“Hmm… I can see that,” Wendy said. “But I think we’re okay here where nothing happened. You can but ask. You can’t practice here.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” Sienna said, “Let’s go and ask.”
“That’s the spirit,” Wendy said.
“Mum, Dad do you think it’s safe for me and Wendy to go for a walk?” Sienna asked once they got downstairs. “I need to clear my head.”
Her parents didn’t answer immediately but instead looked at each other.
“Well whoever shot those poor people is still at large,” her mother said hesitantly. “Though there hasn’t been any more since the gas cleared.” She looked at Sienna’s father. “What do you think?”
“It should be okay,” he said. “There was no trouble when I went to the shop so the local major incident plan seems to have coped. The police have said it’s safe to go out as long as people avoid the town centre. Just be careful though. It is worrying that they don’t know who murdered those people yet. I don’t think you’re at risk though. From what the news said all the victims were men.”
“Thanks, Dad,” Sienna said. “We’ll be careful.”
“Take your phone in case something happens, sweetpea,” he said. “And don’t be gone too long.”
“Okay, dad,” Sienna grabbed it from where it was sitting on the sideboard and put it in her bag as she and Wendy headed out the door. When they reached the end of the path Sienna turned to Wendy. “So where’s this factory.”
“Not far,” Wendy said. “Follow me.” She set off down the road towards the edge of town.
They hadn’t got far when the sound of squealing brakes made them stop. A black range rover with tinted windows screeched to a halt outside a house at the end of the road.
“That’s odd,” Wendy said. “That car has no number plate–” She broke off as four armed men in a military style clothes jumped out. All of them were carrying assault rifles. “Shit!”
Sienna didn’t say anything. Her mouth was too dry. She looked around for somewhere to hide certain the men were looking for her.
Instead they smashed down the door of the house they had stopped outside and rushed in, emerging moments later dragging a middle aged woman and a young man who looked enough like her that he was probably her son. She kept trying to escape her captors and go to him.
He seemed somewhat out of it and Sienna suspected he had a milder version of whatever had afflicted their attacker yesterday. That or he'd had longer to recover.
By this point a small crowd had gathered from neighbouring houses and one of them rushed at the man who was holding the woman but there was the crack of a gunshot and he collapsed to the ground, his knee a smashed and bloody pulp by a well-aimed shot.
“The next person to interfere gets it in the head.” The man who had shot him had an accent that Sienna thought was American. He glared at the crowd before turning his attention back to the male captive. “Are you sure about this one? He hasn't done anything yet.”
“I’m sure,” the one holding him said. "Look at him."
"Even if he wasn't she gave us this address and she's never wrong." The fourth gunman whacked the captive with the butt of his rifle. The victim roared and a blast of fire flew at his attacker who side-stepped it calmly. “See?”
“I do indeed,” the man raised his gun again and shot the male captive in the head. Then when the woman wailed he turned around and cracked her with the rifle butt. She fell to the ground and he hit her again. “And you disgust me, traitor. Trying to protect him.” He turned and addressed the crowd. “If any of you are sheltering invaders you’d best destroy them before we find you or we'll kill you too.”
He pointed his rifle at the woman and Sienna was certain he would have fired but one of the others grabbed his arm and said something Sienna couldn't quite hear. A quiet but obvious argument followed until sirens in the distance made all four flee. The car sped off just as the police arrived but by then Sienna was too busy retching up her lunch on the grass to care and she wasn’t the only one. It was only when her phone rang that she realised her house would have been in earshot. She grabbed it from her bag and answered it.
“Mum, I’m okay!” She spotted a policeman heading towards her and Wendy. “But I’m likely to be late. I think the police are going to need a statement.”
Sienna’s father came to the police station to sit with her while she gave her statement. She was still shaking as they sat in the interview room after her statement. Eventually the police officer who had taken her statement came back and put a mug of sweet tea on the table in front of Sienna.
“There you go, Miss. Drink that before you go out to face the world again,” he said. “You’ve definitely had a rough couple of days.”
“Did you catch the people who did this?” Sienna asked.
He hesitated visibly, glanced at the inactive tape recorder then shook his head. “No. There was a brief road chase then their vehicle turned a corner and just disappeared into thin air. I mean literally – they were just gone.”
Sienna’s father narrowed his eyes at the man. “That sounds a bit unlikely. Are you sure they aren’t actually with the military and you’re helping cover it up.”
“No more unlikely than people throwing fireballs and that happened apparently.” The police officer shook his head. “If they are military then no one told us and we’re certainly not covering anything up.” He hesitated, “Of course I’d say that anyway, wouldn’t I?”
“Probably,” Sienna’s father said. “But I suspect you’re being truthful because I’m pretty sure you’d come up with a better story than a disappearing Range Rover if you were. Who do you think they are?”
The police officer sighed heavily and double checked the recorder was switched off. “Well whoever they are they’re well organized and seem to have been expecting this. I really shouldn’t tell you this but I think that we have some sort of messed up paramilitary group on our hands, though I don’t know how they knew this would happen.”
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