'TWO'
SIX MONTHS EARLIER; 12.05pm:

The pain is getting worse every time. I almost pass out but then it's over and I clambered out of the chair, my ears & eyes ringing.

ONE came towards me with his arms out wide and I looked into his eyes...and I could see into my soul.

It was dark; black in fact and my blood ran cold. I swerved past him and peeked through a crack in the barn doors. My vision was fucked and my head was splitting.

'Put your shades on and don't take them off again...'
I said through gritted teeth... 'You've no idea how weird that was...'
He mumbled an apology but I didn't reply or turn until I was sure he'd put the wraps on and sat down in the car.

I knew what the fucker was thinking: 'What's his problem?' so I turned, crossed my arms and said: 'You'll find out soon enough'
Then he turned and started to re-tune the radio. He glanced at me and I knew he was thinking: 'So you're a fucking mind-reader now? I nodded at him and said: 'Yeah'

THREE arrived and I tried to apologise about the 'bag' incident but he said: 'It's NOT me you idiot! If you want to apologise to anyone it should be FOUR!'
He shook his head and took me round the back of the car. then pointed at the oil drums against the wall. 'Those drums are full of agricultural gearbox oil. What if we hefted a couple of those in the trunk? They'd definitely slow down those pig's bullets.'

I nodded but then thought about the way they had leaked on the road. 'But what abou...' 'Just do as you're told asshole' I called to ONE to pop the trunk and we dumped a couple in and wedged them so they wouldn't roll. At that moment FOUR arrived.

He got  in the back with THREE who nodded hello then asked: ‘Well? Did you find one?’ FOUR nodded back: ‘Yeah, no problem. It worked out quite neatly actually.'

I opened the barn doors and took a look around. No one for miles. That song was still playing in the back of my head. It was so catchy and I knew I'd hear it on the way into town and was looking forward to it even though I knew it would lead to trouble.

We were quiet except for the radio. Never been much for conversation.
THREE really had a go at ONE about that song, but it was all I could do to stop myself from singing it out loud, it was so catchy. I so wanted to hear it, but really I should've turned off the radio before it came on. Could I have done that? Could I have behaved differently from what TWO did last time? Or am I locked in to my destiny? Just a robot, repeating what happened last time?

The song went round and round in my head and in a way it was good, because it took my mind off what was about to happen.