There was nowhere to go but uphill. I would have rather found a nice deep gully to slip into, but since the car was a dead giveaway I’m not sure it would have mattered much.
The darkening sky made every little ripple in the rock stand out; I’d been worried we’d be tripping and falling all over ourselves, but it was fairly obvious where to step.
I didn’t hear any sounds from behind us, but I wasn’t taking the time to look until it was safer. After a short climb we dropped back down a gently sloping rocky face, sprinkled with little bits of green in every crack. I stopped. “Wait; let’s see if there’s even any reason to be running.”
She just nodded, and bent over, hands on knees, breathing hard.
I crawled on my belly (permanently damaging the knees of my suit) until I could just peek over the rise.
The car had stopped, and the passengers were standing next to Siobhan’s van, looking the direction we’d run. One looked like he might have been talking on a cell phone; between the light and the distance it was hard to tell.
There was an indecisive look about them. Maybe the cell phone was giving instructions.
They stood there. I lay there. They stood some more, fidgeting. I lay some more, getting cold against the stone.
We all did what we were doing some more, and then Siobhan was crawling up next to me.
“What are they doing? Why aren’t they chasing us?”
“Looked like one was talking on a cell phone. They look like they’re waiting for something.”
“Reinforcements, maybe, or instructions. I’m not going down there, anyhow.”
For once I thought she had the right idea. Of course, knowing what we weren’t going to do wasn’t the same as knowing what we were going to do.
“I think whenever whatever it is happens, we should be farther away. What if it’s dogs or a helicopter or something?”
She scoffed at my television-chase-scene ideas. “Not likely; this isn’t America. Still, we can’t get back to the van, which is out of petrol anyway. Any chance we could get their car?”
I pondered possibilities. Even if they left their car, we couldn’t know if they’d leave the keys in it; somehow I doubted it. “Probably not.”
I wasn’t thrilled about the only idea I had. At least it was summer; shouldn’t get below 50 degrees at night. Not pleasant, but not life-threatening.
“Let’s go.” I started sliding backwards down the slope.
“In. They’re not chasing us, they’re waiting. Even if we can only make five miles an hour we can be five miles away in, well, about an hour. That’s halfway across the Burren.”
“Oh, is it, now? And what’s halfway across that we’re interested in? Nice pub out there, maybe?”
“Sure; this is Ireland, isn’t it?” She was getting on my nerves. I was far enough down the slope to stand up. “I have no idea what’s out there except that it’s farther from them. I’m walking. Even if I walk all the way across the Burren, I’ll just end up tired and hungry. It’s not like I’m walking into the Sahara, y’know. And frankly, my dear, I don’t care if you come or not.”
I knew I should pace myself, but I wanted to put some distance between myself and our non-pursuers while I was still up to it.
I turned to see if Siobhan was following and she nearly ran into me. She glared me into silence, and we turned and moved across the rock as quickly as we could.