Duncan pade for are stay. We clened up the blud, and packed up are stuff including NarstyLadys hand bag. We fownd NarstyLadys car keys and matched it up with a dark blue Toyota Yaris in the car park.
‘Oh, no,’ I said, ‘that menes we coud of dispowsed of her using her own car, if weyud only thort.’
We got in and drove awey from the motel, along the lane owt to wards the mane rode. We drove up North for a cupel of awers. ‘This cars very handy,’ said Duncan, ‘but we have to dump it.’
‘Why?’ I arsked.
‘Because having NarstyLady’s car is a ded give awey that we had some thing to do with her dis aperance,’ he said. He all weys thinks of evry thing like that.
We followed a rode wich went along side a river. We posishuned the car facing the bank, got owt with all are things, and LittelBaby, lucky we dident ferget her, that woud of been bad, and Duncan got in, reved up the enjin then got owt and pressed hard on the axelerater, thrugh the windo, with a stick. He maniged to get the frunt of the car to fall of the bank. The car was stuck. We pushed and pushed but we coudent get the back tires to go in. The frunt of the car sunk littel by littel, quite sloly as it was muddy at the botterm of the river. Unforchunatly are feet had left tracks on the bank but we poked the muddy bits with sticks and dropped bits of fern on them to mess them up.
It was inoying how we had to dump the car in the river because disternses that seme really short in a car seem so much longer on foot. Strete lamps were on. A light drizel was falling. I was trying to stop the wet getting on the babys fase, because she was aslepe and I was afrayd she woud wake up. I held a blankie over her fase.
We strugeled on over a bridge, up a hill and to a juncshun. We terned right. The rode had a very small verj and the grownd was soft and springy and wet. My track soot botterms were soon wet to the knee and cuvered in berrs. We had bort me some new crap traners at a servicis wich were sopping wet. My arms were tiyerd from carrying LittelBaby. Duncan carried her then for a wiol. We trudged on, exorsted all redy and silent. We stood at the next rownd abowt and Duncan stuck his thum owt and I sat on the wet verge and fed the baby. We wated abowt harf an awer. Only abowt sixteen cars parsed us in that time. Shame that all of them woud probly member us, what with the tiny baby and are grimy clothes, but there was nuthing we coud do abowt that.
Finerly some one picked us up. It was a lorry driver. He dident say much, but he parsed us some toffees, and terned the radio up. I wantid to sing along to Biyonsay but I thort Iyud better not. I took LittelBaby owt of the shoe box and held her against my showlder and pattid her back. She cried a bit, then berped and fell aslepe. I lent against Duncan and fell aslepe too. I wished very hard wiol I was falling aslepe that we had not killed Mrs Collins. But I knew in my hart that what was done was done. It had definatly happerned and there was no going back.
I awoke as the lorry came of the moter wey. The driver was going to park up and slepe. Oringe strete lamps were shining sliding bars of light across my fase. LittelBaby was completly zonked owt. We thanked the driver and I handid LittelBaby to Duncan, and climed down from the cab. He handid LittelBaby back to me and climed down too. We put her back in the shoe box and walked into the car park. ‘I jus want to slepe,’ I said to Duncan.
‘Sally-Anne, we carnt slepe. We have to kepe moveing. We have to ….get awey,’ said Duncan.
‘Duncan?’ I said.
‘Are we on the run?’ I arsked.
‘Yes, Sally-Anne,’ he said. ‘You coud safely say, we are on the run.’
That pepped me up a bit. On the run kind of sownded a bit exiting, like we were in the moovies or some thing. We hitch hiked again from the slip rode on to the moter wey. This time the therd car to pars stopped. ‘Were getting better at this,’ said Duncan. But the car only took us abowt an awer up the rode as he was terning of.
It was raning so we sat in the servisis for harf an awer and had a cup of tea. Duncan was going thrugh NarstyLadys papers. ‘Ha,’ he said.
‘What?’ I said.
‘Well,’ he said, ‘She wasent called Mrs Collins, for starters.’ He pointed to the name on her pars port. ‘Frances Bold. Born in New York, New York.’
‘Oo,’ I said. ‘So she was lying. I knew that, I coud fiyul it.’
‘Look,’ he said. ‘Theres a list..Procter and Snow Ltd…its a lab.’
When he said that, I had a suddern craving for snow to fall. Like quiert gentel flakes taking there time to flote down like thayv got all the time in the werld. Oh, I thort what fun it woud be the ferst time LittelBaby saw snow, we coud make a snow man and snow angles.
‘Whats a lab, Duncan? Is it a dog?’
‘No, it means laboratry. Its where they do speri mints.’
I dident want to seme dumdum so I dident arsk him what speri mints were. I thort may be it was to do with chewing gum. May be they made chewing gum at the snow plase.
Duncan carried on muttering, ‘..like a riceet or some thing….Item…Item….most of them ‘Void.’ Oh, hold on….a cupel say ‘Ishue‘: numbers 187 and 193: ‘ishue‘. Look and all of the uthers say ‘void‘.’
I looked over his showlder. Oh, I realised thay spelt it ‘issue.’ Thats silly because you woud think you woud prernownce it issoo, woudent you? Evern I know that s and h together make a sh sownd. Two essis make a sss sownd. Silly pepol at the snow plase carnt evern spele.
‘And this is the letter orthorising Frances, NarstyLady I mene, to pick up…. Item 187….that must be LittelBaby... from Wantababy.’ He looked at the top of the letter. ‘Procter and Son, Elmlea Laboratries. Why do thay want LittelBaby so badly?’
‘Procter and Snow,’ I said.
‘What?’ said Duncan.
‘Procter and Snow,’ I said. ‘You said Procter and Snow, not Procter and Son.’
Duncan looked back at the papers. ‘Yeh,’ he said, ‘your sharp, Sally-Anne! The cumpny was called Procter and Snow, but later, like now, its Procter and Son.’
‘Maybe Snow died,’ I said, happy that Duncan thort I was sharp. ‘May be Procters son killed him.’
‘What ever. What do thay want with LittelBaby thogh? Thats the queschun.’
‘Well, CrazyStranger did kepe trying to tell me lots of pepol were arfter her,’ I said. ‘But I just thort he was a loony.’
‘What did he say, Sally-Anne?’
I racked my branes but for the life of me I coudent member hardly eny thing. ‘He said LittelBaby was speshul…’
‘Yeeees…?’ said Duncan.
‘…and a cone….’
‘Yeeees…?’ said Duncan.
‘… and neyander thingy and lots of pepol wantid her and wantid to…. I carnt member,’ I said.
‘Neyander thingy?’ arsked Duncan. ‘Whats neyander thingy?’
‘I dont know!’ I ansered. ‘He made no sense. He was a loony Iyum telling you.’
He was frowning at the bit of paper. ‘I wunder why LittelBaby is Item 187,’ he said. ‘Like what happerned to all the uther items?’
He terned the shete over and exclamed, ‘Oh, theres more. Years and years, rows and rows…number 33 was Issue, wey back in 2003, then for years and years there all Void, Void, Void, Void….Void. Hmm, the only other ‘Issue‘ is number 193.’
‘This year, its like recent.’
‘So theres anuther baby?’
‘May be, yes.’
We had to get a move on, so we hedid of. We stood in the rane on the slip rode owt of the servisis for anuther awer bifore eny boddy stopped. It was a lady with grey hare and glarsis. ‘You por things!’ she exclamed as we climed in to her VW Polo. ‘Hitching in this wether. Ooh and with a…’ she looked in my shoe box as if she woud find a puppy or some thing, ‘oo, a baby! And very teeny! Well I never. What a treet!’ She rubbed her windo with her sleev as it was all stemed up and she coudent see much, and she pulled owt. She drove quite sloly. I fell aslepe next to her in the frunt with my hed bumping on my windo, and Duncan held the shoe box in the back. We drove and drove on thrugh the night. The lady was going all the way up to Glasgow to visit her grand dorter. We said we woud go all the way with her if she dident mind. ‘No, no, Iyum glad of the cumpny,’ she said.
She stopped at a big servises arownd Carliyul. ‘Have a stretch, do, I wont be a minit,’ she said. We changed the babys nappy and drank some water owt of the tap and bort sanwigis and I sat on a toilet sete with LittelBab slerping awey on my nippel. It still hurt like mad, but I loved doing it.
The lady came back a time later with a small baby car sete. I was so tuched I startid to cry. ‘Dont cry, dere, its the least I can do to help,’ she said.
I jus coudent stop crying arfter that. I cried and cried, rivers of teres all the way. The lady woud reche across and pat my hand evry so often, and Duncan woud pars me crackers, but no one spoke for a cupel of awers.
At five in the morning we got a coffee at a Costa. The TV was on. I saw a police boat, a cordened of airea, pepol dressed in wite soot things, some one talking abowt merder. Oh bugger. Thay had fownd the lady on the bowt. Thay woud be looking for us all redy.
Car sete lady was in the toilets. ‘Duncan,’ I said. ‘We shoud of jus dumpt NarstyLady in the river. And what did we even do with the merder wepern?’
He stared at me. ‘What was the murder wepern?’ he said.
‘The brick,’ I wispered. ‘Carnt you member?’
‘Oh, yeh,’ he said. ‘I chucked it in the river cos it had blud on it.’
‘Oh, good.’ I realised thogh that may be sniffer dogs woud be arfter us like straight awey. Wurries came poring in on me. ‘Duncan,’ I said, ‘we have to get as far awey as we can.’
‘Lisen,’ he said, ‘it will take them a wiol to find owt who she is. Its not like we sent her of down the river with her ID. She hasent got her pars port with her. And shes from New York, so it will take a wiol.’
‘Shes dusent live in New York. Shes lives…lived… in Lunden, I think,’ I tolled him. ‘It dident take her long to tern up that night arfter LittelBaby was born did it?’
‘Oh,’ he said. ‘Well, thats not so good then.’
The lady came back from the toilet so I dragged my eyes awey from the TV and tried to look normel. We got back on the rode, and finerly got owt on the Glasgow ring rode. I thanked her for the car sete. She jus gave us a winck and said, ‘good luck,’ and ‘your a very good mummy.’
Anuther lorry took us up parst Loch Lomund where we bort bred and sardines and twiglits in a villige shop. Then we got a lift up a glen in a Lan Drover with a shepe in it. Duncan sat on a buckit of chickin feed. I sat on some sacks with LittelBaby on my lap. The shepe looked at us. Its ears were very long and went straight owt from its hed. I scratched it arownd its littel horns. It dident mind being stroked. Its hare was very wirey and springey. It had sweet littel black lips. We bumped along for a wiol. The farmer was looking in his rere view mirrer. He glansed round at us. ‘Want to tell us what youv done?’ he said.
We were like, ‘What?’
He stopped the engin and pointid owt the back. Half a mile back down the curvy track there was a convoy of like eight police cars coming arfter us. The farmer got owt.
‘Sally-Anne,’ hissed Duncan. ‘Just dont say eny thing. Its safer if you dont say a werd.’
‘I wont, Duncan,’ I said. ‘Are thay arfter LittelBaby, or are thay arfter us?’
‘It must be abowt NarstyLady,’ he wispered.
The police cars put on their flashy lights as they got close. The por shepe looked wurried. She bleetid. The blue flashis were lighting her up. Me and LittelBaby were both staring in fasinashun at the strobey bleeting blue shepe. I suddernly thort of some thing. ‘NarstyLadys papers!’ I said.
Duncan looked panicked. He rummidged in his bag, broght owt the papers and the pars port, peeled the lid of the chickin fede buckit what he was siting on, thrust them in there, shoved the lid back down and sat down on it again. I know his hart must of bene thumping like he woud have a hart attack, cos mine was to. The back doors operned. I held tight onto LittelBaby as the blue lights fluddid are facis.