The Paul & Jenny Stories Pt. 18zabyPAUL C©
(All characters are fictitious. No resemblance to anyone alive or dead is intended).
Rubies are Red. Part 27.
I stood in the corridor and watched Heather's back as she walked back to the room the others were sleeping in. My grandfather stood looking out of the window at a fire that lit up the centre of the city.
"Well?" He asked when the others had gone. "What have you got to say for yourself?"
"I." I didn't know what to say.
He was my grandfather. I could hardly tell him it was none of his business as Heather had done.
"Do you really know what you have done?" He went on as if I hadn't started to speak.
"I didn't mean to." I lied.
"Oh it was your first time together. A spur of the moment thing."
He took my words right out of my mouth.
"No. We have done it before."
"In London and in New York and Miami."
"You are a married man." He spoke in a whisper full of emotion. "How could you do this to Jenny? I thought you loved her?"
"I do." I said hanging my head.
"There is so much of your great Uncle Alistair in you." He was looking in the far distance. "Too much in many ways. He broke his wife's heart."
He left it hanging there. How? Why?
I'd never really known Alistair. He had died when I was two but I did know Natasha. A tall thin beautiful woman, even in middle age and beyond. But she always seemed sad. Her children from her first marriage had died young and she and Alistair had never had any of their own.
Natasha had died when I was fifteen and had left me the block of apartments in London. Her and Alistair had moved into the block in the late twenties and had purchased the freehold to each apartment when it had become available.
"You are becoming too much like Alistair."
"I won't do it again." I promised as I had to my parents and grandparents so many times in the past.
"I hope you won't." He turned and looked at me. "Try to think of Jenny. What would she think if she knew?"
"I know." I mumbled.
I tried not to think of Jenny and what she would think. I was never going to do this again.
He moved slowly to the front door, stopping once as he was overcome by a burst of coughing.
He went outside and I followed stopping at the end of the building while he went and relieved himself in the toilet block.
Howie was standing by the main entrance when we returned. He was yawning and stretching.
"Okay Paul." He said, fingering the sub-machine gun. "I'll take over now."
I nodded and said goodnight then followed my grandfather in the sleeping room.
"Get some sleep," he whispered as I lay down in the spot recently vacated by Howie, "It's going to be a busy day tomorrow."
I turned onto my side and pulled the fragment of old curtain Howie had used a blanket about me.
Sleep. Fat chance of that.
I replaced the receiver on Paul's mother, Mary. The Foreign office had heard nothing more about Paul or my grandfather since the previous afternoon when the American Ambassador in South America had managed to get list of all foreigners being held by the government.
No news is good news they had insisted to Mary when she had phoned earlier. The latest news on the radio was that the government leaders were seeking meetings with the rebel leaders. Both sides had agreed to stop all hostilities and the movement of troops until that meeting had taken place.
My heart wasn't really into preparing to deliver my formal lesson the following morning.
Also, I was going off the thought of meeting Ron again that afternoon.
It hadn't been all that great with him so far anyway. When you discounted the size of his prick that is. Perhaps I should really put it down to nerves on both our parts. Although he was lasting longer each time we did it. That was one good thing. And he was certainly gentle if clumsy.
But, did I really want him again? Had I really wanted him in the first place? Or was it I had wanted the thought of having him? Still I couldn't undo what had happened.
He had had me. Well at least he wasn't going to tell anybody. Shirley was sound as well. That left Matt. Shirley was keeping him too busy at present to think about anything else I would have thought and he had nothing to gain by telling anyone. So I was safe so far.
Why had I let Ron have me? Was I just using him as a safety valve to release the tensions I was feeling over Paul and these bloody exams? I should have gone with Paul and said sod the exams. I could have always come back next year and started the course again.
No. That would have been silly. When he left there was not expected to be any problems. He had only to fly down there and make sure two obstinate old men caught the plane back with him. It should have easy. A long boring plane flight. Then five or six nights in various hotel rooms.
Should I try to ring Ron and tell him this evening was off? No, I couldn't do that. Just don't turn up then? No, I couldn't do that either. I would have to meet him and tell him that it was over. It was very nice. Thank you very much. It's over now.
Yes. That would be the best way to play it.
Surely I could keep my legs together long enough to do that?
If only he didn't look at me or stand too close.
Oh, Paul. Why aren't you here when I need you?
Somebody was shaking my shoulder.
"Go away." I muttered, brushing at their hand with my own.
I didn't want to wake up.
"Come on Paul." Louise said. "Have some baked beans."
I blinked open my eyes. It was broad daylight. I rubbed my eyes and sat up.
"We are leaving in five minutes." Louise's face came into focus. "Eat this."
She placed a tin of warm beans wrapped in a piece of torn cloth into my hand. I was hungry I realised and scooped out some of the contents with one of the pieces of splintered wood we were using as spoons and ate. I looked around the room. Heather was sitting in the furthest corner from me. She didn't look happy. Louise was moving away, my eyes had to follow her ass as she got to her feet and walked across to where my grandfather was standing in conversation with Bill.
I smiled at Heather and received a grimace in return. She must have been talking to my grandfather.
Howie must still be outside on guard. Gillian, Mandy and Kate looked as if they had been crying all night. I felt really sorry for them.
I finished eating and climbed stiffly to my feet.
Howie suddenly burst into the room.
"Quickly everybody." He said, looking continuously over his shoulder. "There are some men outside. I don't like the look of them. They are going from house to house."
We all followed Howie out into the front corridor.
There were a dozen or so men. They certainly weren't government troops whilst some did wear bits of Government Issue uniform. I saw a boy or young man break cover from the doorway of one of the houses on the far side of the street. He ran fast. Dodging this way and that. I wanted to cheer for him.
One of the men fired his rifle twice and the boy fell to the ground.
Other men were entering the house from which he had run. I could hear the screams of some women.
"Quickly." My grandfather urged. "Now's the time to go."
"Aren't you going to help them?" Kate asked.
"No." Grandfather replied firmly. "I'm sorry. There are too many of them and too few of us."
He looked at Gillian. She nodded.
"Come on." She urged her daughters gently. "Do as Mr Wagstaffe says."
"Let's leave through the window of the classroom." Grandfather said leading the way. "If we keep the school between us and them we should reach those houses."
He pointed to the line of houses opposite the one Louise and I had visited the night before.
"I think these are advance scouts for the main body." He said as we all started to climb through the window in the room we had slept in.
"Paul." Grandfather looked at me. "There is a crossroads over there."
"I know it." I said. "A main road and a dirt track."
"Where we are going is an good couple of hours on foot down that track." He placed his hand on my shoulder. "They mustn't follow us. They would overtake us in minutes and you know what would happen to the girls."
He looked at me.
"I'll stay." Howie interrupted.
"No." Grandfather replied. "It should be me. I will slow everyone up. You can move a lot faster without me."
"Not if you have Howie to help you." I knew what he wanted now and my anus tightened. "Howie. Help my grandfather. Carry him if you have to. Now go."
"When you see us reach the houses come quickly." Grandfather said as Howie lifted him bodily through the window. "Don't fire at them unless you really have to."
Yes. I did think of that. If I fired then there would be no way I would make it across the shrub land to the houses. Alive.
I smiled at my grandfather and watched him hobble off with Howie supporting him on one side.
I climbed out of the window and ran to the corner of the building furthest from the house where the men were.
I heard a girls voice cry out in pain, calling for her mother. My stomach turned. I wanted to be sick. Then I was angry. I thought this is how Howie must have felt the previous day. Helpless to prevent what had been happening at first and then, when he could do something he lost all control. He still didn't look right. I wondered if any of us would be the same if we got out of here.
I looked over my shoulder. The others were making good progress. Another couple of minutes. I held my revolver in my hand. I had twelve bullets. Not that I could hit anything at the distance the men were away.
A noise at the front of the school dragged my eyes up from my gun.
An old Bedford lorry with an open topped back was pulling up. A man was standing up in the back. There was a heavy machine-gun attached to the metal frame that would once have supported the lorries canvas roof. He swung it from side to side. Covering the street in front of them.
A man came out of the house and waved at them. The driver switched the engine off. The man walked around to the driver's side of the vehicle and they held a brief conversation. The man in the back of the lorry climbed down and the driver left the cab.
They followed the man into the house.
Now if I could get hold of that lorry. That would turn a two-hour odd walk into a twenty-minute drive. Could I do it? Not be standing there and thinking about it certainly.
I sprinted to the side of the lorry, keeping it between the house and me.
I reached the cab and placed my hand on the handle to open the door. As I opened it a boy carrying a rifle walked around the front of the vehicle. His eyes opened wide in shock, then his mouth to shout. I pulled the trigger of my Revolver and he took two steps backwards and fell onto his back. There was a look of surprise on his face.
I climbed into the cab. Thankfully the keys were in the ignition. I turned it and the engine fired into life. A man appeared in the doorway of the house. I fired at him and he disappeared from view as I put the lorry into reverse and let out the clutch.
The clutch pedal shot up hitting my shin. I cried out but kept my right foot on the accelerator. He lorry moved backwards. I crunched over something. More men were coming out of the doorway. I extended my arm out of where the windscreen would have been if all the glass in the cabin hadn't been removed and fired twice. I saw one man fall.
I was thirty yards away. Now forty. Some of the men were firing at me. I ducked down. Bullets were pinging off the front of the vehicle. I expected to hear the engine die but it continued to run smoothly. There was a hissing sound as the spare tyre on top of the engine cover was hit.
I was over one hundred yards from the group of men. They were starting to run after me.
I had reached the crossroads. I could see Louise and Heather. They turned and ran back behind the wall of a house. I stopped the lorry and put it into first gear. Fighting with the steering wheel I headed off towards the docks.
"Heather. Louise." I shouted as I reached the house they had disappeared behind.
I looked to my left. Howie was pointing his sub-machine-gun at me. For a second I was sure he was going to fire.
I saw my grandfather place his hand on Howie's arm and say something in his ear.
"Come on." I called. "Quickly."
The others appeared and I dropped down from the cab to help them into the back.
The rear of the lorry was lined with sand bags as protection for passengers. There were some heavy sheets of metal dropping down behind the rear wheels. They had tried to plate the vehicle with some sort of armour.
I lifted the tailboard as the last woman climbed up. It was very heavy. There was a ping and a spark about an inch from my head as I secured it into place.
"Get down everyone." I heard Howie shout.
There were more shots from behind me. Then there was a scream from one of the women. Then the loud Rat-Tat-Tat as somebody opened up with the heavy machine gun in the back of the lorry.
I climbed back into the cab and saw Louise sitting in the passenger seat. I threw the gear lever into first, over-revved the engine and released the clutch collecting another knock on my shin as I released it.
We were heading towards the docks. Tall buildings flanked both sides of the river mouth. Most were smouldering either from the fires started by looters or from the shelling it must have been subjected to. All the berths were empty.
I stopped. We were only a mile or so from the crossroads but we needed to take stock.
I climbed down from the cab and walked to the rear of the lorry.
"Is everyone all right?" I asked helping Louise up into the rear of the lorry with a hand on her ass cheeks.
"Heather's been shot." Kate replied.
She sat propped up against the rear of the drivers cab. She was holding one arm in a makeshift sling across her body. The arm of her shirt was soaked in blood. Gillian was kneeling by her injured side. Her daughters crouched on the other side.
She lifted her head and smiled weakly. She looked pale and in pain.
"How is she?" I asked Gillian, kneeling at Heather's feet amongst a small pile of empty cartridge cases.
"I think her arm is broken." She replied.
"How do you feel?" I looked into Heather's eyes.
"I want to go home." She sniffed.
"Soon." I promised.
Grandfather was laying on his side his head resting on Bill's lap. He didn't look well.
Howie was standing up in the middle of the lorry, the machine-gun butt still pressed against his shoulder. He was looking back over the way we had come. There was a light in his eyes I found uncomfortable.
We had to make some quick decisions.
"If they are following they will be here in ten or fifteen minutes." I told everybody.
Everybody looked back at me.
"We can drive on but I think that this road goes back into the city."
Not much help from anyone so far.
"We can go back and hope they haven't followed us or perhaps wait here until dark."
Howie was moving the barrel of the machine-gun. I looked to where it was pointing. A number of men were coming out of the remains of some of the warehouses. They didn't look to be armed so I climbed down from the lorry and started to walk towards them. I heard to sound of somebody climbing down behind me and looked to see Louise hurrying after me.
I stopped five yards from where the men had halted, their eyes mostly on Howie and his weapon.
"What do you want?" A hard looking man in his early fifties carrying a metal crowbar asked roughly.
"We are trying to get to the old airfield." I replied. "There are some rebel soldiers at the crossroads. We do not want any trouble. We only want to get away from here."
"You have guns?"
"Yes we have guns."
There was a moment's silence.
"We need guns." The man took a pace forwards.
I took my revolver from my trouser pocket.
The man stepped back.
"Don't shot him." Louise said.
"I don't want to." I replied.
I hadn't reloaded. How many bullets did I have?
I could hear the sound of shooting from the direction of the crossroads. I wished I knew what was happening. I turned my head towards the noise.
More shooting. Then more still. There was the sound of an explosion. More shooting. Then silence.
I looked at man. He had gone with his friends.
"Come with me," I said to Louise, "let's see what's going on."
I took her hand and we started back towards the crossroads keeping as close to the road edge as possible.
There was a single column of smoke rising up ahead. It was white and went straight up into the air. It was getting hot. I could feel the sweat running down my back. I looked at Louise. Her face was flushed and I could see some beads of sweat on her forehead.
"Hot, isn't it?" I asked.
"Yes." She replied, turning her head towards mine.
"About last night." She continued.
"I enjoyed it." I offered my reassurances thinking she was talking about our fucking on the kitchen table of the house we'd searched for food.
"So I heard." She replied coolly.
"Oh." Now what do I say?
"We could all hear you." She looked straight ahead. "Or rather we could all hear Heather."
I'd forgotten that she became quite vocal when we did it. I was used to it I supposed.
"Sorry. It won't happen again." Well I couldn't see myself having her again soon. Not if her arm was broken.
"I like Heather." Louise said. "I can see why you would want to have her."
"Shush." I said pulling her behind the wall of a house.
I looked around the edge. I could see some men moving about in the distance. There looked to be a vehicle on its side. The smoke was coming from that. We were still too far away to see clearly.
"Let's get closer." I said.
I was still holding her hand so I gave it what I hoped was a reassuring squeeze. I felt her return the pressure.
We moved forward another couple of hundred yards keeping in the shade from the houses as much as possible. We were still a couple of hundred yards away from the crossroads when we stopped again. There was a lot of movement ahead. Some more vehicles were arriving from the direction of the city. Land Rovers and Lorries. I could see a small group of men being lined up against the front of the house next to the one Louise and I had made love in the night before. A man was shouting at them and another man opened up on them with a machine-gun mounted on the back of a Land Rover. They crumbled to the ground.
Louise gasped beside me so I placed an arm about her shoulders.
The men, who looked like Government soldiers were climbing back into their vehicles and they drove off away from us.
Suddenly all was quiet.
"Let's get the others." I said to Louise, starting back towards the docks. "This could be our chance."
I heard the sound of the machine-gun firing ahead of us. What was happening? What should we do?
Then the lorry appeared. I couldn't see who was driving but I could see there were some people struggling in the back. A man fell from the side of the lorry quickly followed a second. One climbed to his feet, looked in our direction and turned and ran. The second man lay still.
We stepped out into the road so that the driver of the lorry could see us. It stopped, jerked forward and stalled. Bill opened the cab door and climbed from the cab into the rear of the lorry.
"I'm glad you are back." She said, bending to rub her shin, her fingers came away smeared red. "Bloody machine."
"The road ahead is clear at the moment." I told the others as I pushed Louise up into the cab with my hands on her ass cheeks and climbed up behind her. "Keep your heads down just in case."
I switched on the engine. It spluttered then fired.