Laura James’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: The Retreat (Part 4)
After a light snack and confirmation that Frank had rested enough the little party moved off in the direction Mary wanted. The sounds of water were clear so the brook couldn't be that far away, Todd was confident that they would soon be at the next checkpoint. Staying at the back of the group he watched as Joan and Frank kept up idle chat, they were talking low so he couldn't hear what they said but from the glances and soft touches he knew it wasn't just about work.
Mary had started the group at one hellava pace and Todd wasn't convinced that they could keep it up for long. Deciding he needed to convince Mary that they needed to slow down he picked up his feet and jogged forward past Joan and Frank. Todd didn't realise how far ahead Mary was and speeded up shouting for her to slow down.
He watched her turn her head and raise her arm then she was gone. Todd stumbled to a halt "MARY!"
As Todd edged forward he realised that there was a slope and Mary had missed her footing when she had turned to look at him and fallen backwards. He raised his arms to the other two calling out "Watch your footing, there's a hidden slope here." He braised himself on a tree and looked over trying to see where Mary had ended up, there was no sound so he was assuming the worst.
As Frank and Joan approached him, Todd caught sight of Mary. She was lying at an odd angle half in the brook they had been searching for and Todd wasn't sure but he thought he saw some slight movement. Joan gasped behind him. "It's ok, you guys stay up here and I'll head down see how she is." He stood and slipped off his backpack. "Don't look so worried, I'll be fine." He tried to smile but was fairly sure he failed.
Grabbing on various trees and shrubs Todd made his way slowly down the slope and before long he was at Mary's side. "Mary, you've had a fall but you'll be fine." He reached out and felt for a pulse at her neck, "Oh thank God." He turned and shouted up to the two waiting above "She's alive!"
Todd checked Mary's leg and discovered a bone had split through the skin making moving her very difficult. As he checked the rest of her body for other injuries he heard the others making their way down to where he was. "How is she?" Joan asked crouching next to Mary taking her hand.
"I think she'll be fine but her leg is broken. We need to get her out of the water while she's still unconscious."
"Don't think so Todd, we're leaving her right where she is."
"Frank, I know you're concerned but the cold isn't doing her any good, look you grab her upper body, I'll manage her legs." Todd moved into the water, grabbed her legs and looked up to check that Frank was ready. What he saw shocked him. Frank was standing over Mary with a large rock.
"I said we're leaving her where she is." Frank slammed the rock down on Mary's skull puncturing her eye. Todd was stunned into silence as he watched the rock land on his boss's face several more times. "What the hell have you done!"
"Something I should have done a long time ago. That bitch made my life a living hell."
"It's true Todd, she was horrible to him, to all of us really." Joan looked scared, "You won't tell will you?"
Todd looked at the pair of them in disbelief. They had never given any indication that there were capable of something like this. He would have to rethink his plans and be very careful how he was going to approach this. Obviously he would have to turn Frank in but not now, he would have to convince them that he was on their side.
"I don't know, it's kind of a shock seeing someone do what you just did." Todd wiped his hands over his face and stepped out of the brook. "Do you really think you can get away with this?"
"Not us, you. Joan saw you push Mary down the slope and before we could do anything" Joan took over the conversation "you picked up a rock and smashed her face in." They stood together smiling, a perfect reflection of each other.
Todd sighed and gave in. "For a spur of the moment killing, you two seem to have this all figured out." He lifted his hands, "You win. My lips are sealed. What now?"
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Based in Dunfermline, Scotland, Laura is obsessed with all things horror and spends her time writing flash fiction which she hopes, on occasion, really scares her readers. Feel free to stalk her on twitter, @lejamez