Finding no encouragement whatsoever in his wife’s face, he took his eyes back to his speedometer. Twenty. He checked the distance between them. They were ahead of him now, and the shooting, from his perception, was meant to scare them. He was surprised they never turned the nozzle his way, for that would have been quite expected. His reasoning and judgement suffered a rude cut when his wife’s sobs escalated to full cries, and instead of melting him, it emboldened him the more, giving his adrenalin the boost it needed. If only this had happened at his Ojake mansion! None would have left alive, as he remembered his .22 police special. But whatever happened here, the inevitable would NOT happen. Not while he still had breath in him. Seven hunks of men….No. No! No!
The spluttering from the once vibrant engine communicated how much time he had, and the utter helplessness of the situation. A car he won from a bet with one of those rich oil boys. Well, it would have to go. He beamed at his wife. He was surprised he was smiling.
Without warning, he braked. ‘Let’s run! Into the bush! On the double!’
In an instant, doors burst open on both sides, and man and wife leapt over the wide cement drainage, and disappeared into the bush. Screeching could be heard some distance ahead, as the robbers stormed out, and ran towards the battered Venza. Two stayed back, while the rest, firing sporadically, ventured into the mangrove thicket, and were grateful to hear the rustle that was the compass to the direction of the fleeing couple. They followed in earnest.
Glad she was in her tight-fitting trousers, and flat shoes, Tanya kept pace with her husband, meandering through jagged thorns and thistles, as they advanced deeper into the bush. She found that with the passage of time, the shots they heard at intervals scared her less and less, as she was beginning to enjoy the adventure. Intermittently her eyes would catch his, and the tiny bits of thankful messages would slither across and back, in a split second. Both of them knew what must not happen, and she willingly latched her resolve unto his, spurred on by his bravery and resilience.
The environment around them seemed to thicken and darken as they probed deeper and farther, seeking refuge, pursued relentlessly by the dare-devil marauders. Once and again the shots would come, and they would both crouch low, only to continue some seconds later when they felt it was safer. The thrill of adventure and scare the danger provided combined well, for they seldom got worn out, and took the bush well. At some point some respite of a semblance of a footpath would present itself, only to lead to a thicker and more menacing intertwine of large roots, and it so continued for ten minutes, till it happened.
The enthusiasm had eaten Tanya up, and she just ran and ran, not willing to follow Joe’s lead anymore. As a result, she made the grave mistake of ignoring a large tree stump which demarcated a large clearing, which soil was as black as coal. The second she jumped over the stump, Joe became cautious.
The first foot was on the ground already, on the other side. Immediately after followed the other foot. Joe stopped.
It was full of quicksand.
‘Help me!’ she cried as she saw the impossibility of lifting the other foot. With every movement, she sank an inch deeper.
The shots came. Nearer and nearer.