Corey and Hemi walked through an empty park with the backs of their jackets pulled up over their heads to ward off the rain. Water trickled down a green plastic slide and formed a puddle at its base. The night was dark, coal-black with nothing to hear but the rain that fell in a steady stream, like the soft drumming of fingers on a corner table. They crossed a narrow road on the outskirts of town. There were no street lights out here, just concrete blocks of businesses that were empty at night.
Hemi still lived with his mother in one of the last houses that had been zoned for industry. They could hear the distant wail of a police siren. It grew louder, then louder again before they could hear the screech of tyres on tar seal. Headlights appeared. They could see the front tyres of a car skidding across the slick surface of the road before they found grip and straightened. The engine roared before both of the boys were caught in its headlights. They grabbed each other, not knowing which way to move to avoid it, screaming into the light as they waited for impact. It didn’t come. The car was yanked sideways before it plowed directly into a concrete pillar to the right of them.
Neither man moved. Hemi could feel Coreys’ heart thumping against his own chest. They pulled free of one another then ran to the car. A large V had been punched into its bonnet. The cars’ engine had been pushed back into the dashboard. It smoked as the rain hissed each time it struck the radiator. They both turned as a police car flew past the end of the road, its red and blue lights flashed, siren screamed as it accelerated away. Their attention turned back to the car and the driver inside it. They weren’t moving. The headlights were dead. Corey tore at the door, metal ground against metal as he forced it open. No interior lights came on. The battery had probably been ripped free off its terminals.
Hemi held his phone up having turned on its flashlight. A blond girl lay sideways across the driver’s seat. What looked like a broken arm rested on top of the steering wheel, the other looked like it was pinned beneath her. Her head had been thrown back and jutted to the left at an awkward angle. Corey placed a hand on her chest, then held two fingers to her neck. Nothing. He shook her gently. No movement.Â
-˜Bro. This is bad. I think she’s gone,’ said Corey.
-˜Holy shit! Are… are you sure?’
-˜Whaddaya mean, am I sure?’
-˜I mean… she could just be unconscious, knocked out or something?’ added Hemi.
Corey straightened himself. -˜How many people have you seen unconscious?’
Hemi shrugged his shoulders. -˜I don’t know. Maybe just you when I sat your arse down after you stole my bike from school that time.’
-˜Really? Because I … it doesn’t matter. You breathe when you’re out. It’s almost like sleeping, though you don’t respond to noises… or being shaken… or to anything.’
-˜Ok. We should probably call the police then, eh?’
-˜Probably. Pass me your phone, I just want to see if there’s anyone in the back.’
Hemi handed him the phone, then watched as Corey traced the light across the back seat. -˜What’s that?’ Hemi asked over his shoulder.
Corey moved it back to where it had been. A black duffel bag was in the corner, it had been turned upside down and had opened. From where the boys were standing they could see red, purple and green bundles of money that had spilled on to it. There were lots of them.
-˜Damn!’ said Corey.
-˜This isn’t good.’
-˜What isn’t good?’
-˜Are you kidding me?’ Hemi held his arms out wide to the sky. -˜We’re standing here in the pouring rain, with a dead girl in the front seat and money in the back. There’s a bloody cop cruising around looking for her, whose probably turning around as we speak. We need to call it in.’
Corey pushed Hemi away from the door and switched off the phones’ light. -˜Are you kidding me? I mean how much did you smoke tonight?’
-˜You were rolling, so you tell me?’
-˜We’re carrying. So no, we’re not calling the police,’ he said handing the phone back to him.
-˜It’s only pot. Jacinda will probably legalise it if she gets in next year.’
Corey shook his head. -˜What are you talking about? Focus brother. This shit is real. I say we take the money and go.’
Hemi shook his head. -˜That shit is cold bro. She’s still warm and you’re talking about robbing the girl.’
-˜Me? Where do you think she got it from?’
He held his hands up. -˜I don’t know and I don’t care.’
-˜Bro, your mother could use the money. I know you could do something with it, we both could!’
-˜It’s wrong. It’s not ours to take.’
-˜Are you kidding me? I mean, since when…’
-˜I’m just saying, I don’t agree with it.’
Corey held his arms up, shook his head, then pulled the cuffs of his jacket over his hands and started wiping down the door handle of the car. He dabbed her neck with a covered wrist, then stepped back and forced the door shut. He walked around the back of the car and opened the rear door. He flipped the duffel bag right side up, snatched up a few of the stray bundles, then nudged it shut with his leg before he wiped the handle clean.
-˜Let’s go,’ said Corey.
-˜Bro, do what you want. I’m good. I’m just going to head home.’
-˜Come on man! At least take something. Safety in numbers right?’
Hemi walked away, shaking his head as the rain continued to fall before he stopped.
-˜How long have we known each other?’ asked Hemi.
Corey turned towards him. -˜I don’t know. Years, why?’
-˜It’s been a while since we’ve caught up, then all of a sudden you call me out of the blue?’
-˜What are you getting at? It has been too long.’
-˜When have we have ever walked to my house this way?’
-˜I don’t know what you mean.’
-˜Yeah, I think you do. You were supposed to meet her somewhere around here weren’t you?’
-˜Man, that pot bro,’ said Corey shaking his head. -˜I think you might have overdone it tonight.’
-˜I’m not that sure. Is it drugs? Meth? You’ve lost a lot of weight you know.’
-˜It was her you’ve been calling on my phone wasn’t it?’
Corey tried to suppress a grin.
-˜Did you actually lose your phone earlier tonight or were you calling her as some sort of bullshit set up on mine? I don’t know who she is man, though I feel sorry for her. And for you, brother.’
They could both hear the sound of something approaching above them. The rain kept coming though there was a loud buzz they could hear through it. A drone appeared. A huge LED light lit up the ground beneath them. Blue and red lights flickered from the top of it before it spoke.
-˜Drop what you’re carrying and get down on the ground! Facedown with your hands behind your head! An officer is on their way.’
Corey threw the duffel bag at Hemi. Hemi moved to throw it back when his phone rang. He checked the screen. It was a number he didn’t recognise, though he knew who it was. The car was a hundred meters away, yet he could still see the glow of a phone from the front seat. He threw the bag back at Corey whose face looked ashen as it thudded at his feet. Hemi lay on his stomach and laughed about his entire situation as the rain fell on to the back of his head. His hands were awash with red and blue light as the police pulled in behind them.