Six and I backed away through the gravestones. The dark figure flew after us.
We changed direction, turned and ran, aiming for the back of the graveyard and the meadow beyond.
The dark figure veered in the air, sinking until his feet nearly touched the ground, then took off after us.
We ran hard, but the flying figure was catching us up with evey stride we made. Six pulled his gun, turned and fired two silenced shots at him.
The air shimmered in front of the flyer. The bullets zipped into the shimmering air and deflected into the night.
Six fired again.
The air concentrated into a glimmering, silvery cloud. The bullets ricocheted away. We backed away as Six kept firing. The bullets didn’t get near the flyer.
My eyes caught a shimmer to the flyer’s right. He wasn’t the one deflecting the bullets. Someone else was doing it for him.
The car was stuck. Six gave up stamping on the accelerator and scowled. My shoulder and ribs sang from where the seatbelt had dug into them.
“How the hell did that happen?” he grated.
My phone vibrated.
“What happened?”Silas texted. “Why did you stop?”
“Something took control of the car and crashed it. We’re fine.”
“Get out of the car now. Take what you need and run. Leave files and computer – I have copies of everything. Check the boot.”
I hated leaving my laptop and manuscripts, but I knew I couldn’t run with them. Six found guns, ammo and night vision goggles in the boot. With out night vision goggles on, we left the car and ran over the field we had crashed into, which rose up towards the silhouette of a church at the top of a small hill.
I reached the church gasping for breath and leaned against the wall before my legs gave way. Looking back towards the car, I could see three figures skulking around it. They were searching for us.
Six and I crept around to a graveyard at the back. It was like an army of stones standing to attention. Beyond the graveyard was a meadow leading a mass of buildings that was the farm.
We picked our way through the gravestones, staying close to the biggest ones. Then Six stopped and pointed. I froze. Across the graveyard someone was moving. I couldn’t tell if we’d been seen or not. It looked like a man in a balaclava.
He stopped and lifted his face into the air like he was listening for something. What happened next was so unreal, I don’t think I would believe it now – if Six hadn’t been there and seen it too.
The man in the graveyard spread his arms. He lifted slowly into the air and flew right at us.
Six swerved the Audi off the main road at the first turn and accelerated down a narrow country lane away from the streetlights and into pitch black. The headlights were on a low beam, sweeping over the road and hedges flying past on both sides.
We saw the turn late. Six skidded the car over the ground and jammed his foot on the accelerator, throwing us down the lane.
My phone buzzed. I opened the link Silas had sent. It was a detailed map showing our current location and every country lane around us. It gave a route to a destination 50 kilometres away.
“Isolated farmhouse,” Silas texted. “Change your car there.”
With me acting as navigator, Six took each turn like a rally driver, swerving down every turn at terrifying speeds. For once I was glad it was dark.
I shot a glance behind us every so often, looking for headlights following us, but there was no sign of anyone. I leaned back in my seat, allowing myself to relax a bit.
When we were less than a kilometre from the farmhouse, the headlights caught a dark shape moving ahead of us.
Six had seen it too. He pushed the brake.
The car sped up.
Six frowned and jammed his foot down hard on the brake pedal.
The car sped up again. Then it swerved violently.
Six gripped the steering wheel and hauled it back.
The car veered one way, then the other.
Six struggled with the wheel. I reached over and grabbed the wheel with both hands.
A force wrenched it out of our hands.
The car swerved. It shot straight off the road and ploughed through a hedge.
Bullets bombarded the windscreen and the bodywork of the Audi Six was driving.
They clanged and bounced off the car like it was bulletproof. The muzzle flashed. But Six ignored it and drove straight at the SUV. The gunman’s eyes widened in alarm, he ducked back in the SUV.
“Hang on,” Six uttered.
He accelerated. Then he heaved up the handbrake and hauled the steering wheel to the right. The car spun around. I clung on. As the SUV was about to hit us, the front of our Audi swung out of reach.
Then I was facing the opposite direction.
The car and the van had skidded to a halt behind us. It looked like they had just avoided crashing into each other. Then they turned around and set off after us.
We kept spinning until we faced the front again. The SUV screeched to a halt. It had just missed us.
Six accelerated and we sped away. My stomach lurched back into my spne. But for now, I was still alive.
We tore right at the van, seconds away from a head-on collision. Six swung the car right suddenly. I was thrown to the left. My face slammed into the window.
The van didn’t turn in time.
We shot right past it. I braced myself as we just missed the van’s front bunper. Six hammered his foot down and accelerated again, operating the gearstick like a rally driver, his eyes fixed on the road.
I opened my eyes and glanced at the road, thinking that danger was past, but another car, a Porsche SUV sped right at us. A guy heaved himself through the passenger seat window with an assault rifle in his hand and opened fire.
I stared in wide-eyed horror at the van tearing right at us. The car behind moved right up until it was almost touching the back bumper. We were heading for a collision. The bars on the front of the van would crush us inside the car.
Gripping the wheel, I froze. I didn’t know what to do.
Six grabbed the wheel. Before I knew it, he was driving and I was scrambling into the passenger seat.
He slowed right down. The car behind bumped into the back of us. Six swung left. The driver behind followed. The van altered its trajectory to charge right at us.
Then Six jammed his foot down and accelerated.
Looking in my mirror, I couldn’t see who was driving. I slowed right down, hoping they would overtake and I would realise I was just being paranoid.
But the car slowed and drove just behind me.
I put my foot down and accelerated.
The car sped up.
It was the middle of the night. There were no other cars around. If anything happned to us now, there would be no one else to see it.
“You want me to take over?” Six offered.
“No. Just takes one passing police car and that’s our adventure over.”
“And Mondial have been known to pay off cops,” Six agreed. “I heard they have hundreds on their payroll.”
The headlights of another vehicle were heading our way. As it came closer, I could see it was a van – with a metal grid on the front.
Suddenly it veered across the road and sped right at us.
My eyes flitted from the road to the young woman in my mirror. She had shoulder-length auburn hair. She wore a colourless black leather jacket and jeans. Her handgun was aimed casually at the floor.
“Who is she?” I said.
“I’ve no idea,” Six replied. “No one can do what I saw her do. The others – they were from my old employers.”
“They keep finding me.”
“They have people everywhere – and more kids like me. They have money and resources to throw at any problem in their way.” Six looked at me. “You’ve written about them. It shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s why they want you dead. Welcome to life as a spy.”
I drove slowly out of the town centre. There was no sign of the woman with the gun. But the same car had been right behind me for a few minutes now. As I stayed on the main road, which was well-lit, but really quiet, it stayed right behind me.
“That’s him,” Six uttered. “Picture the road ahead in your mind and get ready to duck down and drive at the same time.”
I put my foot down. I braced myself.
The person running towards us didn’t raise the gun, didn’t shoot at us. Instead, I shot right by, turning to catch a look at who it was.
I recognised her straightaway. It was the young woman from the bus. She was the one who had been following us.
“It was definitely her,” Six said. “Same clothes and trainers. I shot at her loads of times and I didn’t get near her. She took down that team trying to kidnap you.”
Speeding away, I glanced as often as I could into the wing mirror. She was watching us drive away, seemingly indifferent to the fact we’d left her behind.
She was dangerous and highly-skilled. Why didn’t she kill me? What did she want? Who was she?
I saw the grey Audi S3 at the back of the hotel carpark.
“Where’s the key?” I texted.
Silas’ next text included a link, which just looked like a load of numbers. When I tapped it, the car’s headlights flashed and I heard the doors unlock.
“How did you do that? Did you just hack a car?”
“Doesn’t matter. Key’s under the passenger seat.”
When I came out of my text messages, every single text I had received or sent vanished from my phone.
No time to question why. I jumped in the driver’s seat, Six found the key under the passenger seat and climbed in.
A thought hit me.
“What is it?” Six asked.
“I haven’t driven for ages,” I said.
“You want me to?”
I looked at Six.
“You can drive?
“Of course,” he shrugged. “I can lose a tail and come out best in a car chase. And we don’t have time to mess around, so decide now.”
I pulled out of our space and accelerated to the gate. As I drove up the ramp, I could make out a figure running towards us – with a gun.