It looked like three of them were avoiding the camera. It happened so many times that it couldn’t be a coincidence.
“Some people just don’t like having their photo taken,” I shrugged.
“And some of them have a good reason,” Six said.
“I’d have thought you’d be one of them,” I ventured.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you don’t seem the type who likes being in pictures, yet you’re grinning like a Cheshire cat in every one.”
“Yeah,” he said – like he was talking to the slow one in the room. “Wouldn’t have worked any other way would it?”
I looked at him.
“You were acting?”
“Kind of. I was being the kid on the bus. I wasn’t me anymore. I wouldn’t be very good at what I do if I couldn’t be other people. I don’t like being in photos, but that kid does.”
As we talked, we took turn in running through the people and the faces we remembered from the queue. We were sitting at the front of the bus, which really set me on edge because I couldn’t see anyone. Six didn’t like it either.
Once we had listed the eight other passengers, I tried to narrow it down. There was an older couple who looked like locals on a shopping trip and another couple in waterproofs who we overheard say they had just retired. I wanted to rule them out, but Six insisted we couldn’t trust anyone.
That left four: a tall skinny guy had a student discount, a young woman in hiking clothes who appeared to be travelling alone and a couple in their thirties who looked like they were on a walking holiday.
I could still feel someone watching me.
Which of them was it?
Daylight was our friend. It had to be. Surely no one could get away with murdering us in public in broad daylight.
We packed a rucksack each – as big and heavy as we could carry. Six found it a lot easier to pack light than I did – I guess he was used to living with the bare minimum. But as well as clothes, I had a laptop, notes and manuscripts to truck around with me.
Thank goodness it was cold. We both wore coats, scarves and hats, then we left our cottage behind and trooped up the hill to the bus stop.
Ten of us got on the bus. As soon as I sat down next to Six, I knew it. I could feel someone’s gaze in my back. There was a third person on our bus who was not who they were pretending to be.