“Just get on the M1, the tyre isn’t going to deflate immediately. We’ll stop at the first services and see how bad it is there.”
“I can’t drive on the motorway like this.”
“You’ve been driving around for half an hour like this. It isn’t going to explode now. It’s gone four and it’s Sunday. Anywhere fitting tyres will be closed now. You should have gotten that spare when you had the chance.”
Scotty was silent as he turned the car around and started, once again, to follow the robot’s instructions. It took about twenty minutes to get to the first services on the M1.
“I’m going to check how bad it is,” Scotty said.
“I’m going toilet,” I said. “I will be back in a minute.”
“Don’t take to long we don’t know how long it will last.”
I ignored his comment and left him with Jake to look at the tyre. The services weren’t that busy. There were a few people buying food and drinks but the place was emptier than I expected. I walked through the main double doors, ignored the main area, walked into the short corridor for the men’s toilets. There were a couple of people in there. I went into one of the stalls as it was free. When I came out there was no one there. I walked over to the sink and washed my hands. As I was doing so I spotted a phone left leaning against the mirror. It was a thin phone with a screen covering near enough the whole of the front. I couldn’t tell which make it was. I couldn’t care less about things like that. As long as it phones people then I’m happy. I can live without the internet in my pocket every second of the waking day. After washing my hands I picked it up and left the toilets, hoping to see someone close by. There was no one. I thought about walking over to one of the restaurants and handing the phone in, but something told me just to get back to the car. Chances are the owner has driven off by now. They’re not going to get it back. I regretted even picking it up, but I just wanted to get back to the car. Sooner we drove back the quicker we could pick up Tommy from the sitter and enjoy the rest of the day.
I walked across the car park and got back in the car. The phone had left my mind. I had slipped it into my back pocket and that was it. Scotty and Jake were both back in the car.
“Hello,” I said as I climbed in.
“Hey, the tyre is deflating really slowly. I’ve pumped it back up. We should get back alright.”
“Good. We can sort it out then.”
I continued to look look out of the window as we winded through the car park and back out onto the M1. I could actually feel the anger coming from Scotty as he drove. I hoped that he was angry with himself. If he had bought the spare tyre the week before like he had said after the last one was punctured then he wouldn’t have had to worry today. Not that anyone could have guessed we would have gotten a puncture while the car was parked in that street. We didn’t notice anything when we got out of the car, but half an hour later, after meeting Jake and getting coffee, it was near enough flat.
After shifting slightly in my seat I remember the phone in my back pocket. I shifted and took it out.
“What you got there?” Jake asked. “A new phone? It’s a nice one.”
“No. Found it in the toilets. There wasn’t anyone to give it too. So I took it.” I laughed.
I tapped the screen and was surprised that it was so simple to unlock. Just a flick on the screen and someone’s entire life was available to me. Their contacts. Their photos and videos. Games. Memos. Calender. All there in front of me. I clicked on their contacts. The usual, mum, dad, sis. A couple of names and the letter J. I went back to the main screen and tapped on the photos. A few small pictures came up. I tapped the first one and watched it stretch out and cover the whole screen. It was a tree. I swiped the screen. Another tree.
“Whoever it was, they liked trees,” I laughed. Jake joined in. “Look, one of a field.”
I scanned through a couple more. My hand froze and I went cold.
“Jesus,” it was all I could say.
“What?” Jake asked.
I didn’t answer. He leaned forward and took the phone from my hand.
“God. That’s just wrong,” he said.
“What? What is it?” Scotty asked.
Jake leaned forward and placed the phone in front of Scotty to one side so he could still focus on driving. He took a quick look.
“That can’t be real.”
Jake leaned back and pawed over the phone.
“Whoever this person is. They’re sick. Or at least they are into some sick things. Dan. You’ve got to see this.” Jake’s voice had a serious tone.
I looked back at him. His face was white. What could be worse than what I had just seen. I almost didn’t take the phone out of his hand. But I did and that’s when I saw him. His little face. Tommy. My Tommy. A close up of his face. Tears rolling down towards the duct tape over his mouth. A bright bruise over his cheek. I dropped the phone…