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Blood of Evolution

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A bioengineer has made a brilliant medical breakthrough that will change humanity forever. Now he just needs to stay alive long enough to find the answers to his attempted murder.

Thriller / Action
Mat Clarke
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Larry pushed his body to go faster, ignoring his exhaustion and thirst. It could soon all be over. The nightmare might finally end.

Long yellow grasses swatted against his shins as he kept up the grueling pace, pushing himself further and harder than since waking in the darkness days ago. It had taken him all the cold dark morning to get to his feet and stay conscious. Then the day to think past his throbbing head, a concussion certainly, and an injury he was still unsure of the cause, and remember who he was and where he was. The latter, was still somewhat vague.

The trees and brush, touched by morning frost, thinned out and opened up to an expanse of farm land. At the edge of the tree line, overgrown grasses extended out for maybe a mile in all directions.

A long forgotten timber fence rotted at his feet amongst the introduced weeds; the native grasses slowly retreating as they were overrun. A small bud of hope grew inside him as he realized it meant that people could actually be living here.

He stumbled across the poorly kept lawn and gardens.

“I’m going to be okay, I’m going to be okay.” His voice croaked with a deep bass.

A drip system had been set up to keep the plants alive, each had a tag clinging to brittle stakes. A fuchsia bush lay sprawled across the ground. The large heads of a group of sunflowers reflected the golden sun from the tops of long green stems.

Too exhausted to walk around the garden, he continued on and through and to the front of the home, asking whatever gods there were for this place to be occupied.

He stepped up onto the crushed stone driveway and past recent churned up tire tracks. Hope filled him.

He stood on the porch next to a pair of dirt-covered boots at the door. A horse saddle rested on the porch table. A mud-covered off-road vehicle, caked and dry, was parked in the carport on the other side of the house.

Larry’s sun burned and scabby face stung as a smile stretched across his lips.

He raised his hand to rap on the disintegrating fly-wire screen door, but stopped short before making contact. What would he tell them? He was not even sure how he had come to be out here or where here was.

His stomach churned, a dizzy wave washed over him.

He went to knock again but withdrew his hand when he heard someone shuffle on the other side. Through the gap under the door a faint shadow moved. Then a shifting noise; metal tumblers rattled within the door.


The old oak door sprung open behind the fly-wire screen, taking clumps of thick brown dirt with it. Dust wafted into the air.

A barrel of a gun appeared on the other side.

Sliding metal moved and clanked into place on a bolt action rifle.

Back in the shadows a finger rubbed the trigger. Larry stared into the dark home with his mouth open and his eyes wide. No words came.


Larry pushed the barely eaten food around his plate—gone cold twenty minutes earlier. Tom chatted to the barmaid. The same meal of cheesy pasta already eaten and forgotten. His third beer drained.

Larry’s thoughts went to the supposed leak of his viral research, but still could not work out where it had come from. His team? The board? Tom didn’t want to listen; always playing the funny-guy card, always trying to get a rise from people. A good friend, his best friend since collage, but still a pain in the ass.

As was usual for a Friday, they met for a casual meal with drinks and to have a few laughs. At first he had been amused by Tom’s story. However, as he had gone on, Larry had realized it was a story that his employers at Sincorp would not find funny at all.

No one outside of his team knew about the viral technology. No one on the board even had an idea about the mechanics of what their work involved. So, a stuffy US Colonel visiting the base in Puckapunyal should not have even known the project existed. Yet, as Tom had said, there he was talking about it in the bases cafeteria for anyone to hear like he had just watched it on the nightly news.

They somehow also knew about the mapping of the viruses, the discovery of the Base Virus Codes, the healing properties. So what else did he know that he had not said out loud? And had it come from his area. He could lose his job, and that would just be the beginning. Prison time if his team was found liable.

No, it had to be one of the patients who reacted well to the altered viruses.

Now he would have to call them all back in and question them one at a time.

Many had shown conclusive results in delivered benefits, all retested up to five times. It was like the virus had become symbiotic rather than parasitic. One test subject had healed from a broken bone when it should have taken weeks. Another two had had amazing results in increased fitness and overall health.

Tom clapped his hands and laughed. Larry’s eyes refocused on the beer in front of him. It was not Tom trying to get his attention. Instead he was laughing at a joke—probably one he told himself. The barmaid snorted so hard tears ran from her eyes. It always amazed Larry how Tom could remember joke after joke. One to suit each occasion. The one he told at the wedding where... It had been his wife who had asked Tom to say something...

Mrs Emerson.

Larry let the thought of his wife wash over his mind. It caused his stomach to give birth to butterflies. In his mind she smiled. Jobe stood at her side, looking up at his mother and holding her hand. Then they were both lying in bed, so sick and deathly.

Larry stopped the thought before it could affect him, and eventually overwhelm him. He didn’t want to think about her again, not now, not here. His hand clenched so hard on his beer glass it creaked. He put it down. His eyes fell to the stained vinyl floor. It looked as if it had never been washed, ever. And looked especially so in comparison to Tom’s military-shined shoes.

Larry thought back to the days of uniforms and saluting. Tom and he had been in their twenties. Larry smiled at the thought of their successes shared. While also having the power for unlimited research with elite teams at the base. All that and many more benefits. The hard line rules and regulations of the military had not suited either of them. And yet Larry had stayed on because the research was so ground breaking. Tom, the same.

When she became sick, everything changed. Work didn’t matter anymore.

At first they had both thought it to be a regular cold virus, so he had not stayed home to care for her. She had died three days later. Jobe got sick soon after.

Larry had spent a total of twenty minutes with her on the days leading up to her death, and most of those minutes had been holding her hand on the last day as she passed away. It had taken all of his self control to not scream out for her when she finally took her last breath.

Jobe was what mattered now.

When Jobe was well again, Larry had returned to work. Everything became a chore. Getting up each morning, work, looking after himself. Larry handed in his resignation a month later.

Tom stared at Larry. A grin pulling on his lips from another joke told. Tom excused himself from the barmaid’s company and sat back down next to Larry.

“Are you talking to me yet?” Tom asked.

“Of course.” Larry took another sip from his beer and pushed the plate of half eaten pasta further away, dismissing it entirely.

“Didn’t like it?” Tom asked.

“It was fine.”

“Look,” Tom said, taking on a rare serious expression. “What I heard in the mess wasn’t as open or as loud as what I let on earlier. Seriously, it was just four guys and that US Colonel, all huddled around talking softly. I only heard your name because I was back to back with the guy while I ate lunch at my table.”

The crease on Larry’s forehead softened. “Look Tom, I don’t mind that you know. But I have to find out what they know, then how they found out. It shouldn’t have gotten out until we were ready. You should’ve told me straight away—”

“I did! It happened today. Shit, Larry, it’ll be fine. And you’ve got to be happy with what you’ve accomplished. Not just for the military, instead it’ll be great for everyone. I remember from back in our university days when those upstart lecturers could still give us homework, we were forced to do a project on a professor from the 1900s. I can’t remember his name, or what lead us to the research on virus origins, but he said that viruses aren’t in their correct form and haven’t been since us bipeds were running around on all fours. Like you said.”



Larry smiled at his friend. “I did the paper, not you. You copied me. Got us into trouble, remember? I went off Thierry Heidmann’s work in Paris. He threw around ideas regarding viral fragments left behind in humans and animals like they were fossils. That’s what lead me to the professor from the early 1900s.”

Tom cocked his head to the side. “You sure?

Larry nodded, and rolled his eyes at his friend.

Tom shrugged. “Well, whatever. This won’t stay quiet no matter what security you have in place at Sincorp.”

“What about your US Colonel leaking it early?”

“I can check him out on Monday,” Tom said, “I haven’t heard anything about your work from my CO or any of the other officers. Nothing from the pharmaceutical companies about new drugs or viruses, either. So it should be fine. I guess when I saw the look on your face I couldn’t resist. Maybe I should have taken you seriously. But, we’re cool now right?”

“I just think things’ll get messy at Sincorp come Monday. Anyway, I have to make a phone call.”


Larry stared at the barrel of the gun. It hungry to claim his life. The gloom concealed person kept well back inside the house. Larry blinked, but his vision would not adjust to the dark. What would a bullet bursting through his chest feel like?

Everything but the gun, was darkened within ferocious shadows.

His legs began to buckle.

The gun inched forward and pushed the fly-wire screen door open. Larry reached to stop himself from fainting. The shadow in the doorway flinched at his sudden movement. Larry stopped and stayed as still as his exhausted body would allow.

The gun moved further out toward him, so did the person behind it. A young man, maybe nineteen years, trained his eye down the barrel of the gun. His bare torso was devoid of fat and tanned brown. His shorts almost the same color, although stained with dirt. He opened his closed eye and took his cheek away from the sight.

The boy tried to talk, but coughed, then swallowed. His Akubra hat bobbed up and down on his head, almost coming off before he could get his head up again. He finally spoke with just a bare hint of a Scottish accent.

“Why you sneaking around? Where’s your car?”

Larry wanted to hug him and tell him he was so overwhelmed to see another living person and that he did not care he had a gun pointed at him. Yet he composed himself and spoke with a dry husky voice and began to tell his story—although in disjointed sentences. The boy listened but seemed confused. Larry took a deep breath and started over, hoping he sounded more sane than he looked.

Larry explained that two nights ago he had found himself lost in bushland dressed as he is now in shorts and sneakers, covered in cuts and bruises and not sure how he had come to be there. Then, that he had been wandering around dying of thirst looking for signs of any human life.

The boy said, “So you want a phone or something?”

Larry sighed, allowing his full relief to show. “I haven’t had water for a couple of days. It’s all I can think about.”

Larry’s hands, held in front of his chest, fluttered in the wind.

“Yeah, wait here and I’ll grab you some water and my phone.” The boy stared at Larry a few moments longer. He lowered his gun and walked backward, merging again with the shadows of his home. The door closed and the lock clicked. The handle on the door rattled; the boy checking to see if it had been securely closed. Then silence, and Larry was alone again.

Ten minutes passed before the door clicked and opened. Larry had not moved the whole time while waiting. His hands had dropped a fraction. He now raised them back up to chest height. The boy wore the rifle slung over his shoulder, which did not appear cocked anymore. The other arm cradled a cola bottle sloshing with water.

“My name’s, Gerald. I called the cops and they said you should stay here until they get here, okay? They said they know who you are.” Gerald took the rifle from his shoulder and leaned it up against the wall that led to the kitchen. “Take a seat in the lounge. Here’s the water. Don’t drink it too fast, you might go and throw it up all over my floor. Take it slow. They’ll be here by nine.”

Larry did as instructed. He sat himself down in the lounge in front of a blank TV and drank the water at a trickle, which felt unnatural considering.

Larry turned his head to take in this small nook of civilization.

Had he really woken, or was he still lying outside under the canopy of endless trees and scrub, asleep and dreaming. The trees had been his companions for the last two days. Sticks, rocks, birds. He touched his sore face. It felt as real as anything else. So did the water this boy... Gerald, had given him, and the couch; so incredibly soft.

The TV turned on and interrupted Larry’s thoughts. Gerald stood with the remote in his hand flicking through the channels. He stopped when he found an early morning news show and then left the room. Clattering noises followed. Dishes from breakfast, Larry guessed. It was music to his ears, civilization all around him; running water and technology.

His head rested against the back of the easy chair. Sleep came and all thoughts of being lost, while also afraid he would die without anyone knowing where he had got to, disappeared completely. Why or how it happened still nagged at him, but that thought soon became lost in a sea of wild dreams.

He jogged within his dreams, and talked to his brother while also standing near a bonfire. His brother asked him about his bruises. Larry said there were things that were more important, although he was unsure what they were right now.

Larry woke to the crash of the fly-wire door banging in its frame, and someone talking. Gerald faced a person in the doorway; a cop.

The front wooden door closed with a second thud.

Larry had slept the entire hour. He rubbed his face and took a gulp of water, while still remembering to take it easy. He sat straight, stretched and pushed himself up and away from the couch. He felt the aches of the last days ripple through his body. Every muscle groaned, all his joints creaked and his sunburned skin stung. Still, he was happy to be alive, and was now ready to go home and work out how he had ended up where he had.

“Larry Emerson. There you are, alive and well. We’ve been looking for you,” the officer said. “What happened to you?”

“He lost his memory,” Gerald said before Larry could answer.

“I don’t remember everything,” Larry said, “but, I know who I am, what I do for a living, and I have all my other long term memories. How’s my son? Did you speak to him?”

It felt good to say, “son”.

Memories from home floated around in his mind like rainbow wraiths and became so real it felt like he existed there—holding someone. Her.

They held each other against the kitchen bench ignoring their breakfast sizzling and spitting on the hot metal plate. Yellow rays of sunshine clambered through the large eastern facing window, scattering in tear shaped droplets of water clinging to freshly washed glasses.

They touched lips, aware of each other on so many different levels of affection.

That was the past. Now he was alone.

Lost and alone had been worse. Trees all around. No one to keep him sane.

Crack - BOOM!

A thundering noise shook him to the bones inside his body. His heart pounded and his chest hurt. His left arm tingled. He felt like a five year old home alone hiding under blankets.

“Sure, he’s fine.” The officer said, breaking through Larry’s memories from waking lost in the outback.

“Looks like you got a nasty crack against the head there.” The officer pointed to the dried blood in Larry’s hair. “We’ll get you to a hospital. Can you make it to my patrol car outside? I want to speak to, Gerald, if that’s okay.”

“Sure, I’m just a little stiff, sir.”

“Sir?” The officer said raising his eyebrows. “Shit, mate, call me, Larry, yeah, that’s right, same as you. Definitely not no, sir.” The officer laughed and patted Larry on his bare back hard enough to make a slapping sound. “Or call me Constable if you must, Constable Collins.”

Larry reached for the front door, fumbling using his less than cooperative fingers on the handle. It finally turned and he stepped through. He nudged the screen door and let it fly back.

The trees didn’t look so oppressive anymore, especially with a police vehicle in their midst.

The plastic car door handle lifted easily. However, the door stuck at first pull. The whole panel had been dented, almost caved in, but not scratched. He pulled again, a lot harder this time and almost fell over as the door groaned and squeaked open. He climbed up into the passenger seat and sat back. His eyes closed as he took in the comfort of the warm passenger seat; it would be a simple thing to drop off to sleep again.

He thought of the loud explosions that had echoed around the hills while he hiked through never ending dry scrub and tall leafy gum trees. It had scared him silly then, but it had also forced him to keep alert while fighting to stay alive.

The driver’s side door clicked open and Larry opened his eyes. Constable Larry Collins sat on the driver’s side with the same smile as before, as if it was his only expression. “Still with us, Larry?” the officer asked, while starting the engine. He turned the vehicle around and headed out along the long driveway.

Larry cleared his dry throat before answering. “Yeah, barely.” Larry’s lips creased into a dopey smile.

“Well, I’ll have you back at your brother’s place before you know it, then the hospital straight after. But first, why don’t you tell me what you remember after you got out onto the road?”

“Not much. I only remember waking the morning after my brother’s birthday party, and wanting to head out for a jog before it got too hot. I ran along a track but don’t remember getting to a road. How did you know I was on the road?”

Constable Collins shook his head. “No, I’m not sure what happened with you. I only heard bits and pieces at the station.”

“So, no one knows how I ended up out here? I still can’t remember a damn thing about it.”

“We had you pegged as a dead man.”


“Sure, when you go missing for more than a couple of days out here we don’t expect to find you still breathing. You can easily croak it without the essentials. Even if you had water, it’d be enough.”

Larry nodded, but could not believe they would give up on someone after two days.

The constable stared at Larry a moment and then looked back at the road. “You know what? I know some people who’d be interested in talking to you now that you’ve been found alive and well. As well as can be expected anyway,” he said the last part with a laugh. “You don’t mind do you?”

“No, I guess not. Does my family know I’m okay?”

“Sure, we called your brother first thing.”

“They‘ll want to see me.”

“Of course. I don’t want to keep you, it’s just that these people really want to talk to you.”

Larry thought it odd, but did not have the mental strength to think further on it. For now he would sit back and relax while being driven around in a comfortable vehicle.

His eyes closed a little then opened as he fought to stay awake. They closed again and an image came to mind: a white off-road vehicle flashing by him. It happened quickly and he only saw the side of it, but he knew he recognized it.

Larry opened his eyes and sat up straight. He turned to the constable. “Where are we going?” He tensed stiff while he waited for an answer. His head hurt again. His chest hurt as well.

Constable Collins turned to Larry with his constant grin. “Hey, you’ve certainly changed your tone there, what’s up, Larry? Worried that... ah shit, you remember don’t you.”

With that last sentence Constable Collins pulled his gun from his holster and pointed it at Larry’s head. Larry brought his hand up to protect his face, and the other he used to grab the gun.

There was a click-bang, like a cap gun, nothing like a F88 Austeyr he had used in the army.

Yet, pain still exploded up Larry’s arm and blood splattered the windshield. Larry continued to hold firm on the gun as it went off again and again. Bullets whizzed past his head and out the window.

His hand burned like it was dissolving in acid. Another shot and his hand blazed. Still, he forced himself not to let go.

Larry turned the gun toward the windscreen. Another bullet screamed from the barrel. Glass shattered and sprayed over both men in cubes.

Larry felt no pain this time. His hand having moved from the muzzle. He punched out toward the constable’s face stunning him enough so he loosened his grip on the steering wheel. The vehicle swerved violently to the side. Rocks and branches crashed against the side panels.

The vehicle bounced about and over to the opposite side of the road. They skidded near the steep edge then dipped into a ditch and up the other side into the air. Both of them cracked their heads on the roof. The car crashed back onto the road, then swerved over to the other side again.

The car scraped along the rocky wall. A dead tree stuck out at a ninety degree angle from the steep cliff. It raked along the driver’s side. A groaning crunch came from the driver’s side, and the door ripped away from its hinges. The car skidded sideways a moment, then straightened again.

Larry hit repeatedly at the officer’s face covering them both in a heavy spray of blood. After another brutal full forced punch, the constable collapsed and went limp.

Larry took hold of the steering wheel and rammed his foot against the brake. The heavy patrol vehicle dragged itself to a clumsy sideways stop, spitting up dust in all directions.

Larry kept hold of the gun while tearing off a piece of the officer’s shirt with his other hand and used it as a bandage. His hands slipped with sweat and blood as he wrapped it up, and finally made it pool against the strip of cloth.

His undamaged hand went to the handle of the door, but it shook so much he could not get a grip. He put his other hand over the first to steady it and pulled up on the latch. The door clicked. He kicked it all the way open and leapt out breaking into a staggering run as soon he hit the ground.

He stopped running a few moments later. He stared down at the gun in his hand, then back to the patrol vehicle. Where did he think he was going?

A breeze blew orange dust around him, swirling it in a circle. It then settled on his white runners and the unsealed road.

He spat, which felt good. Saliva was one thing he would never take for granted again. He swallowed some more and felt it clear his throat, then rubbed his eyes. He was safe a moment ago and was supposed to be going home. How could things could have changed so quickly?

A faint ticking came from the cooling engine of the police vehicle, stopped dead in the middle of the road in a sideways skid. A white shining symbol representing civilization away from the wilderness.

Ahead of him, the road twisted around another bend disappearing to wherever the officer had wanted to take him.

The sun burned his already red skin and sweat trickled down his forehead and back. Dirt mixed with sweat and settled at the corners of his mouth as mud.

He couldn’t stand here forever. If someone saw him like this, they would help the cop without a second thought.

He had to get out of here. First, he needed to get answers from Constable Larry Collins.

-----------------------------------ABC TV NEWS REPORT----------------------------------

Sincorp is again headlining news with startling new footage of experiments undertaken by its former administration.

Warning: the following images may be too graphic for some viewers.

Time is 13.42. Our human female subject is about to be injected with a new batch of A7-452. We don’t expect to see any major side-effects, however, previous experience has taught us that almost anything can occur. Please check all restraints and stand behind the barrier.

Injecting now.

It’s been almost three hours and the test subject has had some amazing results. As you will soon witness the entire epidermis has become very tough, but still notably flexible. Watch as I cut with a scalpel. Yes, yes, as you can see I barely made a mark on the skin. Then as I put a lot more pressure into the cut and keep digging, (grunting).

There, I’ve broken through the skin.

The orange liquid exiting the wound is very similar to a glue-type substance; it immediately repairs the area.

Now watch as I try to cut the same area after less than a minute from the first incision. Again, very difficult to break through the skin. Amazing.

Tech Dynamics’ CEO, who only recently finished signing the contract to merge Sincorp under the Tech Dynamics’ umbrella, had this to say after releasing the recorded imagery to the ABC.

As this footage has shown, Sincorp has been conducting unethical tests. This is exactly why we have closed all operations within the testing facilities so that we may correct the procedures while giving special regard to the safety of all the test subjects.

Once the tests have been made safe, we will start our own noninvasive research of the drugs on volunteers rather than the highly dangerous and lucrative tests that were being run by Sincorp for eventual military sales.


Larry turned the ignition, but nothing happened. He turned it again, still nothing. After a moment of searching he found the car still in Drive. He rolled his eyes and slid it into Neutral. It started. He drove around the next turn and stopped on a straight stretch where he could pull the car out of the way of any traffic. He then turned to the officer still unconscious in the passenger seat. Behind closed lids, his eyes jerked from side to side.

Larry didn’t know if he had the strength to fight the man again once he woke up. He searched for rope in the back of the off-road and found some in a large crate and so began wrapping it around the officer’s wrists. The officer’s eyes sprang open as Larry tightened the first knot. Larry let get of the rope and punched him across the side of the head, hitting him in temple. The struggling stopped. Larry unclenched his fingers and heard a creaking sound. It hurt, but nothing seemed to be broken. The officer still breathed, thankfully.

The knot now secure, Larry caught sight of the handcuffs attached to the officer’s waist. He groaned, but realized he could at least use them to bind the officer’s ankles together as well.

That also done he searched the back of the vehicle for an emergency kit. He found a box with bandages, antiseptic and pain killers. He unwrapped his hand and let the wet scrap of shirt fall away. A hole the size of ten cent coin cut into his palm just below his little finger. He smeared on iodine and wrapped his hand in the new bandage. He found a spare shirt and pants belonging to the officer and changed into those.

Next he dragged the officer out along the dirt road and over to the trees. The officer murmured something, but still slept. Larry sat him down against a tree then opened a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and held it under the officer’s nose.

Nothing happened. Larry waited a little longer then pressed the bottle right up against the man’s nostrils. Constable Collins’ nose flared as he sucked in the vapors, then coughed and breathed hard. His eyes opened and he looked up at Larry, still groggy. He seemed to focus after a moment and his expression turned foul.

Larry waited a few moments while his bound captive got his senses back, then asked his first question while waving the gun between them.

“Who’s waiting for me?”

Collins laughed, although it seemed to hurt his head to do so, and said, “You’re as stupid as they come. We could have gotten you out of trouble. You have no idea what’s going on. Oh, and your brother and son and whatever other family you have, they’re all gonna be dead.”

Frothy spit gathered at the corner of the officer’s bloody mouth. He continued to stare at Larry for a few seconds longer, then looked down at the dirt and seemed to reassess his situation. He said, “Your only real hope is to untie me and let me get you there so they can see you.”

“You’re not telling the truth, Constable. Who are they exactly?” Larry said, keeping his voice steady. He let the business end of the gun rest against the constable’s bent leg.

“Ha. You’re a fool. Let me go, then we’ll sort out what to do when we get there. I can be on your side, Larry.”

Constable Collins stared up at Larry and waited for a reply. When Larry did not give one, Collins’ face reddened and he pulled on his bindings. “Just get me the fuck out of these ropes, you idiot.”

Without thinking Larry pulled the trigger. The shock on the constable’s face mirrored Larry’s. Larry stuttered as he attempted to apologize, but Collins screamed over the top of him, “Okay, okay. Oh god, it kills, oh shit, shit, you have to get me to the hospital. I have to save my leg. Please. I’ll tell you whatever you want.”

Larry’s expression hardened. “Tell me, and don’t leave anything out, or I’ll leave you here like road-kill.”

Collins stammered, then said, “I didn’t do much. It was just the government and company guys, they said to get rid of you, I didn’t speak to them again until Gerald rang through to say that you were still alive. You understand the money was huge. I wouldn’t have worried about working for the rest of my life!”

“You said before, something about me being on the road?” Larry said.

“So yes, so,” Collins took some deep breaths. “I slept in my patrol vehicle not far from your brother’s place, ready to ram your car off the road when you were packed up and headed home. But, then I saw you jogging out on the road. I didn’t really feel that great about killing your boy as well anyway, so having you on your own was better.

“When you jogged far enough from your brother’s, I sped up behind you and hit you doing around fifty, it should have killed you, but you lay on the side of the road moaning. I had to get out and push you down the slope. You went out over a ledge and hit the ground then kept on going and crashed into some rocks.”

Collins looked back at his leg. Blood seeped through his fingers from the wound.

“My leg’s killing me. Can you see, is it bad?”

Larry handed him a cloth to hold over the wound. “And?”

“Then I rang my employers to tell them you were still alive. They didn’t seem too fussed. They just said to bring you to them. Seriously, that’s it, I just wanted the money. I didn’t know much about you, except that you’re, Paul’s, brother. You would have done the same.”

Larry leaned in close and asked one more question, “Where exactly was it you were taking me?”

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