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|The Police Car (standard:drama, 1020 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Apr 09 2004||Views/Reads: 2784/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|As I drove home, I was overtaken by a speeding police car. I wondered where it could be going...|
The Police Car ©2004 Ian Hobson I wrote this for a BBC competition (1000 words max - Story to start with the words in block capitals). I'D ALMOST REACHED HOME WHEN I SAW THE FLASHING BLUE LIGHTS IN MY REAR VIEW MIRROR and heard the sudden wail of the siren. I eased my foot off the accelerator, keeping well to the left of the narrow lane, to allow the vehicle to pass. It was a police car. As it overtook, the combined strength of our two sets of headlights brightly illuminated the hedgerows and overhanging trees; and as I glanced to my right, my eyes met those of the young woman in the police car's front passenger seat. From her businesslike expression and the way her jet-black hair was tied neatly back, she was obviously a police constable – a very pretty one, though. I remembered to dip my headlights; and the driver - he looked male in silhouette – switched his lights to full beam as he sped away. I wondered where they might be going in such a hurry. A road traffic accident perhaps? It seemed unlikely; at such a late hour and with hardly anyone, except locals, using the lane. I heard the siren again and caught a flash of brake-lights before the police car negotiated the left-hand bend ahead – a little recklessly, I thought. As I switched back to full beam, a more disturbing thought/vision flashed briefly across my mind: Brewster, our German Shepherd – after bounding down the drive and into the road to meet me - being mown down by the police car. It's strange how when I take such thoughts seriously, believing that I might have actually had a premonition of some sort, they turn out to be no such thing. Yet when something brushes against my conscious mind momentarily, like a falling leaf attaching itself to a car windscreen before being swept away and forgotten; that's when the imagined event, or something like it, actually occurs. I dropped a gear as I slowed and negotiated the bend myself, imagining my wife, Sandra, hearing the siren and parting the curtains to see what was disturbing the silence. Ahead, the police car, outlined against the tunnel-like circle of its own headlight beams, grew smaller as it neared the place where it would pass the end of my driveway. But again its break-lights glowed brightly and its headlights veered to the left; and even over the sound of my own engine, I heard the screech of brakes. And as I drove on, I watched, horrified, as the car smashed into the telegraph pole that stands opposite my house, shuddering almost to a halt before cartwheeling and coming down on its roof, to the left of the pole, in a tangle of Hawthorn hedge and bramble. One headlight had been extinguished, but the beam from the remaining one met the two from my car as I braked and pulled up a few metres short of the scene. Brewster stood in the middle of the lane, his tail between his legs. He looked towards the upturned police car, and then towards mine, before turning and heading back along the driveway. My left hand was shaking as it reached for the handbrake lever, whilst my right hand seemed undecided between switching off the engine and opening the door. Suddenly Sandra was at the end of the driveway and I was out of my car and running towards the wreckage, shouting for her to phone for an ambulance. Perhaps I was foolish, as there was a strong smell of petrol and, surprisingly, the police car's engine was still turning; but in my mind was the image of the young policewoman's face as I had seen it, no more than a minute before. One side of the car was jammed tightly against the telegraph pole, so I forced my way through a clawing mass of brambles to the other. But as I stooped and looked through the side window I could see nothing but blackness and thought, at first, that the occupants might have been thrown clear. But hearing a groan from inside, I stooped lower, and realised that a piece of carpet was hanging, like a curtain, in front of the window. I tried the door, expecting it to be jammed, but, thankfully, it opened enough for me to get my shoulder against it and force it open wide enough for me to lean inside. I lifted the carpet, and pushed back what I realised was a deflated airbag, to find the young woman suspended upside down. Blood was oozing from a cut above her left eye and dripping into her hair, which was now untied and spilling across the car's upturned ceiling. I looked past her at the driver. He was trapped between the steering column and his seat, and clearly his airbag had not saved his life. From the way his head was twisted and hanging loosely, I knew he was dead. The reek of petrol fumes was now getting stronger, and a voice inside my head was screaming at me to get the woman, and myself, away from the wreckage. So I took her weight and felt for the clasp of her seatbelt, and she groaned again as she fell into my arms. She was much lighter than I expected, but it still took all my reserves of strength to lift her free and make my way back through the tangle of brambles and onto the road. I staggered towards my car and lay the woman gently in front of it, almost collapsing on top of her. Then slowly, pushing myself up from a squatting position, I turned back to face the wrecked police car, just as the spilled petrol burst into flames and the remaining fuel in the tank exploded. I was blown off my feet and fell backwards, hitting my head on the tarmac. I'm not sure how long I was unconscious, but when I came round, Sandra was leaning over me, and, from somewhere in the distance, I could again hear the wail of a siren. Tweet
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