Tessa watched from the window as the small green car crawled along the dirt track. The car drew to a stop at the end of the track. Three people alighted at the end and stood in a group, examining the shack. Tessa moved away from the window and stood with her back to the wall, her breathing fast but silent. Through the broken window, she could hear their words.
“Tessa, if you’re there, please come out now. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Tender words are not to be believed when they come from a terrible man, thought Tessa, goading herself to the right action.
The three opened the shack door and entered. Tessa, by that time, had flown to the opposite wall – the one with the low, open window. Through the window she leapt in a well-practised action, landing first on her hands and only later on her feet. Then she ran to the car and opened the unlocked door. There was the key. They hadn’t even removed it from the ignition.
Turning the key with one hand and closing the car door with the other, Tessa engaged the gear lever, released the handbrake and urged the car along the dirt track, riding the bumps. Through the rear-view mirror, she saw the three men run out of the shack, guns at the ready.
Tessa smiled as she turned the car onto the road, happy to have won a little extra time.
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