THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACK

 
 

By Carol Sandford

 
 

Chapter 04

 
 

It sounded different tonight. Dee strained her ears against the sounds from behind her for the sound that she only wanted to hear; The buzz. Only tonight it was more. Tonight it sounded like...she pursed her lips as she tried to connect the sound with an object...a plane. Less than an annoying blue bottle and more like a plane. Whoever it was down there was trying to get a plane in the air.

She listened to the comforting sound as it raced up and down the stretch of the valley, back and forth, back and forth. Dee’s heart soared along with the knowledge that whoever was down there must have been feeling that same elation as she, and the engine sound changed again, she realised that the machine had left solid ground and was now airborne. He had done it.

Flying...Dee had never considered flying. Oh, she’d seen the pictures, she had heard the stories and the future whimsical ideas of reaching the moon one day, but aeroplanes were still pretty new, so most of those ideas were simply dreams. But what a dream.

Dee stared up at the night sky, at the stars as they twinkled just out of reach as the soothing throaty sound of the engine continued to purr in the darkness, until suddenly, everything came to land with a sickening jolt.

Dee held her breath as she heard the splutter, but seconds later, breathed a sigh of relief when the familiar noise continued. But her relief was short lived when moments later, everything went silent. The chirp of the crickets, the feint whoosh of distant cars, even the air seemed to go silent until it came; the sickening crunch of metal hitting dirt, over and over. One didn’t have to see it to know that the machine had tumbled on and on after the impact.

Dee flew to her feet as she futilely searched the starlit dimness. Every nauseating thought raced through her mind as her heart pounded in her chest. Was he hurt, was he laying down there wounded, maybe badly. Was he alone, did he need her to get help...Was he alive?

She didn’t know what to do, but she knew she had to do something. But what? But as she was racing the question through her frantic mind, the image of the vehicle sitting in her mothers drive loomed before her. Before she gave herself the chance to change her mind, Dee raced home.

The house was in darkness except for the front porch light and the tiny lamp that glowed softly in her bedroom waiting for her to sneak in like she did most evenings. But that was the least of her concerns. She had one goal; the keys that were hanging in the kitchen on a hook. Tiptoeing across the cold stone tiles, Dee gingerly took the keys into her shaking fingers and tiptoed back out of the house.

Taking a huge calming breath, Dee slipped behind the wheel of her mothers pride and joy, silently thanking her for parking it so that it could be driven straight out. Familiarising herself with the controls once more so that she could gun the engine and leave immediately, Dee readied herself for one of the most daunting challenges of her life. Because not only was it the fourth time that she had actually driven a car, she had to venture out past her own personal boundary; out to no mans land, in the dark for a someone she had never met. It was truly a journey into the unknown.

*******

Going at a snails pace to the edge of town, Dee crunched and shunted the car until she reached a point on the open road where she could relax her vice like grip on the steering wheel and pick up speed a little. Drawn by an inner force, Dee ploughed on mile after mile as the dark empty void that spread out before her seemed never ending.

Using the distant shadowy outline of the hills as her guide, Dee managed to keep her route until at last, she finally spied an odd shape in the bright headlights of her car. Not daring to go any nearer in case he had been thrown clear, or if there were any sharp pieces of debris scattered around, Dee slowed the car to a shuddering halt and scanned the area around her, but it was too dim to make anything out other than the mangled wreck that sat in the headlights wide beam.

Her heartbeat pounded in her ears as she summoned the courage to step from the safe confines of the car to the unexpected outside.*God, I hope he’s not too mangled, I can’t stand the sight of blood.* she muttered to herself.

Taking a huge breath, Dee stepped out of the car, but jumped back in when the car moved slightly. Pulling hard of the handbrake, she chuckled nervously, but at least it lightened the tense moment. A mixture of fear and trepidation raged through her as she hesitantly stepped towards the tiny aeroplane. But as she got nearer she could see its fragility, the flimsy wing frame, which lay shattered into numerous pieces around her like a torn butterfly wing, and the machines axle had clearly snapped as one wheel stuck out at an awkward angle. But it was the still figure in the seat that Dee could not steal her eyes away from.

Dee felt like she had jumped a mile in the air as the figure suddenly sparked into life and lurched from the tangle of framework and landed in an ungainly heap on the ground. An almighty ’Humph!’ fell from his mouth followed by a spluttering cough as he choked on the billowing mass of dust as his large bulk hit the dried out earth.

Dee made her way cautiously over to his body and knelt down on one knee beside him. Her hand hovered over the top of him unsure of what to do. He still had his leather helmet on and his goggles, along with a thick bulky flying jacket. His now mostly black silky scarf lay draped in the dust and it was that that Dee moved first before finally finding her voice. "Are...are you okay?"

Dee watched the man attempt to raise his hand to his face, but it fell back amongst the dust. It was then he uttered his first words and Dee felt herself grow warm as the rich baritone voice sent a ripple of anticipation through her. "Goggles...please."

Dee studied his face before she gently eased the plastic frames from his face. His face was dirty, really dirty, a mixture of black grease and dust. She couldn’t decide whether he had the healthy start of a beard or just couldn’t be bothered to shave. Kneeling over, Dee removed the goggles and sat back on her haunches as the man blinked rapidly before covering his eyes with a shaky hand. Dee was instantly scared for him.

"What’s wrong with your eyes, can’t you see?"

"Yeah, I just got some oil in them, I need a clean rag and some water."

Dee looked around her, before his voice told her that he had some in the trailer, pointing vaguely with a weary arm somewhere off to her right. Dee got to her feet and began walking away from him and the wreckage, and it was several moments before she came across a mean looking motorcycle with a trailer attached behind it.

It was several minutes more before Dee located what she was searching for. Loathe to rifle through the man’s personal belongings, she picked up most things between one finger and her thumb. Everything was tainted with oil. Every canister she opened contained a chemical of some sort, and none appeared to contain water. Sniffing cautiously at the last bottle that she could see, Dee dropped it with a scream when she heard the muffled groan as the stranger collapsed to the floor just a few feet behind her.

The stranger writhed around in the dust, the grimace on his dirty face now show tiny beads of sweat and he was clearly in a lot of pain. Dee just didn’t know what to do for him. Back on her knees beside him, her tiny hands flailed above him as she questioned her inadequate thoughts as to where to check. She had never been this ’close’ to a man. Eventually she decided to try and help him sit up, and tucking her arm behind his head, Dee went to elevate him, but the low groan that slipped through his tightly closed lips soon made her change her mind.

Chastising her own stupidness for not considering that he may of had a back or a neck injury, she gently eased his head back to the ground, which emitted another agonising groan from him. *Prop his head* the words slipped into her mind and she found herself hurrying back to the trailer and grabbing the first lump of material that touched her fingers. But it wasn’t until she went to arrange the item into a pillow shape that she realised just what she was holding in her hand.

It was the leather jacket...’His’ leather jacket.

Time came to a full stop. Dee, still on her knees beside the groaning body, stared anew at the face that had been disguised by the dirt and grime. It was now that she noticed the shadowy stubble that outlined his strong jaw. It was now she noticed the tufts of dark hair that escaped the helmet.

And it was now that she saw the blue eyes that sparkled as the moonlight shone down on them, only them. Eyes that stared at her as intently as she him. Eyes that she would remember her whole life. Eyes that promised her everything. Peace, happiness...Love.

And eyes that begged for help.

*******

 
     
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