Written by: roseyn
The café was exactly how Grant had left it; crammed with animated voices and breakfast smells delicious enough to woo him to seconds.
“You’re right about Hinewehi,” Sandra said as she carefully sidestepped a rushing waiter bearing two circular trays and a steaming pot of black coffee. Unruly lines creased her normally smooth brow, a crooked finger rubbed hard along her chin. “She wouldn’t know you were in Rawene… not unless….”
Her dark, quizzical eyes skittered across the café eventually settling upon the three men armoured in their conspicuous fluros.
As if sensing her presence, one of them turned, locking eyes with Sandra. He immediately ceased stroking his goatee, shoved back his hard hat then nudged his mates.
Three pairs of hostile faces now glared at them.
Sandra’s hand ripped to her mouth. And her body noticeably shivered.
Grant felt a strange shiver of his own.
He recalled troubling snippets of the men’s earlier conversation – something about a kid. Was this to do with Hinewehi? Or even her look-a-like?
He asked Sandra. She nodded, making him wonder as to the real extent of her knowledge.
Her hand brushed his arm. “We should leave,” she said in a voice that matched her unusually cool skin.
Grant ruffled his hair; irritation was fast replacing his former discomfort. “Look Sandra,” he grumbled. “I don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into but….”
“They’re making a move,” she whispered with widened eyes, reminding Grant of a trapped animal.
He glanced at the approaching trio; it only brought disturbing visions of oversized pit bulls. Hoping not to regret it, Grant seized Sandra’s hand and hurried to the exit.
The outside world brought changed colours.
From pretty and calming to something more urgent.
Grant shielded his face from the reddened sun and took its cue. He hurried Sandra to her car where they both hopped in.
Curtailing the jangled armoury on her key ring, Sandra plucked a key and inserted it into the ignition. The roar of the car engine sounded most comforting.
What was he doing?
He had come here to regain his life, perhaps even some self-respect. And here he was, driven by a strange woman, apparently escaping from an even stranger trio of thugs.
Was any of this for real?
Or was it just his starved imagination taking an addictive moment to feed?
He swore silently, sensed his head scrambled by maddening questions.
One drink… just one.
He pictured catching the next ferry out of there, leaving Sandra and all her fantastical baggage behind. So why didn’t he?
Images of refurbished buildings soon became a sweeping blur of greenery. “What is bloody going on?” he said, detecting a fresh swell of frustration.
Sandra checked her side mirror then pulled the car to the roadside. For a few seconds the only sound was the constant purr of the engine. “I’m so sorry,” she finally whispered.
“I believe Hinewehi’s life is in danger,” she stuttered. “And now….”
“Now… I believe, so is yours.”