Kru, Finny's escort from the Diesel Town trip, got the job of driving the three kids back to Hope Springs. Easy job.
By the time they got there, however, Casper, the rear seat and quite a lot of Onetooth were covered in blood.
Finny was trying to forget everything that had happened and Kru was about ready to murder all of them.
When they had set off, in Kru's car, her only concern was that, once again, Joe had made her the designated babysitter.
Driving through New Flagstaff, Kru found herself listening to Finny's version of events that had ended up with her and Kru using the sewers to get back into New Flagstaff.
This was after being chased out of Diesel Town by a gang of criminals Joe had just ripped off.
The facts, enhanced by Finny's imagination, made for an entertaining story and it was still going on when Kru saw the gas station coming into sight as they left the city for Hope.
Because she was busy scanning the garage buildings for any threat, Kru never even noticed the storytelling suddenly stop mid-sentence.
The next thing she did know was a sudden yowl of pain from the back seat. A quick glance in the mirror revealed the same three kids sitting as they had been when they set off.
Finny behind the driver's seat, Onetooth next to her and Casper next to him.
What had changed, though, was that Casper was now desperately trying to stop the enormous flow of blood coming from his nose by using just his hands.
Onetooth was, at the same time, now sitting sideways and using his feet to try and push Casper away from him while trying to avoid the blood that was being coughed and sprayed all over him,
the leather seat between them, and the back of the empty passenger seat.
Finny, meanwhile, still sat silently on the other side of Onetooth, arms folded, staring straight ahead and totally ignoring the chaos going on next to her.
Kru pulled the car into the gas station and, instinctively drew her gun and leaned over the front seat.
"What the fuck?! What happened?!"
Onetooth, still pushing Casper towards the far door with his feet, filled her in.
"Finny smacked him on the nose."
Kru's attention was momentarily fixed on the mess being smeared and ground into her upholstery by Onetooth's feet. It took a second or two for her to react. She stared at Finny.
"Why did you smack him on the nose?"
Finny was still working that out, so she just shrugged.
Kru, normally an expert at sizing up a situation and then acting professionally and, above all calmly, lost it.
She got out of the car and, still holding her gun, opened Finny's door and dragged the nine-year-old off her seat. Then she marched Finny around to the passenger side of the car.
Kru opened the front door and unceremoniously pushed the little girl inside.
"You. Stay there and don't damn well move."
Slamming the front door shut, she then opened the other back door and pulled Casper, blood still pouring from his nose, out onto the tarmac of the gas station forecourt.
Casper's clothes were already soaked, and there was enough red claret all over his face and hands to make the gas station staff, now coming outside to see what the hullabaloo was all about,
think that a murder was in progress. Seeing Kru's drawn weapon, three-quarters of them then immediately ran back inside...
Including Bill Baily, the garage manager who had instantly recognised both her and the gun-toting pint-sized redhead from earlier in the year.
Only now slipping her gun back into its holster, Kru sat Casper down on the ground and squatted next to him.
She pushed his head forward far enough so that his chin touched his chest and then took his bloody hand and held it up to his face.
"Pinch your nose closed, hard. That's it. Breath through your mouth. Good boy. Now stay like that.
" She turned to Onetooth, who was daintily picking his way over the bloody seat to see what she was doing to his friend.
"You. Go into the shop and get ice. Tell them to put it in a bag. Be quick."
Onetooth jumped from the car and scooted off into the garage.
While he was gone, Kru got up and inspected the mess in the back of her car.
"Awww shit!" She marched over to the gas pumps and came back with an armful of waste paper. Casper lifted his head to watch.
"Head down, I said!"
Cursing children and Spivey in equal measures, Kru got down on her knees and did the best she could to mop up the blood.
But even as she was wondering how such a large amount of blood could come out of one small nose, she knew that the old, cracked,
but lovingly cared for ancient leather was never going to be the same.
Finny stared out of the front of the car at the long road meandering away towards Hope Springs. The eruption of blood that had come from Casper's nose had also been a complete surprise to Finny.
More of a surprise, however, was that she had been the cause of it. She couldn't even remember hitting him, well, not really.
Her right hand was sore, and she remembered how surprisingly soft Casper's nose had been.
But, as she sat and listened to Kru's colourful cursing behind her, she still for the life of her couldn't figure out why she had hit him.
Less than five minutes earlier.
Finny loved telling this story, it was creepy and smelly and exciting and disgusting all at once.
And it was mainly all about Kru and how they had fought their way through the sewers with Kru protecting her.
And about how Kru had made sure there were no bad guys trying to stop her when they were up on the street in the dark. And about how Kru had said that everything would be alright.
And finally, about how Kru had saved her from being shot by bashing that man over the head with a baseball bat so that all his brains leaked out...
Which was when she had noticed that Casper wasn't paying attention. Which was when she saw that Casper was watching Kru. Which was when she had stopped her story and said his name.
Which was when Casper had turned to look at her with that big soppy grin on his face. Which was when he must have seen her expression and then looked really really guilty...
Which was when she had hit him.
Back to the present.
"Ohhhh," Finny said, quietly. Finally getting it.
Onetooth turned up with a bag of crushed ice.
Kru sighed and got up off her knees. Looking down at the seat, she could see that all she had really done was spread the blood out over a wider area.
She arranged the torn paper bags and the old sheets of newspaper that a dog had pissed on over the now almost dry blood.
Then she helped Casper back into the car with strict instructions to keep his head down and his nose pinched. Once he was seated, Onetooth climbed in beside him.
Kru showed him how to hold the ice bag so that it sat over Casper's nose.
"Keep it like that. Change hands if you have to, but keep that bag in place until we get to Hope and have the doctor there take a look."
That done, Kru filled the car with gas. After paying in the shop for that and the ice and reassuring the people in there that it was just a nosebleed, Kru climbed in behind the wheel.
She looked at Finny.
"You got anything to say yet?"
Finny shook her head with short, fast movements to indicate that there was no way she had anything to say yet.
Kru considered pushing the matter, but the deepening blush and the fixed stare ahead suggested that any further questioning was a job best left for someone else.
Instead, she started the engine, and they drove in silence all the way to Hope where Onetooth then acted as navigator to take them to the quarantine house.
Everyone inside the car was very glad when the journey was over.