head flicking violently in the blonde's direction.  'I don't want to hear another word from you.'

'And who are you to tell me what to do?'

'Not another word.'

As soon as Abril's back was turned I caught sight of Savannah sticking her tongue out childishly.  I pretended I hadn't seen her, I didn't want to cause another argument, we were running short of time and I needed to get into that warehouse.

I half walked, half ran towards the building, Savannah right behind me and Abril struggling to drag Clay along with her.

There were no doors to the building, just huge arches where the doors should have been.  The interior was completely empty, nothing filled the space but dust, rubble and broken glass.  There were no lights and the moon cast strange shadows through the broken windows and onto the concrete floor.

'Not a word,' I whispered as I heard Savannah open her mouth to speak.  'They can make the setting as cliché as they like as long as I get my mother back.'

Our footsteps echoed as we walked further into the room.  Abril had caught up with us and was breathing heavily from running.  The knots in my stomach were beginning to tighten again as moments passed and there was still no sign of anyone other than us.

'Are you sure they're coming and it wasn't just a scam to wind you up?'  Savannah asked, sitting down on a larger piece of rubble.

'They'll be here,' I insisted, tapping my foot nervously and running my hands through my hair.  'They want Clay back, why else would they go to all this trouble?'

'Well I'm looking forward to saying I told you so,' Savannah sighed, making herself comfortable on the concrete rock she was sitting on.

I began pacing, my nerves getting to me.  Why hadn't they arrived?  I started to think Savannah had been right, it was all a scam.  But then I heard footsteps coming towards the warehouse and I spun around, alert.

Both Abril and Savannah had heard the footsteps too, but I was the only one who edged their way towards the doorway, my hand closing around the hilt of the dagger that was hidden in my jeans.

A rather short, tubby man appeared around the corner and looked straight at me, a half smile on his face.


The End

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