Joe drove slowly, he wanted time to think. Mary would be angry if she knew what he was doing, but that wouldn’t matter in the end. He had been thinking about the Ariadne problem lately, usually when that happened it meant he left something unfinished, but despite this, he couldn’t figure out what. She had something on The Lambs, she must, that was the only explanation. She couldn’t get them on any labour charges, the people were not workers, they were officially volunteers. She couldn’t have smuggled out anything, after all she couldn’t have gotten access to Mary’s office, only himself and Mary had a key, and even if Ariadne had gotten in, everything was locked in filing cabinets, of which only Mary had a key. He needed to take care of her before she became a problem, if she spoke to the wrong people it could mean disaster. Joe put on his turn signal and went left, he wasn’t too far away, he could grab her, get rid of her and dispose of her corpse in a few hours, Mary would never know. He smiled, this would be fun. He pulled through the lights, not noticing it was still red. The car hit his before he could react, there was a blinding light then darkness.
He woke, there was pain and something in his mouth, grit. Was he in a fight? His vision was blurry, he tried to sit up and let out a groan as sharp pain stabbed into his back. He worked up a mouth of saliva and spat out the grit. Not grit, glass. There was some on the dashboard. Dashboard. He was in his car. There were people at the window, they were speaking. The window had been up before, where did it go? He tried to focus, make out the words. “Help is on the way, don’t move your head, you might have hurt your spine.” He nodded distractedly, he had to leave. He was doing something, something important. He felt so very tired. He struggled to stay awake, to focus.
He woke slowly. There was coldness in his arm, flowing along it. It seemed unbearably bright. His eyes adjusted after a moment. He moved his arm, something tugged against it. He looked down, an IV cable snaked from his hand and up to a plastic bag. A nurse suddenly appeared at his side. “How are you feeling?” His tongue felt thick and heavy. “Thirsty.” She nodded, “you’ve been through a lot, just try to relax ok, the doctor will be in shortly to speak with you. I’ll get you a small cup of water.” She disappeared and reappeared a few moments later, “here, sip slowly.” There was a straw sticking out of the cup, he drank only a little before she pulled it away.
The doctor visited briefly, throwing out phrase and terms. He had a compression fracture on his spine, bruises, a broken arm, mild concussion. The doctor told him his wife would be here soon. It took him a few moments to figure out the doctor meant Mary. The nurse removed the IV after a few minutes, she handed him some pills to take, the explanation was lost quickly as a haze descended. Mary arrived, her face neutral. He tried to listen as the doctor explained things to her, but he drifted in and out of consciousness. She was arguing with the doctor about something. Darkness. He was being helped into a wheel chair. Darkness. He was cold. It was outside, early, maybe it was late. He was being helped into a car. Mary was there, she had a large paper bag. She thanked the orderly, then the door was closed and sound stopped. She got into the car and turned on the radio. It was a few minutes before she spoke. “I thought we agreed we’d drop it Joe.” “I did, I wasn’t goin-” “Don’t lie to me. I know what you were doing. I know you. You can’t lie to me.” “I was only trying to help.” “No. That isn’t how it works. You help by doing what we agree.” His words were slurred, he tried to explain himself. “It need-” “No. You needed to stay away. Do you know how much trouble you could put is in? Did you even think? What am I saying, do you ever think?” She laughed derisively. “Enjoy the pills, the doctor said they’d numb the pain. You’re not dying in case you were worried. You’re to get plenty of rest.” She looked over at him, he was already asleep. She sighed. What was she going to do with him? He was starting to be a liability. He was a good worker most of the time though. As she drove, she thought. She sped up after they left the city, she needed to be back before people woke. It wouldn’t do for people to see them like this.
She pulled in behind the building, then got out of the car. She should have worn her dress. It wouldn’t raise as much questions. As it was she was dressed in a pair of faded jeans and a red t-shirt. She went around and opened Joe’s door. “C’mon, wake up. I can’t carry you there myself.” He stumbled out of the car, she half dragged, half walked to the door. She opened it and they quickly went inside. She brought him into her office and through the secret door. They travelled down the short corridor into her room. He sat on the bed and she took his shoes off, Joe lay down and she used his legs as a pivot to move him onto it fully. She emptied the bag and looked at the pain killers. Not too shabby. She took a bottle of water out of the small refrigerator and emptied a few pills out of the bottle. “Wake up for a second.” His eyes opened blearily, she carefully put a pill into his mouth then opened the water, “sip. Good.” She repeated it twice more. She let him fall back onto the pillow. Mary sat on the small chair. Watching him. It wouldn’t be too much longer.
After twenty minutes, she stood again, the pills would be working now, he wouldn’t wake up for a while. She took one of her pillows and placed it over his face, pressing down as hard as she could. He didn’t struggle, his body shivered once then a second time as it gave up. She waited a few minutes more. She stepped back, taking the pillow with her. Good. He was gone. She started her work, she wouldn’t have a lot of time.
When she was done, she had stripped him of the cast and dressed him in his usual clothes. Soon there would be a mass for him and The Lambs would know that God had called upon Joe, had taken him into his eternal embrace. Mary knew they’d buy it, there would be no questions from them, the police and staff had a different name for him. If they ever managed to track him down, The Lambs would be long gone.