Reggie looked at me, and then at Mick, “Weird,” he said and shrugged his shoulders. He found a bag in the ambulance and nervously scooped the remains of the radio inside. We expected it to burst into life again at any minute, but thankfully it remained silent.
“I’ll get rid of this when we get to the hospital. I think I’d like to incinerate it, make sure it doesn’t start up again. Bloody things possessed!”
I smiled weakly, if only he knew.
“Want me to come to the hospital with you Mick?” I asked.
“No, I’ll be OK. I can get a cab home. You should get to work anyway.”
The nurse shut the back of the ambulance and it rolled down Frenchgate and out of sight. Thank god he wasn’t killed. It would have been my fault.
Cindy greeted me at the front door when I got back to work.
“I was just coming to see where you’d got to. What’s going on?”
“I don’t think you want to know!” I said.
“Come on, let’s get inside.”
I was jittery all day, just waiting for something to happen. Thankfully the day was uneventful. I wanted to call Pete and tell him what’d happened, but I didn’t have a number for him, other than his parents’ house, and I didn’t want to call there in case his mum read something into it and thought we were an item again.
Five o clock finally came and I was relieved to find Pete waiting for me at the front door.
“It’s Friday, lets grab something to eat and go to the fair.”
“Pete, the radio, it came began to play again in the skip.”
“What? That’s not possible, no electricity, not batteries, and I smashed it up pretty good.”
“It came on! Nearly killed Mick McMichael!”
“He was working up on the scaffolding, on his own. The radio came on when he was throwing something down into the skip below. He lost his balance and fell.”
“Holy shit! How bad is he?” Pete turned pale, “its my fault I put it there.”
“He’s alright, landed on some insulation or something, broke his fall. It’s not your fault. It’s mine for involving everyone in the unholy mess.”
“It’s no ones fault. Who could expect a shattered radio to play? Where is it now?”
“In the hospital incinerator hopefully.”
Pete stood still, “Cottage hospital?”
“Yup, I guess that’s the closest.”
He sat on a wall at the side of the road. “You haven’t heard the news have you?”
The smell of smoke hit me. I looked across the valley. Cottage Hospital wasn’t visible from where we stood, but the smoke pouring out of it was.”
“It started an hour or so ago,” Pete said.
“NO! no, no!”
“Come on, let’s get your car and go over there, make sure Mick’s alright.”
I was too dazed to think, or argue. Pete led me home, got my car keys and drove. I dreaded what we might find there. I can’t take much more of this.
Its not funny anymore is it? Someone is going to get killed. What is it with the Smoking Man? The handsome exciting elusive dead stranger. What does he want?