“It'’s a bad idea,” the uncomfortable plastic chair creaked and grumbled under Jim'’s weight as he sat back and folded his arms across his chest.
Kate paced up and down the back of the room.
“I hate to admit it,” she stopped at the window and took a moment to look outside. “But I think Jim'’s right.”
Jim'’s horseshoe moustache twitched and he allowed himself a self-satisfied smile, “of course I'’m right.”
“Why?” I slumped back into my chair like a crumpled item of clothing. “Why can'’t we just leave? You wanted to leave London, Jim; you said so when we got the van.”
“That was before you found out that the military are watching the roads and killing any poor fucker that tries to pass,” Jim tapped the side of his head with his thick index finger. “Use your fucking head, William.”
“The city is huge, there must be hundreds of ways out, they can’t watch every possible exit.” I knew that I was wrong. Deep down, I just knew.
“Satellites, armed drones, CCTV, helicopters, planes and plain old fucking checkpoints. This isn’t the police with a few squad cars and a fucking bicycle. No offense,” he glanced at Mason and then at Kate before continuing. “ It’s the military. They'’ll have it covered and then some.”
“Shit!” Mason jumped to his feet; the sudden movement knocked his chair onto the floor. “Shit. Shit. Shit,” he whirled around and kicked the upturned chair, sending it clattering against the wall. “I don'’t want to be stuck in crazy cannibal town when the power gets cut.”
Jim shook his head and chuckled.
“What'’s so funny, Jim?” Mason moved quickly across the floor and stood over Jim with clenched fists. His jaw muscles bulged and his face was rage-red. He was itching for a fight, any excuse to release the tension building up inside.
“Give it a rest, Bruv,” Dexy said from the bed. “Fighting isn’t going to help, Even if it would be funny watching Jim mash you up,” he smiled at Dodge who was sitting at the foot of the bed with Barney curled up sleeping beside him. Dodge returned the smile and they both laughed.
Mason shot Dexy an angry glance and looked back down at Jim. After a few moments of consideration he stepped back and walked across to stand beside Kate. Sunlight flooded across the two Police officers, silhouetting them against the window.
“I'’ll be perfectly fucking honest, Detective Inspector,” Jim added extra sour onto Mason'’s job title and sat forward. “I' thought we'’d be on the same page. Leaving now is as good as jumping off a building, grease stains on the road is all that'’ll be left when they spot us trying to sneak out. The power’s getting switched off, but we'’re in a hospital.”
Gemma sat up with a '‘eureka'’ expression lighting up her face, “emergency power.”
Jim nodded his head and pointed at Gemma, “exactly, Gemma. Hospitals have back up power. We couldn'’t have picked a better place to be when they turn everything off. All we need to do is secure it and sit tight.”
“Sit tight for how long?” Kate asked. “Days, months, years?”
Jim shrugged and clapped his hands together, “as long as it takes for us to make a better plan. One that doesn'’t end in us being lined up and fucking shot.”
“Hospitals are big,” I said.
“Ten points to Sherlock fucking Holmes,” Jim looked up to the ceiling and shook his head.
“He'’s right,” Mason turned to look out of the window. “Securing a hospital is going to be impossible. There’s entrances and exits everywhere, the front of the building is glass, they could smash through and over-run us in minutes.”
Jim sat back and that self-satisfied grin I’d come to hate snaked across his lips, “I'’m trained to deal with the almost impossible.” He laced his fingers behind his head and stretched out his legs, “there'’s a lot of people out there just waiting for guidance. They know they'’re fucked, they just don'’t know what to do about it, so they stick together and hope for the best.”
“So what, you'’re here to save them?” Mason looked over his shoulder, eyes narrowed.
“No,” Jim stood up and patted his overcoat, a plume of dust burst from the thick material like a fungus exploding with spores. “I'’ll help them save themselves.”
“Themselves and us,” Gemma added with a smile and an unfamiliar glint in her eye. Unfamiliar to me, at least.
“As you say, Gemma. And us,” Jim eyed us all and shook his head despairingly. “Fuck me, we look like refugees. If we want these people to take us seriously, we need to get showered and changed.”
I had to agree with him, we looked like we'’d been through hell and gone back for another helping.
“I'’ll go find the Doctor and see if there'’s any clean clothes that we can have,” I said.