No, my darlings, I haven't forgotten you. I was simply distracted for a few months by that NaNoWriMo thing."They're gonna be
mad at you." ~SpunkyChapter Twenty-Eight
Scenes From The Cargo HoldInside the truck, Yeliah is filming Sam in night-vision. Sam opens her phone, shining the light from the screen onto her face.
"I have one bar," she says. "I hope it's enough." She dials a number and listens for an answer. "Lady! We're in the back of a truck...I don't know. It's dark in here...My signal is weak. I don't have much time." She looked around. "I don't- Lady? Lady? Damn it. I lost her."
Spunky looked at the camera. "Is it still on?"
"Yeah," Yeliah said. "It's on night-vision." She laughs lightly. "You look really weird."
"I'm just saying," Amberwood says as they sit in the darkness. "That if we'd taken the left like I said, we wouldn't be trapped in the back of a truck."
"You don't know that," Yeliah says. "There's more than one way to get trapped in a truck."
"No, Yeliah," Sam says. "There's really only one way."
"Well, there's no use in arguing about it," Spunky says. "It's pretty much a moot point now."
"Is the camera still on?" Amberwood asks.
"Yeah," Yeliah says. She turns the night-vision back on and points the camera at herself. "How long has it been?"
In the background, Sam looks at her cell phone.
"In one minute," she says. "It will be an hour."
There's a collective groan.
"Yeah," Sam says. "I know."
One hour later:
The camera is still filming in night-vision. Spunky is lying on the floor. Amberwood is sitting next to her with her legs crossed, looking at the floor. Spunky is singing quietly to herself: "Fifty-eight bottles of beer on the wall, fifty-eight bottles of beer..."
Amberwood joins in, just as quietly: "Take one down, pass it around, fifty-seven bottles of beer on the wall."
Amberwood sighs heavily. She looks up at the ceiling and listens to the sound of highway traffic coming from outside.
"Where's Sam?" Yeliah asks.
"Here," Sam's voice comes from another area. Amberwood and Spunky get up from the floor and Yeliah follows them through the crowd of boxes and crates. Sam is standing over a large, open wooden crate.
"You opened it?" Amberwood asks.
"Look," Sam says. She picks up the top and points to the address on it. Yeliah zooms in to catch it. "We're going to Edinburgh. I was looking for food. We're going to be in here a while."
Another hour later:
The low-battery icon is flashing on Yeliah's camera.
"Damn it," she says. "The camera's dying."
"Guys!" Sam calls. "Come here!"
The other three girls go to find her, but the screen immediately goes blank.
"Damn it," Yeliah said. Now she couldn't see anything except the light coming from Spunky and Amberwood's phones.
Amberwood turned towards Yeliah's voice. "The camera died?" she asked.
"Yeah," Yeliah said. She took out her own phone and held it up to provide a little more light as they walked carefully through the truck. They found Sam in the front corner, surrounded by open boxes and crates of carefully packed artifacts.
"They're gonna be mad
at you," Spunky said.
"Look at this," Sam said. She shined her phone's light on a large envelope and the stacks of money she had pulled out onto the top of the crate. The other girls held up their phones to add to the light. There were four large, tightly bound stacks of hundred-Euro notes.
"Wow," Yeliah said.
"That must be the...delivery charge," Amberwood said uncertainly.
"Yeah," Spunky said.
"Right," Sam said. "The delivery charge...stuffed into an antique vase."
"Maybe you should put it back."
Sam put the money back in the envelope, the envelope back in the vase, and replaced the vase in the crate. She began closing up the boxes and crates, trying to make it look as if they had never been touched.
"I Spy, with my little eye..." Amberwood paused. "Nothing."
"Well, that's depressing," Sam said.
"How about Twenty Questions?" Yeliah said. "I'm thinking of a person."
"Is it a man?" Spunky asked.
"Yes," Yeliah said. "Nineteen."
"Is he alive?" Amberwood asked.
"Daniel Carter," the three girls said together.
Yeliah paused. "Damn it."
"You're so predictable," Spunky said, smiling in the darkness.
The girls fell back into silence, hearing only the sounds of the truck and the traffic outside. After a few minutes, Sam finally spoke, addressing the question on everybody's mind.
"They're following us," she said. "They have to be."
"Right," Yeliah said, although she sounded unconvinced.
"I have to get out of here." Spunky's desperate voice came out of the darkness. Sam saw her move quickly in the dark and begin banging on the door. "Let us out!"
Sam, Amberwood, and Yeliah ran towards her voice and grabbed for her in the dark. Yeliah took hold of Spunky's arms and pulled her away from the door.
"Calm down," Yeliah said. "Calm down."
"I have to get out of here," Spunky said.
"You have to calm down," Sam said. "You're fine. We're right here. Just breathe."
Spunky forced herself to breathe deep, in and out, in and out. The truck kept moving, giving no indication that anyone had heard them.
"How long have we been in here?" Amberwood asked.
Sam took out her phone and opened it, shining a little light into the darkness. She still had no signal, but she could see the time.
"Five and a half hours," she said. "We must be getting close."Yeliah turns on the night-vision again and turns the camera on herself.
"We're slowing down," she said. "I think we've arrived."
She turns the camera on the other girls, who listen and brace themselves against the wall as the truck comes to a noisy stop.
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