So, to recap:
- It’s been 4 weeks.
- I haven’t even fainted in 2 of them.
- Hannah and I have come to an agreement, that I can ask one question a day if I’ve been good.
- I still haven’t had that cup of fucking tea.
My mind feels like it’s been through a paper shredder with all the new and unprocessable information. More on that when I’ve wrapped my own head around it.
The escape from the wreckage of Scrumpy’s was tense, to say the least. Broad daylight- the time when shadows are at their strongest, it turns out. At this point, I could feel the green inside me was also at it’s strongest- and not just due to the severe cold I acquired from living on a diet of tinned pea soup and not much else.
One tried to grab my ankle, yet I found myself suddenly not disappearing, as I thought I should have, but glowing even greener than usual. This time the creature made a high-pitched screech when the green touched it, and the green didn’t stop glowing from my skin until we were out of the odd city and into the desert.
‘Nice fucking going back there, Doctor. I could nearly mistake you for a professional.’ Hannah chuckled to herself as we reached the next safehouse. She handed me a cold beer and found herself what appeared to be a bottle of whatever it was that Scrumpy had prepared for us, all that time ago.
‘Cheers.’ We clacked glasses and drank slowly, in silence, enjoying the taste of something entirely unlike peas.
After several of these drinks on my part, and even more on hers, I finally had the courage to ask-
‘Honneynah, why did you take me from home?’
‘Because I fucking needed to. Nosey, fucking nosey lil fucking Doctor.’
I giggled. ‘You swear even more when you’re drunk.’
‘That’s not meeeee. That’s the poliiiiiiice.’
‘Goddamn fucking animals.’ I clinked glasses with her again and kept watch while she passed out.
From that safehouse in the desert we trekked to one on a mountainside, bare of anything but one cupboard of tinned beans, which seemed to please Hannah. ‘Almost as good as Scrumpy’s, fuck yes!’
We sat on the hard wooden floor that night, each with a tin to ourselves, when I asked her-
‘Why are the police after you?’
She stopped chewing for a moment, then carried on almost as if I’d said nothing. Minutes of calculated silence later came the reply- ‘Time violation. They take their chronological order very seriously in this particular reality, you know? I just didn’t want to pay the fine, and now they think I’m some master criminal. Feds, huh?’
I nodded in feigned agreement, still trying to put the pieces together.
On the way to the next safe-house, we ran into a bit of trouble. By ‘trouble’, I mean non-shadow entities tried to rob us. The green didn’t rise up in me, as it had done before against the Shadow Police, so I did the British thing and tried to give them my shoes. Hannah was furious. ‘Fuckers. Doctor, put your shoes back on.’
I never had her pegged as a switchblade sort of girl, yet there she was- five against one, and winning rather spectacularly. I did the polite thing and didn’t make eye contact with the majority of the fight, until there were three bodies and two escapees running over a hill and into the distance. Hannah was stood in the centre of the three bodies, like some half-formed and newly-summoned demon.
‘That wasn’t so bad!’ She was panting, like she’d just run a marathon, and her skin was slicked with blood- luckily, it didn’t look like it was hers.
Even more luckily, there was a shower at the next safe-house.
The easiest way to explain my life now is the exact opposite of everything before- that was a life of silence and listening and tea. Now, life is a cacophony of danger and me talking and questioning and not so much as a drop of earl grey the entire time I’ve travelled in time.
It’s been weeks since we’ve had an attack from the shadow police, but Hannah still refuses to sleep- I’m beginning to think it’s simply not something she does, not without the help of alcohol. There’s a bottle of tequila at this house by the beach. I figure out she’s had this escape route planned for a long time, with the speed and frequency she is able to navigate the countryside and move from seemingly abandoned house to seemingly abandoned house.
We’re sat just outside the house, sharing the bottle between us and watching the sunset as I finally ask a fairly important question-
‘Hannah, who am I?’
Her fingers dig into the wooden patio as she takes another swig. ‘You don’t fuck around with your questions, huh, Doctor?’
I don’t reply. I just stare at her until she’s forced to turn to me and meet my eyes.