There must have been a precursor to this scene. Let's backtrack.
It's cold and dark in these streets and Bella and George Black are just leaving the corner shop, a plastic bag hanging off Bella's wrist. They are both wrapped up like fragile things at Christmas and the wind hisses against their cheeks. She bends down to face her little son, and he clutches her hand with his gloved one and shivers.
"Are you okay?" She asks, and he nods. She smiles and kisses him on the nose, stands up, pulls her phone out and checks it. There's one's new message and she opens it quickly. It's from Jacob, and it has seven words inside it. You can come home now. They've gone.
She sighs, squeezes the little hand tight and tells him they're going home. He says good and stretches his arms up to her. She bends down and picks him up, the plastic bag slipping down to her elbow. He rests a tired head on her shoulder and she kisses his coat hood. "Did you have fun with Jenny?" she asks, and he mumbles a yes. She sets off down the road, one foot in front of the other, her footsteps echoing in the quiet of the night.
The blocks of flats tower above her, huge shadows in the darkness, and the pavement ahead is lit with weak streetlamps which flicker and hum. Somewhere in the distance a siren wails, throwing itself into the air then reeling back. She curls her arms tighter around George as he fiddles with her hair.
"She made me hot chocolate," he said, his words musing their way out of his small mouth as he stares at his fingers, watching the way his mother's hair slides between them. He takes breaths in between his sentences, his speech disjointed. His eyelids are drooping. It's been a long day.
"That was nice of her."
He nods and snuggles up closer to her. "I don't like it there."
"At the café?" She asks, frowning. The plastic bag is hurting her but she doesn't move her arm because she knows he's falling asleep on her and she doesn't want to shift him. "Why?"
He yawns. "You don't like it," he says, and he yawns again. His voice is so high and fragile. He curls his hands around her neck and pressed his face against her neck. "And that man shouted at you."
She laughs, and kisses him again. "Don't worry about that. Anyway, you can go straight home tomorrow. Daddy said he'll pick you up from school."
George nods again, and mumbles something indecipherable as sleep clouds his brain and his breathing slows. Bella winces as the plastic bag swings around her arm. She shivers, glancing up at the black sky and walking quickly under the orange glow of a streetlamp.
Her phone vibrates again and she swears quietly, glancing down at the small bundle of coat and scarf wrapped around her, and stops. She rests the bag on the pavement and pulls her mobile from her pocket. It's Jake again, and she opens it quickly.
If you're on jubilee road for god's sake run
Her blood freezes and she glances around. It's completely silent but experience has taught her that complete silence is not to be trusted. She picks up the plastic bag quickly and hurries along down the road. George wakes up as she speeds up, and he glances up, opens his eyes wide. "Mummy-"
"Ssh," she whispers. He closes his mouth and his eyes and presses his face into her shoulder. He's played this scene before.
Then, like a death toll, a rumble of a car vibrates through her ears. It's distant but growing closer, and she can feel her heart pumping faster. "Mummy-"
"Please, George." And she runs faster as the rumble of the engine sounds louder, and she's biting her lip, flat out running now. The growling engine is suddenly clear, like someone opened a window on the noise, and she searches desperately ahead for a gap, an alley, a large bin-
And then the street about is lit up with car headlamps and she can hear voices coming from inside the dreaded vehicle. George tightens his small fists around her shoulders and she can feel him crying. She wraps her arm as tight around him as she can.
And she can hear the car just behind her now, slowing down, voices echoing into the night. She runs as fast as possible and does not look behind her, does not even glance; she spots an alleyway ahead and sprints towards it, just turning inside as the car levels with them.
A shout of discovery, "Mummy!"-
-and the bang of a gun.
She doesn't stop running but panic drowns her body in a wave as George screams out into the night.