No Man’s Land: snippet

A snippet from a work in progress…

“You’re saying,” Marek says in his precise way, “that we have six days until this is all over?”

“No,” Luk corrects. “I’m saying we probably have six days until the height of the disturbances. Then it’ll take just as long to calm down, which means it could still be bad for…” He considers. “Another month.”

We’re in Elise’s neat flat, sitting around her table – and kitchen. Tabor, Marek, Luk and Elise have snagged the chairs. Alvin’s perched on a chair back. Nat has taken the nearest armchair in the sitting room, which puts her near enough to hear but far enough away to dodge punches, and I’m sitting on the kitchen worktop. I think Elise is plotting to disinfect it as soon as I leave.

“How much worse-” Alvin starts.

Luk holds up a hand. “If you’re going to ask me how much worse it’s going to get, I have no fucking idea. This is new territory to me too, ok? It’s Solstice-bad now, but for all I know it’s going to stablise, or get worse, or blow everything up.” He’s going more sarcastic as he gets more annoyed. “If anyone’s got good ideas about how to measure it, feel free to pass them along. After all, you lot are the obvious experts here.”

“That was unfair,” Elise tells him reprovingly. “We are doing the best we can to assist.”

There’s a brief moment of conflict in Luk’s face, and then he concedes. “True. Sorry. You are trying.”

And failing, his unspoken comment adds. But only I know him well enough to be able to hear that unsaid addition.