|The Essence - part one of three (standard:mystery, 1818 words) [1/3] show all parts|
|Author: Brian Cross||Updated: Jan 03 2009||Views/Reads: 2591/1298||Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A cyclist seeks refuge from a snow storm and encounters a strange village|
The Essence - Part one They'd been forecasting heavy weather for days but all there had been was the occasional snow flurry, so I thought I'd be safe in cycling the thirty miles or so to my friend Donna's home. Not one of my better decisions as it turned out. I was well wrapped up against the cold and being a keen cyclist a couple of hours cycling through flat fenland didn't deter me. I left my home just south of Peterborough on the edge of the fens and within thirty minutes I'd made good progress, some distance east of a village named Thorney. That's when my problems began. The snow they'd harped on about for days finally hit. Small needles at first but rapidly enlarging until it seemed that someone with a vendetta behind the layer of brown that served as sky was hurling snowballs at me. I deemed it too dangerous on the main route and veered off onto a lane running parallel. After a few minutes it veered sharply left and I found myself approaching a village whose signpost was already obscured by snow. I stopped briefly to adjust my gloves and experienced a certain unease. The rough weather was bringing an early dusk and the wind was getting ever stronger, whistling the snow into my face. Roughly half way to my destination I was too far out now to go back, but with receding prospect of getting much further forward, at least on my cycle. To my left and right the fens were plunged in white and the trees resembled beanstalk snowmen. I was approaching a corner leading to the village-with-no-name- when a Jeep covered in snow flew past me, cutting the corner, forcing me off my bike, onto the pavement and sliding towards the edge of the fields. I gathered my senses just in time to see the vehicle roaring into the village. I could just read its number plate through the snow and was determined to lodge it in my memory should I encounter the Jeep again. Pulling myself gingerly up I was shaking as much with anger as the cold. How could the driver not have seen me? The visibility might have been poor but I was a walking snowdrift. At any rate the four wheel drive was now out of sight, leaving behind a mushrooming cloud of snow. Composing myself I examined my cycle, finding nothing untoward other than a detached chain which I rectified before rejoining the road. The incident had brought home to me the folly of persisting with the cycle ride in the conditions. I was at the mercy of every nutcase on the road and there were enough of them about. The question of acquiring lodgings however was an obvious one. I knew nothing about the village I was passing through, not even its name and at first sight it didn't seem very large. Passing several smallholdings I was coming to the main street proper when a vehicle parked inside a five bar gate caught my eye. Immediately my mind connected to the Jeep which had run me off the road and sure enough the number matched it. Determined to have at least a word I dismounted and pushed my cycle across to the gate; as I did so the engine fired up and it backed into a barn in the yard. I watched as two men sprang from the front and saw a hefty bearded guy resembling a doorman grab a drill from a shelf and begin unbolting the rear number plate. Changing my position to get a better look I peered through a hedgerow directly opposite the barn entrance and saw the other guy, similar build but bald headed, unloading brown boxes. Working quickly he began stacking them at the rear of the barn. Not deeming this to be “normal behaviour” I abandoned my intentions of “having it out” with them. The big bearded one who'd removed the number plate was now replacing it with another. That was it, I'd seen enough, I just hoped there was a police station in this small village where I could report an obvious robbery; that was my intention now. Click here to read the rest of this story (144 more lines)
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