Mel’s legs and tummy were still wobbly as she sat on the bed next to Severina, but her head was as clear as the sea crashing on the waves below.
“Severina, you have to wake up. What’s going on?”
Severina’s eyes flickered.
“I feel very strange.”
“You’ve been drugged.” Mel felt the other woman’s forehead and stroked the hair off her brow.
Severina was always so neat and tidy, it felt wrong for her to be dishevelled.
“Drugged?” She sat up. “Makso asked me to try the honey.”
“That was it.” Mel sat beside her. “For some reason, he wants us both off the scene. I wish I knew what was going on.”
“The trouble for me . . .” Severina bit her lip, stemming tears “. . . is that I know too much.”
“Too much about what?”
“About the evil Makso is doing. Please, Mel.” Severina grasped Mel’s hand tightly. “We have to get out of here and raise the alarm.” She stood up. “Help me on to this table; I need to see outside.”
“No,” Mel replied. She felt decidedly queasy, and she knew the older woman would be more affected by the chemicals in her blood. “I’ll get up there.”
The two of them lifted the table to the window and placed it carefully down so as not to make any noise.
“What can you see?” Severina asked.
Mel peered carefully through the small window.
“We must be in one of the trulli houses. I can see the path leading to the cove on the right-hand side, and the track back into the fields in the direction of the Villa Lavanda on the left.”
“Can you see anybody?”
“No, but I can hear sounds of someone in the house next door, banging and scraping. It sounds like a workshop. Oh, no, wait. There is a man, pacing up and down, smoking a cigarette. He’s very burly, dressed in black jeans and black T-shirt.
“I think he’s here to keep guard on us. Even if I could fit through this window, he’d be sure to spot me.”
“Come down,” Severina hissed. “Don’t let him see you. What are we going to do?”
Mel climbed back on to the floor and together they silently replaced the table.
Mel sat back down beside Severina on the bed and held her hand.
“For the time being, we can’t get out of here. But that guy outside doesn’t know how long the drugs Makso gave us will last.
“If we hear a key in the lock we should pull the covers over ourselves as if we’re still out cold. That way their guard will be down.
“If he has an accomplice, or if Makso comes to check things, maybe we’ll get to hear what they plan to do with us. It’ll give us the upper hand.
“If we stay passive, they won’t expect it when we fight back, and we are going to fight back, believe me. We just have to choose the right moment.”
“All right,” Severina replied. Her eyes were brighter now as if she had gained some of Mel’s strength.
But even though Mel wasn’t showing it, she wasn’t feeling strong. Her stomach churned, reacting to the sleeping draught.
“In the meantime,” she said, breathing deeply to stem the nausea, “you must tell me what you know. What is Makso up to?”
* * * *