I cannot make sense of the noise at first. It's so loud that it strikes me with a physical force, leaves me numb. And I'm looking down at the hole that's suddenly appeared in the bodywork of the car not six inches from my hand and I cannot for the life of me understand what has happened.
The echoes of the bang begin to fade. And only then do I realise. As I drop to the ground a second gunshot rolls like thunder through the emptiness and the already-cracked windscreen of the car explodes into a mess of glass cubes.
Oh, hell. I'm being shot at and I don't even know who by. They could be anywhere...
A shiver runs through me. I feel so exposed, so vulnerable. I imagine the force of a bullet smashing into my body, shattering it, breaking bones and drilling through flesh. I'm shaking as I crawl underneath the body of the car, as I fumble to pull the pistol from my belt.
Not now, I think. Not now, just as I've been given hope. If I die here then it all stops. Nobody to look after Lisa. Nobody to help with the baby. It'll all be over. And we were so close...
I'm tensed, waiting for the next gunshot. It doesn't come. I've managed to get hold of the pistol and I grip it in both my sweating hands. I flick the safety off. The adrenaline is coursing through me, making every movement shuddery and quick.
There's still a chance, I tell myself. You can still survive. If you handle this right you can still go home.
And even as I think this there's another, louder voice whispering its truth to me: you're going to die here David. This is it, after all those months. You're no hero. No fighter. You'll let down Lisa like you let down Sharon.
I hear footfalls. Someone is running full pelt towards my hiding place.
Another horrible thought flashes through my head: it's Sven. It was a trap after all. There is no Holme, no safe haven. Just a quick and violent and lonely death.
But it can't be Sven. I can hear them laughing and jabbering now, whoever it is. They're close. I twist awkwardly onto my front, the straps of the backpack cutting into my arms. Through a gap between the forest of wheels I catch sight of a pair of feet. No shoes. And there's something off about the way they're moving. Not running like a regular person, but hopping and leaping and loping. And the sound of their voice...there's not even any words, just a constant yammering whine of noise. Like an animal.
Oh, god, it's a crazy. A crazy with a gun. If anything that's worse. At least a sane human being you could bargain with...
The thing comes loping closer. There's this tension in my chest, like a wound spring. Any second now it's going to unwind. I can feel it. It's unbearable. I want to scream. Any moment now. Any moment.
And then the feet are right there, not a metre away from me, and they stop.
It knows you're here, David. Move!
I think of Lisa.