(Continued from Trust Parts1-6. Missed it? Read it here; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/tag/trust-novella/)
Sitting under the darken pier and enjoying the feeling of sand between her toes, Fern looked out over the night time sea. The waves were far in the distance, but coming back in strongly. She could hear each individual wave rushing forward on the harsh sand then drawing back again. The sound was calming and she had escaped inside it.
A gentle breeze tossed her dark blonde hair and sweeping fringe backwards. She took a deep breath of salty air and felt her lips go dry. Sand grains scratched against her legs and clung to her jeans. Nothing, she decided, could be better right now.
Subconsciously, she knew Brook was close. In fact, she could smell his cigarette smoke from here. Looking over her shoulder, back towards the start of the pier and a flight of large stone steps, she could clearly make him out. She shut her eyes, not use to them focusing at such a long range.
Turning back to the sea, the image of Brook sitting there smoking danced before her. She drew her knees up and rested her chin on top of them. Her heartbeat drummed alongside the sea waves and her stomach growled with hungry. She wondered how long it had been since she had eaten. Fed, she corrected herself. In a flash, she saw the man they had killed together. Who had he been? She couldn’t help but question.
Shaking it away, she got up, grabbed her pink trainers and walked back to Brook. The sand felt cold and gritty under her. As she approached, Brook stayed sprawled out over the steps, a dying cig between the fingers of his right hand.
‘I’m hungry,’ Fern said coming to a stop before the bottom step and staring at his booted feet.
‘You’ll get use to it,’ Brook’s raspy voice responded, ‘We’ll try and find someone else before sun up. But yeah…’
‘What about normal food?’ Fern suggested.
Brook shrugged, ‘we can eat it, no problem. But it only helps a little and then not at all when you get older. I think that café is still open.’
Fern looked at the buildings across the pavement and road. There was a long row of attached shops, cafes, ice cream shops and B&Bs’. She could hear the faint sounds of music coming from an arcade further to her right.
‘Let’s go,’ she said.
Brook eyed her and with a groan got up the steps. Fern walked past him and went to the pavement edge. Brook came to her side and they walked across together. The café lights shone out of a frosted window and the sign on the door declared it open. Fern pushed the door, stepped in then wished she hadn’t.
The café was tiny and had only four tables with two attached chairs at each against one wall and on the other a counter top and till. Behind which was an open kitchen. The place smelt of gas, grease, burning and bad food. Fern pressed a hand over her mouth and nose. Brook gave her a shove then moved passed her and went to the back table.
Feeling like she had no choice, Fern joined him. Brook tossed her a menu as she sat in the hard plastic seat and tried not to touch the unclean table.
‘I’ve changed my mind…’ Fern muttered.
Brook shrugged again and lent back in the chair. He looked over her shoulder and Fern aware that they were now not alone, picked up the menu. The plastic covered pages were sticky and as she scanned through contained many misspelt words. Nothing seemed to appeal to her.
‘Whatcha ya want? Kitchen’s closing,’ called a loud voice that sounded male but wasn’t.
‘Can I get a coke?’ Brook asked, ‘no ice.’
‘Suppose,’ the voice came back.
Brook kicked Fern under the table, ‘I’ll have one too, please,’ she gasped and went to rub her ankle.
‘Two cokes,’ the voice mumbled.
‘Are you having something?’ Fern whispered, using the menu to hide behind.
‘Nope. I’m good.’
Fern glanced at the menu, ‘how much money do you have?’
‘Where’s yours’?’ Brook shot back.
‘Back at the…with my other stuff or my house…’ Fern trailed. ‘I think…’
‘Here,’ the owner said and heavily put down two murky glasses full of coke.
Fern shyly looked at her. She was a massive woman with a dirty summer dress that looked more like a green tent for six people. Her face and arms were round, red and blotchy as if painted by a child.
‘Can I have-’ Fern started.
‘There’s no hot food, unless you want chips. I got cheese sandwich or tuna. There’s ice cream or chocolate cake, no sundaes,’ she cut in, giving the impression that she really didn’t want Fern to order anything.
‘Chip butty?’ Fern questioned in a small voice.
They both watched her waddle off and go into the kitchen. The banging of plates and pans filled the silence. Fern placed the menu down and picked up her coke. She took a few sips and noticed that it wasn’t fizzy. She glanced at Brook, he had slid his coke off to the side and was picking through a small bowl of condiment packets.
‘So what do we do now?’ Fern asked.
‘We find someone else on the way back if we can,’ Brook said simply.
‘What about…?’ Fern flicked her eyes to the owner.
Brook shook his head slowly.
She frowned and Brook with a slight eye roll, mouthed, ‘you don’t mess with people like that.’
‘Maybe we could try the arcade?’
‘Here. I closed now,’ the owner cut in, dumping a plate in front of Fern and walking off.
Fern looked down. The plate had grease smears on it, the bread was mouldy and the chips looked uncooked. She picked some of the green mould off and began nibbling at the food.
Brook scrapped the condiment bowl towards her then began picking out the small packets. Fern watched him slip some sugar and salt into his pocket.
Making a mental note to ask him later, she hurriedly ate the rest of the chip butty and downed her coke. A wave of sickness rolled into her stomach, but she fought it back.
‘You go now,’ the harsh voice called out.
Brook dropped a handful of coins onto the table, which hardly matched the bill and stood up. He grabbed Fern’s arm, yanked her up and dragged her to the door. It banged loudly behind them as Brook pressed Fern to the cold wall. The door locked and the lights went out. Fern pressed a hand to her mouth, turned around and vomited down the wall.