My heart was beating faster than usual. I couldn’t help it. I still, after four times of doing this, could not control my own bloody nerves. The more I argued with them, the harder they seemed to grip me, until I could feel the muscles in my arms quivering as I clung to the steering wheel.

It was dark and black outside. All I could see in my headlights were the bushes surrounding me, and the empty country road ahead. Off in the distance I could now see the lights of the petrol station, which lit up the grassy fields behind it.

I turned my lights off early, pulled into the entrance and turned my car around so the front was facing out into the road. This way people could not block me in, and people would not be able to enter with their own cars. I pulled my hat down low and my scarf up high. I got out and noticed one car parked outside the shop, away from the petrol pumps and parked very close to the exit on the other side. This car had its lights on, and its engine still running.

One car would have to be accepted. Two was my limit – I could not control three people at once. I could have stopped and waited, but for all I knew, six more cars could come at the same time within the next few minutes. I had to take my chance.

I shut my door behind me and began walking towards the door of the shop.

I checked my gun was still securely wedged into the back of my belt, even though I could feel it already. Just a touch behind my back reassured me my little back-up was still there. I had developed a terrible habit of checking my gun, touching it obsessively with my fingers, just in case it had fallen out without me noticing. I needed it, no one is scared of a robber without a weapon – not scared enough to quickly hand over money, at least. I could feel my breath shaking as I tried to maintain it at a regular rhythm. My nostrils made a high-pitched, quiet screaming noise as I breathed in. This was it now. No more mistakes from now on.

Part 2 Up Tomorrow…

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