He hadn't seen anyone since he passed that police car on the other side of the forest. Finally he thought it was safe to pull over, swerving onto the verge and killing the engine. The countryside seemed so quiet compared to the blasting noise of the stereo but he'd needed it loud to help drown out the hammering from the boot.
Glancing back down the road, he spotted lights in the distance. Typical, the cop was already catching up. Still, why would it stop? The police car should just drive on by. He stepped off the tarmac into the overgrowth beside it, manoeuvring between two overgrown bushes until he was out of view of the road. Then he undid his flies and began to urinate, sighing loudly.
He’d been hoping to make it all the way without stopping but the huge coffee he'd been sipping to stay awake had taken its toll. As he zipped up and walked back to the car, he swore out loud. The car approaching was a police car and it was stopping.
He tried to look calm, not wanting to raise any suspicion but he stumbled at just the wrong moment as the officer switched off his engine and stepped out onto the tarmac.
“Been drinking sir?” the officer said as the man clambered back to his feet, wiping his dusty hands on his trousers and trying to herd the officer away from his car, hoping to get this over with quickly.
“No, just slipped is all.” He forced a smile onto his face, wondering if this was the moment when he’d be caught out at last, after all these trouble free miles on the way to getting rid of her.
The officer was wearing sunglasses despite the overcast sky, making it impossible to see his eyes, to guess what he was thinking. “Is this your vehicle sir?”
“Yes officer. Was I doing anything wrong?” His heart began to pound as he wondered how long he had to get moving again. She might cry out at any moment.
“It’s an offence to stop your vehicle on the hard shoulder without a valid reason.”
“Does needing a pee count as a reason?”
The officer didn’t smile. “I’m afraid not. Do you have your driving licence on you sir?”
The man felt his pockets, even though he knew they were empty. “I’m afraid not officer. Must have left it at home.”
The radio on the officer’s shoulder barked into life, making them both jump. The officer reached for the volume control before taking a step towards the car. The man stood in front of him, blocking his way. “Can’t you let me off with a warning?”
“Maybe if you had your licence on you but…”
He stopped dead as a hammering noise burst from the boot of the car, sounding exactly like someone pounding their fists on the metalwork trying to free themselves. A muffled scream filled the night air as the cop took a step backwards, reaching for his Taser. “Step away from the car please sir.”
“I can explain. It’s not what you think.” The man looked scared, panic making his voice quaver.
“I’m going to need you to open the boot of your car sir.”
“I can’t do that.”
“That’s not a request. You open the boot of that car right now or things will get a lot worse for you."
The man gulped and tried again. “Listen officer, you should just climb back into your car and go. Pretend this never happened. Please, I'm trying to help you.”
“What’s in the boot?”
"You don't want to know."
There was the hammering again, the whole car shaking with the force of it. The screaming grew louder, rising and falling as the man took a step backwards, trying to calculate if he had time to reach the driver’s seat and go. He could feel the bulge of the key in his pocket. Could he do it in time?
“Don’t move another muscle sir.” The officer was pointing a Taser at him, mouth set in a tight line as he strode to the boot of the car and tried to open it. “Where’s the damn key.”
“Please officer. Just walk away. We’ll be out of your hair like it never happened.”
“I said stay where you are. Do not move or I will taze you.” The officer turned to the boot and squatted down, mouth to the edge. “Are you okay in there?”
The response was another muffled scream and a new intensity to the hammering. The officer stood up and walked up to the man, standing inches away from him, Tazer gripped tightly in his hand. “Give me the keys now!”
“But officer, she's not eaten for a long time. If you'll just let me explain.”
“I’m through with you.” The officer took a quick double step backwards and pressed the button on his Tazer. The man fell to the floor, his limbs jack knifing as the pulses of electricity poured through his body. His eyes were just beginning to focus when he felt the keys being taken from his pocket.
“Please,” he tried to say but only the first attempt at a “P” made it from his gritted teeth as the officer ignored him and ran to the boot, turning the key and pulling it open, shining his torch into the dark interior
“It’s okay now miss…” he began, looking at the woman laid in there. She lunged out of the boot, grabbing his hands and pulling him in. There was a sickening squelch as his arm was wrenched from his body followed by a wet crunching sound as she began to eat.
The man staggered to his feet and managed to slam the boot shut, doing his best not to look inside, to not see the still warm gushing blood that splashed his hand as the last squirts of arterial fluid spurted out of the police officer, soaking his trousers. He leaned against the boot, feeling faint and breathing heavily, waiting for his body to feel normal again.
Inside the boot, there came a weak scream, so faint as to be almost inaudible and then the hammering began again. She wanted out. She was still hungry.
The man shuddered as he wiped the blood from himself and the car before climbing back into the driver seat. Now he’d have to get rid of them both. He leaned forward to start the ignition and that was when he realised. The officer still had his car key and what was left of him was in the boot.
With a sigh the man climbed back out and tried to decide what to do. It would be dark soon and he still had a long way to go. Finally he plucked up the courage and pulled at the boot, opening it and wincing at the sight before him. There she was, squinting in the light as she moved her blood splattered arms ready to clamber out.
He spotted the key just past her, in a pool of brain and hair. Most of his body was already gone. Luckily she slipped on a length of intestine as she lunged forwards and he was able to reach past her to grab the keys, staggering backwards as she clawed at his arm. He slammed the boot down onto her head, once, twice and then a third time before she fell back and he was able to lock it again. He leaned against the car, fighting for breath, trying to ignore the pain in his arm as he gripped the keys tightly, never wanting to let them go.
Eventually he climbed back into the driver seat and set off, blood dripping from his arm as he drove, the speakers blasting out noise, making it almost possible to ignore the hammering coming from behind him.
It was nearly dawn by the time he made it to the clifftop, driving round the barrier to the carpark, over the grass and right to the edge. The hammering had grown more frantic, it was as if she knew what he had planned for her. He looked through the windscreen over the edge. The rocks were so far down they were invisible against the grey of the dusk. He could see the white splashes of foam as the waves crashed into the shoreline. He revved the engine, trying to drown out her screams then let go of the handbrake so the car shot forwards.
As it reached the edge of the cliff he felt a lurch in his stomach and then there came a noise from behind him, a different kind of noise. He looked in the rear view mirror as the rear wheel of the car flew off the cliff edge. His eyes widened in terror as he realised what had happened.
The boot was open and clinging onto the cliff edge was her silhouette, clambering easily back to the top of the cliff as time seemed to slow down. He was still looking behind him as the car flew ever downwards until seconds later it smashed into the jagged rocks on the beach below.
As the sun vanished and night fell, she took a last look down at the smouldering twisted metal far below before silently making her way across the grass and into the trees at the far side, vanishing into the night. The only sound left as the sun came up was the neverending ebb and flow of the waves swallowing up the wreckage of the car.