Friday, 4 October 2013

Never Go Back

“...but that’s the one place in the world where she’s not going to be. It’s five years since we missed her when she ran... Yes, fair enough, I missed her, but the fact remains... Yes... It’s just, if we have a new location, perhaps I should go there. Make amends so to speak... No. of course I’m not defying you, Sir... Yes, I understand perfectly. I’ll be there by this evening.”


Stone’s breath was clearly visible and the windows were starting to mist over. To start the engine and un-fog the glass or to sit here freezing outside a building he would soon no longer be able see? Not that he needed to see it. He knew it like his own reflection. He’d even been back a few times, reflecting on his first visit.
He checked again that the interior light switch in the rental car was off before getting out. She wouldn’t come back.
Before the wind stole their warmth away, Stone thrust his hands deep into the pockets of his heavy winter coat. The hammer of the revolver had caught on the hole in the lining he kept forgetting to patch. He fingered the small piece of polished tigers eye. His lucky charm. Stone’s stone.
The sounds of footsteps carried clear and sharp in the icy night air.
An uneven rhythm.
Drunk? No.
Moving slowly, cautiously.
He took a step back into the shadow of a high Yew hedge and waited, still.
As she came level with his position he saw her head sweep from side to side, a precaution severely limited by the Pashmina that shrouded her head and shoulders. But he didn’t need to see her face.
His hand on her shoulder spun her around and she teetered on her heels, before grabbing his other arm for support. The gun’s weight thumped against his thigh. He didn’t need the gun with her.
“Hello Diana.”
“Get in the car – now.”
He bundled her in, offering her the seatbelt, and watching her buckle it. He flipped the kiddie lock and slammed the door.
He drummed his fingers on the wheel as the heater cleared the screen, sneaking sideways glances at her. He roared away as soon as he had a decent circle of vision, even if he had to hunch to see through it.
“Shut up!”
“Do you still have it?”
“I mean it! Shut up!” His glare convinced her and she subsided.
Out of town, he turned the car onto a narrow farm road. He drove slowly, both because of the icy surface, and because he had switched to side lights and didn’t want to light up the brake lamps.
“Where are we going?”
We aren’t going anywhere. I’m going back to the main road. After I’ve crashed and burned this car.”
He stopped, facing the ditch at a sharp bend.
“Are you stupid? Why the hell did you come back? Here, of all places?”
“I had to...”
“...there was always going to be me, or someone like me, waiting for you. I told you that... last time. And yes, it’s in my pocket. Always.”
He turned her chin towards him and kissed her.
She pulled back.
“But the call said you were here, but in trouble. Big trouble.”
“Call? What call?”
The cough of an engine and flare of full headlights pinned them to their seats.
“Keep your hands where I can see them, if you please, Mr Stone.”
He grabbed for to his pocket and cursed the snagged hammer as gun refused to come free. He heard a stone drop into the foot well just as the windscreen crazed. The echoes of two shots chased each other into the night.

 “Yes, Sir... Both of them... If you recall, at the time I suspected... Yes, Sir... We’ll take care of it... Oh, a crash on a slippery road and a fire, I fancy, Sir.”

654 words

This story was written for Jeff Tsuruoka's Mid-Week Blues Buster #33 and was inspired by this week's track 'Missing' by Everything But The Girl
The story received an Honourable Mention from judge @ang_writes, who said
"My honourable mention is 'Never Go Back' for getting Bang Bang by Nancy Sinatra stuck in my head. (Nick Johns)"

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