I got out of the car. I was serene and clear there wasn't a thought in my head. I walked up to the door and rang the bell. I waited, damn I wanted the door not to open. I prayed that the door wouldn't open. I hadn't prayed for years. And then the door opened, it was Rat.
At first I didn't recognise her, she'd washed out her black and purple dye and gone back to her original strawberry blonde.
"Craig! What are you doing here?" she asked surprised.
I was about to tell her to run or something when I heard Ms. Lola behind me. Well, I heard her gun. The sound of a gun being cocked is very disctinct.
"Who's that. Ms Lola? Why does she have a gun pointed at us?" she looked at me firstly confused and then afraid.
"They want the book. You should go get it. And come back...please." I swallowed noisely. She didn't look like she was going to go and do it. Then she just quickly turned away into the house.
I've felt awkward on many occasions but nothing has ever been more awkward than waiting for Rat to come back to the door with the book. Well she did come back and with the book but it wasn't because she wanted too. Oswald was behind her. Oswald looked even bigger otuside the car, he completley dwarfed Rat. Oswald gestured towards the car and in his hand was the book, still with its painted cover Rat gave it.
Oswald and I sat in the back of the Volvo, with Ms Lola and Rat up front. The ride back to town was uneventfull, there was no conversation. Not even a quip from Ms. Lola. But then again I was numb. All I could do was stare at Rat. It had been years since I'd seen her without her hair dyed some colour or shade. She did return my stare every now and again, but that was it.
Then we got to our destination, Ms.Lola's block of flats. It was dusk and the sun was setting quickly. Ms.Lola and Oswald ushered Rat and I side by side into the main room and there sitting on the lounge was Mindy. At first I was relieved but then I wondered where Lachlan was.
"You know I really wanted it not to be you." said Rat.
"Pardon? Ummm wha.. what do you mean Rat?" I stammered.
"Ahh! Craig you never guessed it did you." chuckled Mindy. "If not for you Craig and this book, none of this would have happened.
"She got sloppy Craig. The book in that cover isn't a library book its one of Mindy's. Its got 'Property of Mindy Prior' on the first page." Rat didn't stop staring daggers at Mindy.
"So now both of you know, and soon both of you are going to die." Mindy forced a relieved smile on her face. She wasn't the criminal mastermind she thought she was.
"Is HE here then." enquired Ms.Lola as she broke the awkward silence.
"Not yet but HE said he would come. We have no need to do the job ourselves this time." replied Mindy.
"Who's HE?" spat Rat. "I'd like to know who's going to kill us."
I wasn't so surprised when at that moment HE made his entrance through the kitchen door.
"Thank you for comming Kil." Mindy glowed with apprecation. "It will be so much cleaner. This time!" She looked directly at Ms.Lola and Oswald. Oswald looked at his toes. Ms.Lola didn't seem to care.
I looked at Kil and he looked back at me. He smiled.
"Craig, Faith. This is going to hurt me more than you. I hate killing people I went to school with."
With that he raised his gun and then all hell broke loose.
Something bigger than a gun went off. The police call them flash bangs. It blinds those in a confined area and the noise is deafening. It took days for the ringing in my ears to stop.
Oswald stopped holding me and I found myself being pulled by Rat onto the floor and under the lounge. And under the lounge we stayed until we heard a voice.
"Craig... Rat... You can come out now." it was Coughlan.
I found out later Mindy changed the dust cover regularly from the orginal book to the books she used as the mule book. The exchange was simple. Someone would pick the drugs up from the book after paying Ms.Lola or Oswald. I screwed it all up when I went to delete the book from the catalouge. At first Mindy was hoping to get to the book after it was deleted. Then she was hoping to get it back from me but then Rat interviened. Which set into motion everything else. The mule books were not treated well by the users and replacements the right size and shape were hard to find so they started using any book. They got sloppy cause as Rat found out, written on the first page was 'Property of Mindy Prior'.
Lachlan took Mindy's deception real hard. He was offered postions in other towns but he's decided to stick it out here. He really is a nice guy I feel bad for him.
As for Kil. The whole 'endgame' as he called it was his idea, he even called the cops in. As for how he got away? I have my suspicions that the cops let him go cause he's an undecover cop, or something like that. Rat tells me that I'm just being silly thinking that way. But it was Kil who phoned Rat and told her to go and hide at the beach house. Personally I find it hard to beieve that he did this for us out of the kindness of his heart.
Brad/Mephisto is just Brad now and he and Kate are still together. Brad started working at his Dad's tyre franchise. Its a change that has surprised Brad more than anyone else.
Ok I can hear you saying. But what about you and Rat.
Well apart from her telling me I'm silly. When noone is around. She lets me call her Faith.