Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Long walk home

“Oh blow!” Judith snorted, she was looking from the hairdresser's window, the rain was coming down in sheets. Heavy, unseasonal and potentially destructive towards the new hairdo that was nearing completion. “I'm that this wasn't forecast, this is freaky...” She mumbled more under her breath, the assistant and the hair dresser both ignored her and carried on with a mixture of small talk, tiny talk and infinitesimal talk. She remained oblivious and cursed her luck with the weather. She'd left the car at home that morning, deciding to take a stroll, enjoy the pampering at the salon and then via a few well chosen shops and cafes meander back to the flat in time for Simon getting home. It could have been the perfect day off and day out, now Mother Nature was intervening.

She paid the bill and looked out into the gloom. “Have you an umbrella I can borrow please?” The receptionist looked up from the desk and shook her head. “Sorry duck, we don't. There's a shop two minutes to your left.” She added helpfully but in a disinterested tone. Judith thought, “Why do people even bother to try to help when they've no actual intention of being helpful? Next time I'm going to that Italian sounding place in the mall. At least I'll get back to the car dry. I'm not walking again, I'm not walking into this stupid town again.”

She took a quick look at herself in the mirror, it was a good cut, the colour tones were just right, the blow dry was sweet as a nut. She imagined Simon running his fingers through it, sniffing the clean salon smell, breathing her in, remarking on the softness. Those products they'd used with that perfume you could never quite replicate anywhere else. Simon would love this hair. Now the weather was going to spoil it all. She stood in the doorway and gingerly leaned up and down the street, trying to for a strategy, to piece together route, from here to that shop (which better bloody be there, even a Poundland would do) avoiding the rain. The shop fronts however conspired against her. No obvious shelter or refuge. People were dashing by or staying put.It was a horrid afternoon. Desperate measures were called for, like hailing down a passing stranger for help.

Judith began to look for strangers. Most were some way of, all walking the comical way people do when avoiding rain, stepping across puddles, trying to make themselves small, stretching umbrellas across two or three people or a baby carriage. None of the techniques seemed to be working. Judith looked up at the sky, a dark brooding mass of grey cloud like the Throne of Odin was gathered up across the town – doing it's business on everything. No kind stranger was headed her way. Then, apparently from nowhere, lights blazing and reflecting in the wet asphalt there came a long, black Mercedes. It mounted the pavement a few yards down the street and came to a halt right outside the salon and a few feet away from Judith. A rear door opened and a voice called. “Get in Judith, get In!” Judith was puzzled, she hesitated for a moment, she didn't recognise the car or the voice but it was warm and dry inside. She took a quick step forward and in a second was inside the car, her hair still perfect.

The back seat was wide and empty, the soft tan leather melted around her. In front there was an opaque screen, the driver's head blurred by the smoked security glass. A voice emerged from the speaker system, she assumed it belonged to the driver. “Are you comfortable Judith?” “Yes I am,” said Judith, “now tell me who are you and how do you know my name?” “That's a very good question Judith...” The car door closed and the locks snapped on as the car drove off, lights still blazing and splashing through the rain and roadside puddles and was gone in flash. The hairdresser receptionist saw the whole thing through the shop window and nobody else ever saw Judith again.

The receptionist was doing her nails when the police came. She wasn't chewing gum but she spoke as if she was. Her face an odd mix of dull expression and a comic, made up coloured mask. “She stood outside for a minute, I think she was a bit worried about her hair. Then this big black car pulled up, I just thought that she was a bit posh, you know, she'd called up her car or taxi.” The policeman said nothing. “Funny though,” continued the girl, when that car came along the power in here just blipped, the till went off and then all zippy, my computer screen blanked and my phone's still not right. Funny like.”

Back at the station the report was typed up, usual format, usual detail. Detective Inspector Ian McDonald read through it and placed it back on the pile, the flat screen went back to sleep as he eyed himself and whispered to his reflection in the office window opposite. “How big is this bloody universe, how hungry and greedy are these people?” He looked down at the report title. 2012/08/25. 14:35. Incident report. UK Time Travel Kidnap Case No.353a Warwick High Street, Warwickshire.

No comments:

Post a Comment