Thirst was becoming a problem. The Sun was higher in the sky and Joanna had all the windows tightly closed. Her bladder might have been a problem too but that one had been solved the first time that the Adam thing had charged the car. Fortunately what was left of its brain didn't seem to remember that glass could be broken and it just crashed against the bodywork, screaming and roaring. Once it had bounced off and sat on its arse, looking surprised. Now it crouched in the shade at the edge of the clearing watching…….waiting……..
The camping trip had been Adam's suggestion.
If Joanna could manage without a power socket for her hairdryer for a week?
They loaded up Adam's 4X4 and set off for the wilderness, pitching their little two person ridge tent in a clearing surrounded by huge ancient trees. Joanna cooked burgers on the Primus stove, they bathed in a creek, drank warm white wine while they stargazed and made love in the tent. Adam said that Joanna could make as much noise as she liked because no one would hear, so she did. It was good. They hiked the trails, but Adam began to complain of a sore throat and then a headache. On the third morning the headache was bad and Adam stayed in their sleeping bag. Joanna took the keys to the 4X4 and started out for the nearest town, five or six miles away, to buy more Paracetamol. It took her an hour and when she returned….Oh Jesus, when she returned…
Joanna supposed that it must have been the bite that did it. It was nothing, just a nip. Adam had seen a small hole in a tree and stuck his finger in it singing
"I stuck my finger in a Woodpecker's hole - oow!" as he extracted it smartly.
"Something bit me!"
The finger had two little spots of blood on its tip.
"Something doesn't want you poking about in its home. Don't be such a baby."
Adam sucked the blood off and they went on their way, forgetting about it completely.
Joanna parked in the centre of the clearing and, putting the keys in the pocket of her jeans, made her way over to the tent. In the gloom she could see Adam curled up in the corner. It looked as if he was sleeping. She called his name. Adam shot up. His face was bone white, his eyes bloodshot and staring. Saliva and a white foamy stuff dribbled from his mouth. He grabbed at her, making a sort of strangled snarling noise and baring his teeth. Trying to run backwards Joanna tripped over her own feet and sprawled in the dirt. And then the thing that used to be Adam was on her - except that it wasn't. He was trying to stand upright in the tent, flailing and fighting with it as if it were a living thing. Joanna regained her footing and fled for the car. She could hear the Adam thing pounding along behind her. She fell through the driver's door and slammed it, popping the lock buttons.
JESUS JESUS JESUS
The Adam thing grabbed the roof rack and shook the car in frustration at missing her, roaring. Joanna shrieked, crawling across the seats to get as far away as she could. That was when the bladder problem resolved itself.
Joanna sat in the car shaking and crying. She could smell herself. She had put her hand in her pocket for the keys but they weren't there. The other pockets - nothing. In desperation she had searched all over the floor of the car - nothing. Looking round she saw a glint on the dirt by the ruined tent. She computed the time it would take to reach them and return to the car - fifteen to twenty seconds. About ten seconds too long. She despaired. Then she saw something else.
Joanna wondered if, if she waited long enough, the Adam thing would sleep or pass out. The problem was that she was likely to pass out first. The Sun was higher and the heat in the car was becoming intense. She remembered that, not stopping for breakfast before she went to town, she hadn't had any liquid since last night and that had been wine. In a short while she would be too weak to attempt anything. No, it had to be now. She looked over at the Adam thing, it was watching, waiting.
Sod it. Abruptly she slammed the car door open against the stop and leapt out. Two steps and she crouched, grabbing in the dirt. The Adam thing was up, advancing on her, running. Sweaty fingers slid across the slick surface, PLEASE PLEASE and then she had it. Turning for the car, two steps and she was in the car but the door was open…
Coming in at an angle the Adam thing crashed into the door and it slammed shut. Grasping her prize she popped the lock. The Adam thing howled, slamming its face against the glass and trying to bite her through it, streaks of dribble and white mucus smearing across it.
GOD OH GOD PLEASE GOD I'LL NEVER DOUBT YOU AGAIN IF THERES A SIGNAL
Joanna switched on the phone, Adam's phone, the one that must have dropped from the pocket of his sweat bottoms as he charged the car.
Three bars came up.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
She tapped in the emergency number.
Joanna sat back, relaxing slightly. Far away in the distance she could hear the faint wail of the siren coming to rescue her. They would Taser him, restrain him, she was safe. Triumphantly she stuck up her middle finger at the Adam thing, which had returned to its spot in the shade. It seemed uncomfortable and reached underneath it, producing a large stone which it must have been resting on. It hefted the stone and it was as if a light bulb had gone on in its head.
STONE - GLASS, GLASS - STONE.
It stood up and shambled towards the car.