They practically ran to the car, slamming their car doors against the cold northern wind.
“Fuck me it’s wild out there,” Kane shook the water droplets from his dark hair and rubbed his face with his cold hands.
Erica nodded, her hands were shaking as she pushed the car key into the ignition, although whether it was due to the cold or to being so close to Kane she couldn’t be sure.
“You sure you don’t mind taking me to get the car?” Kane asked as she started the engine.
“Of course not,” Erica smiled kindly, shifting the car into gear and pulling out of the car space.
“Thanks Scrappy,” Kane said, “I really appreciate it…”
They left the hotel grounds and pulled out into main street. Brett wasn’t wrong about the townsfolk – they were all a little on the strange side.
“This place is fucking weird…” Kane whispered as they passed a man talking to himself on the street corner.
“Scrappy, I feel like I need to make this up to you,” Kane started, Erica gulped nervously as the fuel light blinked red on her dashboard. “I’m really, really glad you’ve come out here because I need to talk to you about something…”
“I’ve known you for ages and I feel like I can talk to you about anything…”
Is he going to ask me out? Erica remained silent.
“You’re like my best female friend and I value your opinion…”
“I think I might be in love with Hollie…”
Erica’s eyes flicked over to Kane as they climbed out of the depths of Midnight Hollow, ascending up the hill.
“…Oh…” Erica squeaked, “Um… OK, and you’re telling me this… why?”
“Brett has been into Hollie for, like, forever… I can’t hurt him by going behind his back, I don’t know what to do.”
The cold touch of disappointment was slowly giving way to hot anger and Erica felt her eyes sting with unshed tears of rage.
“I’m not the right person to ask,” Erica said coldly. “Brett is my brother and if you went behind his back with Hollie you’d never be welcome near either of us again.”
Erica could see Kane nodding slowly in her peripheral vision, “I understand, I won’t bring it up again.”
“Good, because I won’t talk to you about it again.”
“What’s that…?” Kane enquired as they rounded the corner and the flash of red and blue lights could be seen in the ever darkening sky.
“Shit…” Erica pulled the car to a stop as they approached two fire engines and a couple of police cars, beyond them she could just make out a huge fallen tree.
Recognising his confident stride, Erica felt her stomach flip as Officer Amos approached their vehicle, Erica wound down her window.
“Erica,” he smiled warmly at her, his eyes flicking over Kane in the passenger seat, “I’m terribly sorry but the road is closed.”
“What’s happened?” Erica asked.
“Blockage, I’m afraid it’s going to take some time to shift – the weather is so bad and the tree’s fallen right on the bend – it’ll be a long operation shifting it.”
“We need to get to Lucky Palms for tomorrow afternoon, what are our chances?” Kane enquired.
“Very slim I’m afraid,” Officer Amos replied, “You’ll be lucky to get there for Monday afternoon.”
“Shit,” Kane scowled, starring out the window.
“Apologies, please, enjoy your stay in Midnight Hollow, we don’t often get visitors.”
“There’s no room.” Ewen approached the group and stood awkwardly beside the booth.
“Are you sure?” Hollie enquired.
Erica and Kane had returned to the group with their bad news and they’d instantly attempted to book into the hotel for the night, only to be turned away.
“This is the only hotel in town,” Brett frowned, “What the fuck are we meant to do now…?”
“I can’t stay here,” Ettie protested, starring around her, “It’s fucking creepy and weird and I don’t like it.”
“I don’t think we have a choice,” Erica interjected glumly, “We’ll have to stay in the car…”
“We won’t all fit in the car…” Ettie spat.
“Well I’ll stay up,” Hollie said, “I’ve done it before…”
“Yeah, me too,” Kane added, and Erica shot a warning glance in his direction.
“And me,” Brett smiled at Hollie and Erica felt slightly sick. What was it about this girl?
“OK, guys…” Ewen waved his hand to get their attention, “I didn’t want to mention this before because I was worried you’d think I was weird…”
The group turned to look at him and he shuffled uncomfortably from toe-to-toe.
“Well?” Hollie asked, “What is it?”
“I sort of used to live here…”
“With my aunt… we could go stay in her house, she won’t mind – it’s massive and we can all get some rest…”
“Is it far?” Brett asked.
“No, just around the corner…”
“It’ll sure beat sleeping in some banger of a car,” Ettie said, glancing at Erica with narrowed eyes, Erica shuffled uncomfortably.
“I don’t see what choice we have,” Kane said, dragging his fingers through his hair, “I say we do it…”
Hollie shrugged and Ettie nodded furiously.
“OK,” Brett gestured towards the hotel exit, “Lead the way.”