Thursday, April 26

Wheels on Fire


I was walking past the construction site.

A man was leaning against the wall. He stared at me as I went past, then walked to his car, a Peugeot 205, old and grey, parked up on the opposite side of the car park. I paid him no attention. My thoughts were tired. I was nearly home and looking forward to getting out of the bluesy rain that tapped on the streets like a lazy Fred Astaire.

The car started its engine, and I moved towards the side of the road, closer to the building site, to let it pass. It pulled out of the parking space, and crawled towards me, moved to be just behind me. But it didn't go past me. Instead it kept pace with me as I walked, always just a few feet behind.

I turned to face the driver. He was staring straight ahead, dressed in an old grey suit, his hair balding. He seemed not to have noticed me.

I stopped; the car stopped tool as if it was attached to me be some unseen force.

The driver was still looking straight ahead, immobile, as if he were just another part of the vehicles mechanics. The engine was running, but the wheels was glued to the ground as if they had never had any intention of moving. I waved him past. He didn’t notice, or at least made no effort to drive on. So I started walking again.

I’d got about five steps when the headlights on the car flickered on, illuminating me in a circle of light, like an actor under the spotlight. The engine was revving into life. I turned, squinting against the lights and saw the driver head on. A flash of recognition ran through my skull and tried to find something to link too.

The car was growling, the engine roaring. He reached down, released the handbrake and the rear wheels began to spin.

I jumped out of the way just in time. The car crashed through the metal fences around the building site and skidded to a halt. The driver, fuming with rage, threw the car into reverse. There could only be one reason he was here. I checked my coat pocket, making sure the PDA was safe. He would never get the files.

He reversed the car out of the fences at a suicidal speed, skidded the vehicle around to face me and slammed it back into drive. He was revving the engine again, playing with the accelerator like a volume control, building my fear with a crescendo of noise.

I began to run, not daring to look back. The brake was released; there was the screech of rubber on tarmac as the tires hit the road. He was accelerating towards me. The door to my flat was suddenly in front of me, a few feet away. I reached for my keys, fumbling to find the right one. The car was getting closer, biting at my feet like a dog on my trail.

I hit the door running, forced the key in the lock, and turned. The car sped towards me, as if he intended to bring the whole apartment block down. Then the flat door flew open, I fell into the hallway and he turned the wheel sharply right. The car went into a skid, its left side bouncing off the building spitting off stale sparks into the night. The sound of shredding metal went ripping through the air. And I was safe.

And then I was inside the hallway, out of breath, panting. The car that had pulled out of the parking space was driving slowly past my front door, undamaged, the driver careful and slow. From behind the wheel the late-middle-aged man, a normal person coming home from a normal day job, looked at me in confusion, trying to work out why I’d just ran to my front door in a morbid fear the second he started his engine.

Sometimes I let my imagination run away with me.

And so I entered my flat, changed out of my wet clothes and spent another night living my sleepy little existence.

And outside the skies burst open and the rain poured down in its torrents, drowning out the drama of the world around me, and washing the smell of burning rubber out into the night.

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Webmiztris said...

lmao! I get a little crazy like that when I'm home alone at night. I can convince myself that any noise is someone trying to break into our house to kill me...LOL!

Amazing Gracie said...

This is what happens to a generation raised on Stephen King!
Great writing skills on your part, too!

Angelika said...

You're insane.

But it was a very exciting post! I was on the edge of my seat at the same time I was thinking "Did I miss something? This seems too crazy to be true."

You gave me a headache from the tension, LOL.

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