10th February 1991
Jack finally stopped running after what seemed an age. His heart was beating and, even though it was a bitterly cold night, sweat was pouring off him. There was a small stone wall to his left so he sat for a moment to catch his breath and to try and will his mind to decide what to do next. Just a few hours ago the three of them had been, as they always were, together. In his mind he kept repeating to himself that she would be alright, that it had been an accident and he hadn’t meant to hurt her.
21st June 2002
Simon arrived at the usual place to meet Jack at the agreed time. It was where they always came when one of them needed to talk. As the years had gone by they saw less of each other but sooner or later one of them would get to a point where they just had to reach out to the only other person in the world who knew the secret they both carried with them. This time it had been Jack, he’d come into the garage, where Simon worked as a mechanic, the previous day in a distressed state demanding to speak to him right away. Fortunately Simon had been the only other person there at the time so he’d managed to calm Jack down on the understanding that they would meet the following day.
Tall and broad shouldered, Simon had the upper body strength of somebody who worked long hours in a physical job but the extra pounds around his middle also told their own story of someone who spent many hours trying to drink away the pain of his past. Jack was already there when Simon arrived, sitting silently on the bench that acted as a memorial to the night that bonded them together. This was the place where it happened, where everything changed and where their old lives ended and their new ones began.
Nodding a hello but remaining silent, Simon waited for Jack to speak. He knew enough to appreciate that this was always the best approach when they were together. Jack had always been the one that found their secret the most difficult to live with and Simon had learned that it was best to let him control the conversation if he wanted to keep Jack as calm as possible. After a few moments Jack began to talk;
“We need to tell the truth, I can’t live like this anymore”
Simon was used to this opening as it was fairly consistent with how these conversations always went so he was ready for it;
“What is the truth Jack? What is it that you want to tell people?”
“That we killed our best friend that night, we attacked her and left her alone to die right here in the dark”
“That’s your truth Jack, it’s not mine. She was alive when we left her, if she died later then it wasn’t here and you know it”
“Where is she then? What happened to her?”