Gwen made sure that Sara did not suffer needlessly and her death was quick, despite the emotional anguish that she had suffered. Gwen did not like to kill, killing only when she had to as she preferred to let others do the dirty work. She did not like the idea of compromising herself but in this case it was best to take care of it. After all, Sara had tried to upstage her and then refused her punishment. She had offended her in front of all the others. This was personal. Her escape could have resulted in everyone knowing about the secret as well as undermining her leadership. She had to be disposed of quietly. Sara was still on the cave’s floor looking like a dislocated doll. Rigor mortis or the stiffening of the body had not occurred yet. Both women were looking at the fresh corpse but only one of them was still in shock, Joanna.
“You killed her. How could you! She was ready to submit.”
“No she wasn’t, and you know it quite well. The only solution was to eliminate her. Only in that way could the secret be protected. We all said the words, all pledged the oath of secrecy. She was going to break that oath sooner or later.”
“You don’t know that, you just killed her!
Gwen approached Joanna quickly and when she was within striking distance let fly a backhand that caught her squarely on the cheek. Joanna immediately put her hands up in a defensive posture expecting a barrage of hits but none came. Gwen then put her hand in Joanna’s hair and holding her tight, brought her head to her ear. “Get a grip on yourself. I had to do what I had to do. I know now that you would not have done it because you’re too soft. That’s why I am the head guardian and you’re not!”
Joanna was still rubbing her cheek from the sting of the blow and was now sobbing quietly. Gwen finally let go of her hair and went to the lifeless body of Sara.
“Now stop this and come help me with her. Take her by the feet.” Gwen took the corpse by the shoulders while Joanna after some reluctance did as she was told. They dragged the corpse near one of the holes that could be found in the cave and then swung it inside, with the body making a low thud as it struck the bottom. Evidently that hole was not bottomless.
“Are you sure that no one will find her?” asked Joanna. She was still quite nervous about the whole affair. “I mean, if someone finds her they might be able to trace the murder back to you.”
Gwen smiled at Joanna. “You forget my dear that as an accomplice you are as guilty as I. But quit worrying, no one will find her. Yes, they might search for her but she will never be found. Let’s get out of here now that darkness has fallen.”
They rapidly left the cave and down the ruins they went walking back towards their hotel at an easy pace. No one was saying much. Joanna was still letting in the reality of the situation dawn on her; she was an accomplice in a murder. Gwen was right, by going along with the plan and getting rid of the corpse she was as guilty as if she had been the one that had strangled Sara. There was no going back now. If she ever went to justice she would be found guilty. Perhaps she could plead that she had no choice, that she feared for her safety. Maybe a sympathetic jury would find her guilty of the lesser charges, but she would still do time.
Gwen on the other hand was not saying much, pointing the way here and there to Joanna so she could follow her. They walked in a nonchalant way as if they had exited from a restaurant or a movie theatre but they had just killed another human being. It weighed heavily on the conscience of Joanna but for Gwen it was survival of the fittest. She had pledged an oath to protect the secret from being divulged and that is what she had done, protecting the secret from prying eyes and ears. Sara knew the consequences of her flight and she must have known deep down that her rebellion would cost her dearly and that she would have to pay the ultimate price. They slowly entered the city, with Gwen going back to her hotel and Joanna getting back in her car and leaving town.
“I will contact you later on with further instructions.” Gwen said. Joanna nodded but said nothing and speedily left the area. Gwen looked at the car that sped away and hoped for Joanna’s sake that she could pull herself together.
Gwen decided to go back to her hotel and reflect on the current state of events. The secret was still safe, mainly because she had taken swift and decisive action. But she had had to compromise herself. And what about Joanna? She did not like her reaction to the murder. She looked more and more like a weak link in the chain of defending the secret. Yes, she benefited from the secret, but her conscience might torture her to the point that she might come clean to someone or worse, she might go to the police. Perhaps she ought to give instructions that Joanna be taken out. Yes she thought, eventually she must be taken out like Sara.