It was a little after ten o’clock when I saw her get into the Mercury. Roy saw her off. He stood in the moonlight, his hands on his hips, watching the tail lights disappear up the mountain road.
He stood there for a long time, watching, then he walked over to the lunch room and out of my
I lay there in bed, looking through the window, waiting for something to happen, knowing that something must happen, and feeling instinctively that this was the end of my road.
I could Imagine Roy pacing up and down in the kitchen, his shrewd, greedy mind questioning
both Lola’s and my stories. Was there big money in the safe? Was there a confession in there? Was this a trap to persuade him to open the safe?
Nothing happened for an hour. It was the longest hour I have ever lived through, then I saw the headlights of a truck come down the road. The truck pulled up by the gas pumps.
Roy came out of the lunch room and serviced the truck. He and the trucker talked for a few
minutes, then the truck drove away.
This was the moment. I knew it by the way my heart began to thump.
Roy stood by the pumps, looking towards the steep hill that led over the mountain to
Wentworth. He stood there for three or four minutes, staring into the darkness. There were no approaching headlights to alarm him. Then he walked quickly to the bungalow.
This uncontrolled urge for money in him had been too much for him. He was going to open the safe!
I watched him pause before the front door of the bungalow. He had obviously come prepared,
for it was only a matter of seconds before he pushed open the door and went inside.
But he was being very cautious.
He reappeared again almost immediately.
Again he looked up the long, mountain road to make
sure she wasn’t returning, then satisfied, he went back into the bungalow. I saw the light go up in the living-room.
It would take him only a few minutes to open the safe and to find the money. There was
nothing I could do about it. I had played my cards. They had been just not good enough.
Then I saw her.
She must have coasted the car down the hill without lights sometime after Roy had gone into the lunch room. She had done it superbly well. Although I had been watching all the time, I hadn’t seen her come, nor had I seen her park the car.
But there she was, moving quickly and silently towards the bungalow.
The light of the moon showed her up in her green dress as she crossed a patch of white sand. Then she disappeared into the shadows. The trap was sprung, and Roy had fallen into it.
I imagined him squatting before the safe. With his knowledge, it wouldn’t take him long to
open it. The sight of all that money would stun him. It would stun him hard enough not to hear the door open. She would kill him. I was sure of that, and there she was, already within yards of him.
I threw off the sheet and blanket that covered me. I swung my feet to the floor. I got to the door in an unsteady rush and grabbed the handle to support myself.
Pain raged in my chest, but I ignored it. All I could think of was that I had to get to the
bungalow and save him.
Somehow I got the door open. I crossed the hall and pulled open the front door.
There was a warm, moist feeling at my chest that told me I was bleeding. That was to be
expected, I didn’t care.
I opened the front door and moved unsteadily into the darkness.
There was now no sign of Lola.
Staggering and slowly, I started across the sand to the bungalow.
The wound in my chest had burst open, and I could feel blood running down my stomach and
thighs, but I kept on.
I was within reach of the bungalow’s front door when I heard the violent, choked bang of a gun.
The sound made my heart turn a somersault. I paused, hearing the sound of a heavy fall.
Then not caring, knowing this was the end of my road, I pushed open the door and walked into the lounge.
Roy stood against the wall, the .45 in his hand. The safe door stood open, showing its contents, neatly stacked on two shelves. Lying at Roy’s feet was Lola. There was a blue-black hole in her forehead to show where he had shot her.
No one could get shot in the head like that and live. One quick look at her told me she was dead.
Roy and I stared at each other. His face was yellow-white and glistening with the sweat of fear.
“You were right,” he said, his voice a cracked whisper. “If you hadn’t warned me, she would
have nailed me.”
I felt the strength seeping out of me. Somehow I got to a chair and collapsed into it. The flow of blood made a dark stain on my pyjama trousers.
Roy remained motionless, staring down at Lola. He didn’t look at me.
“We’ve got to get out of here,” I said. I put my hand on the pad of bandages that covered my
wound and pressed against its warm sogginess. “Get the car! We can’t talk our way out of this!
Take the money! We can still get away with it!”
He turned his head and looked at the neatly stacked rows of money.
“I knocked the gun out of her hand as she came in,” he said.
“I didn’t mean to kill her.”
“Get the car! Come on! We’ve got to get away from here!” Even to me, my voice sounded far away, and the way I was bleeding frightened me.
He went to the safe and hauled out the money. He jerked the table cloth off the table and
bundled the money into it.
“I’m bleeding,” I said. “Fix it, Roy, and get me a coat. I’ll be okay.”
He turned and stared at me. There was an expression on his face I have never seen before.
It made him a stranger to me.
“How far do you imagine you’ll get? You’re finished!” His voice was harsh with his greed.
“With this amount of dough, I can begin a new life—the kind of life I’ve always wanted to live.
There’s no room in the car for you! Don’t look at me like that! Do you imagine you’re worth over a hundred thousand bucks? No man is!” He shook the bundle of money at me. “You said the score was even, didn’t you? That’s what you said! I’m getting out of here!”
Suddenly I didn’t care any more. I let him go. After a minute or so I heard a car engine start up.
I saw through the window the headlights of the Mercury light up, then the car swung around. It went away fast towards the mountain road that led to Tropica Springs.
I looked at Lola lying at my feet. There was blood on her face and her mouth was drawn down in a snarl of fear. She looked hideous. I wondered how I could ever have fallen for her; how a man like Jenson could ever have fallen for her.
I had to hold onto the arms of the chair to keep myself from falling. Darkness was creeping in on me. Sooner or later, someone would come to Point of No Return and see the light on in the bungalow. Whoever they were would peer in at the window and find us.
If I were dead by then, it wouldn’t matter, but if I were alive, and if they could save my life, then there was no future for me. No one would believe I hadn’t killed her. When Jenson’s body was found, no one would believe I hadn’t killed him either.
So I waited, hoping for death.
There was nothing else to hope for.
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