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Monday, July 23, 2007

A Distant Echo Of Dark Shadows (Con't)



In another realm of this same world, a lone car drove up the narrow potholed ridden road that was in no better that that of a simple cow road. The potholes and bumps made the twin headlights bob up and down in the darkest hour before dawn like that of two wayward stars lost in the night. The road was riddled with potholes and so muddy in places that the car would bog down to its rusted wheel wells and the harsh whining of the spinning tires now echoed through out the quiet dawn. Mud was thrown up in great heaves of missiles that showed no mercy on the tiny blue rusted out fenders of the Toyota Tercel that were rapidly filling with mud as the car bounced up and down in the centre of the road. A lone marker on a weathered post loomed up on the left-hand side of the road; the headlights caught the peeled paint of the sign, and the bold black lettering brilliant with the rain that had slicked the surface like a thin coat of oil. The large board still hung from the rusty nail that had been there forever it seemed. The sign was chipped and worn and the paint cracked, but the words were still legible, Heritage Road 1066AD. This road had been dated back to at least that of the Middle Ages, some thousand years to the past or older than that some surmised. Onward the little blue car drove; like Goliath and David, David being the little blue car that could and Goliath being that of the mud and rain that England was famous for. Although the rain had stopped only a short while ago; in fact the storm was just approaching that of the not too distant shoreline to the west. The windshield wipers were thwapping keeping perfect time with that of the whirring of the spinning tires; the driver inexperienced with the mud and potholes was being bounced all over the road. Droplets of mud spattered against the windshield making lazy drawn out lines across the glass with each new passing. The headlights now glowed like eyes as they drifted gently in and out of the dangerous curves in the road. Deep ditches lined both sides of the road; the headlights like a snake’s eyes slithering across the land as the car turned each corner or curve. This twisting road would lead to the parking lot and the dig site that had been waiting for the tourists to arrive with their American dollars, of course the beginners would never be allowed to the serious areas at the top of the hill. These dollars were needed to keep the archaeologists in funds for the dig, computers, shovels, even food; anything needed for an expedition. The small campground was near the parking lot of the dig site, only a short jaunt up a narrow road that was perhaps used by those that had lived here a thousand or more years ago. There were young trees planted on the sides of the road that would take lifetimes to grow back to the once natural splendour of forest and grooves and woods that went as far as the eye could see; was now mostly barren landscape cleared for cattle and sheep. There was little here now to guard against the serious erosion that had taken place over centuries, the trees were barely ten feet in height most of the rich soil now forever lost. The little blue dented Toyota went onward into the dark morning hour; the radio crackled and was so full of static that there was no hint of music or human voice. The tiny rental car drove up the last of the mud bogged cart road; the storm was headed inland and the storm surge as well as all near by streams had become raging torrents of rivers, and rivers seemed to have now become a sea of muddied water. Trees jutting out of its angry frothing waters. The only high ground was the hillside; other wise flat ground as far as the eyes could see. Jessica Micheal’s rental car drove with all the care she had, but the car was still sliding haphazardly as if it had a mind and will of its own. She never knew the storm was approaching; the storm of storms was quickly sweeping inland.

At least here she could drive up the centre of the road, thought Jessica Micheals; the right-hand drive was not as easy as it first had appeared. On the way here while she drove on the dark and deserted highway from the small airport Sabastian Landing and then onto the last cafe before she left the highway she nearly had three head on collisions, each time the wheel had been miraculously righted. Right. Left. Who cared? Apparently some did as they blasted their shrill horns which had brought deep growls from Abernathy and a length of foul curses from her lips that would have made any sailor blush and turn away. Jessica had also used the international hand signal to those that had irked her; rudely flicking up her middle finger at the opposing vehicles and their drivers.

In the backseat of this little blue car a large Black Labrador named Abernathy sprawled himself over the entire length of the torn seat covers. Jessica looked into her rear view mirror to check on the large loveable dog that had been with her since she finished college. Also in her mirror she could see the fine red line of dawn cresting the eastern horizon, such a beautiful sunrise, she was glad that she had not missed this! And of course there was Abernathy drooling over her new burgundy outdoors coat, conveniently used as his personal pillow. Nice! But how she loved him and was very happy that Abernathy could join her on this vacation. Up until only recently, there were no pets allowed to travel over seas without cruelty to the pet; the examinations, the shots, more examinations. Now all that was needed was a clean bill of health for at least three years back, Abernathy had been healthy since she got him as a puppy from her father when she left for college ten years ago. Of course Jessica would not have come if her beloved Abernathy was not allowed to travel, but he was and now they were both here. Besides that Abernathy was one of the first to go across the Atlantic on the Concorde under this new legislation.

The dawning sky took the fine red line and stretched that thin red line the entire expanse of the eastern horizon, the ominous looking clouds gave a distinct dark reddish purple contrast to their billowing folds. The clouds came from the west and the ocean. The storm of storms was rolling in with a hell bent fury of its own; the waves of any given nearby water way seem to be pushed up and surged slowly forward onto the surrounding flat farming lands.

Jessica was a little cool in her men’s dark green flannel work shirt; she preferred the softness of the material against her skin than that of silk, satin or lace. Men’s clothes were the best for comfort but her look gave something to be desired. The heater in the rental car did not work most of the time and when it did the warm air was damp and musty. Not to forget the jeans she wore had no knees left in them, just the way she liked them; only now were they right to wear. Jessica did not care if those at the small airport or cafe had boldly stared at her attire; she was not running in a popularity contest. Jessica Micheal’s wished to hunt relics, and ball gowns were defiantly not the call of the day. She had never bothered sewing the holes in the knees of her jeans nor would they ever see a stitch. Jessica was a nurse by trade in the busiest Boston Hospital; the busy ER gave her little time to sew at home. Besides she was sewing all day long, closing this wound or that one. So she never picked up a thread and needle at home. Never. The long hours of dedication to this career made up for no real man in her life. All the men she had ever dated were losers with a capital L, they only wanted one thing and expected sex after the first dinner. The man buys dinner and you’re the dessert whether or not you wanted to be or not. Jessica shook her head; this vacation was her long deserved repast from her busy career, her family and from her life. Here no one knew her and she could become a relic adventurer in search of some long forgotten key to the past. How exciting!

Whirrr.. Whirrr...

Jessica looked back into her rear view mirror; her plain reflection stared back, but her eyes were her most striking feature, the colour of deep dark green emeralds. Her father had told her this on many occasions when she was a child; she was his ugly duckling awaiting to be the swan. She was still waiting for this beautiful swan to appear. Jessica turned away, she need not look at the rest of herself, and she knew herself by heart including the lengths of unruly rust red brown hair. The thick hair would even defy the most braids she could tightly wind. Jessica was forever pushing away the stray strands of her hair that had escaped the braid or pony tail; she pushed the unruly strands back behind her ear.

Her fellow nurses and medics were always teasing her to get that unruly mane of hair cut off if it bothered her so much. No. Never. No matter how many times she tended to complain, she would never cut the unruly mane of hair. Her long hair was the only feature that softened her face, she thought. Jessica had always thought her self to be on the normal side of the weight scale, but she had not checked for real in years. But her tall height hid the extra weight she thought she carried. One thing that was for certain she was very plain by today's standard of unrealistic values on the human body.

Jessica squinted out form behind the mud-streaked windshield the road ahead was no better than what she had been driving on for the last hour. Her eyes poured over the dangerous bumps and potholes in the road, Jessica was not sure if this little blue car would make the last stretch of the journey, this road was lethal. As she drove onward the absence of cars and tour buses struck her as odd. Not since leaving the highway and turning down this road had she seen another soul. No one. The Boston Tour Company, BTC had assured her that this would indeed be the vacation of a lifetime for her, not! People were to be coming from all over the world to have a peek into the past and take a crash course on Archaeology, but there was no one here. Jessica had hoped to meet others like herself, but it did not look as though she would meet even the oldest scruffiest of diggers. Looking around as she drove, she thought that perhaps the others were probably waiting out the storm in the last township she had passed just before the turnoff. She should have stopped, but she was hell bent on getting here. See what happens when one is rushed they do not pay attention to fine details. Besides they should all be back by light, the day did not look as though it was to be too horrible. She glanced back to Abernathy and his soft brown eyes glaring at her, the haze in his eyes gone now that the tranquilizer had mostly worn off. She had to laugh out loud.

“I promise not give you any more surprises Abernathy. I promise.” She looked out to the road that now had opened up to the large empty parking lot, the white lime lines there had almost disappeared into the mire. “I know that I took the correct turnoff. I know that for sure because of the marker on the road had also been plainly drawn out on the map. I wonder Abernathy were everyone has gone off to? Perhaps there is an information board somewhere? Bet we’ll find exactly what we are looking for there.” Jessica was always optimistic about these things.

Jessica rolled slowly through the empty parking lot; there was not a soul in sight, and she felt odd. But not afraid as she rolled through the parking lot to the far side. A long information board loomed up at the far end of the parking lot the coloured pamphlets fluttering on the breeze. And then the tires began to spin out in the watery mire; Jessica hit the gas pedal and the engine roared to life.
And then the tires grabbed.

Whirrr.... Whirrr.. Whirrr..

The tires grabbed to well; Jessica had to slam both feet on the brakes to stop just short of hitting the post holding up the information board. She was so close to the post that she could see the slivers of wood poking out and the thick trailing green moss. The windshield wipers were still going twapp twapp and the engine still whirred while idling as Jessica trembled slightly behind the wheel. Both hands rested on the wheel; her knuckles white from both the fright and the tightness of her death like grip. She looked back into the rear view mirror at Abernathy, he was all right. Again like before the wheel had jerked out her hands and righted itself, minus stomping on the brake pedal. Abernathy was not amused at this latest show of events; Abernathy had been rudely tossed unceremoniously onto the dirty dark blue carpet that covered the floor boards.

“I am so sorry Abernathy,” her tone dripping with sweetness as she begged for his forgiveness. “The tires grabbed and I nearly end up getting us both killed.” Jessica shook her head and rested her forehead against the cold steering wheel; her fingers still held the wheel in a secure death grip the whites of her knuckles screaming out with their sheer brightness. The dashboard lights glowed green causing a ghoulish illumination. After a moment she composed herself enough to raise her head and look out to the information board, the windshield was so streaked she could hardly see. The information board post was just touching her front bumper of her rental car. The signboard was long enough and surely heavy enough to have possibly crushed the car and the occupants inside. Her and Abernathy.

Jessica looked through the muddy haze on the windshield; the morning was not going to get much brighter she now thought as she looked to the dark evil clouds rolling in from the west. Damn! She wished the stupid radio worked, Jessica wondered how bad the storm was actually going to be? Jessica undid her seatbelt her hands still trembled slightly at such a close call. At least the rain was holding off for a while longer, she thought to herself. Jessica left the tiny compact car still running, she had to use the illumination of the head lights so that she could see and read whatever pamphlet pertained to her and her tour group 31A. As she opened the door Jessica could plainly see that there were a number of leaflets missing, perhaps they flew away with the wind? Strange, thought Jessica as she had opened the door to find out that in fact there was no wind, not even a breeze. Yet the leaflets had been fluttering. Strange.
Once she had gotten out of the blue compact car Jessica gave her long legs a good stretch. She looked down to hiking boots; she was now ankle deep in the rich brown mud. Jessica closed the door; Abernathy did not need to get dirty unless she planned to stay. And of course she knew she was going to, stay that is. Coming all this way was one thing, but to spend four thousand dollars and leave once here because A: no one around or B: there was no way she was listening to the first of the two. She would at least stay one night before returning to that town feeling somewhat defeated. The mud was relentless as it sucked down at her hiking boots, but she finally got in front of the little car. Luckily she had just missed hitting the thick post. Jessica shivered and damned herself for forgetting her coat, which was conviently still under Abernathy now that he had crawled up in to the back seat again. Rubbing her arms with her somewhat warm hands, Jessica looked over the available pamphlets and colourful leaflets. Some only had shreds of paper dangling from their shiny brass tacks, like wayward ribbons billowing in the breeze, still odd though that she herself could not even feel a hint of wind. Plucking another long unruly tendril from her eyes and she pushed the strands behind her left ear.

Of course gone was the warning that the site had been declared unsafe, the recent logging had loosened the soil to that of dangerous mudslides. Gone also was the paper in red telling all to avoid the hill side beyond the pegged border lines, already part of the hill side had slipped and recovered the back part of the hill and most of the ruins that had been recently dug up. The dig was abandoned due to severe weather conditions, the red flag warning had long since floated away on the wind.

Jessica looked up to the sky, the clouds had only lightened a tad, and they were still black and threatening to pour rain at any given moment. But her mind was made up and she was rather of the stubborn variety. Jessica took a deep breath, the air was cleaner here, crisper almost alive.

Finding nothing that related her tour group Jessica went back to the tiny blue rental car. She made her way back to the drivers’ door and opens it, she did not care about the mud clinging to her boots and besides why should she care? It was a rental car after all. Jessica crawled back into the driver’s seat the strong smell of stale cigarettes filled her nose; she had not noticed how intense the odour was before now. The fresh air outside must have sharpened her senses. Jessica slammed the door closed; he then reached in-between the buck seats for her coat. She gave a hard pull on the long sleeves, the majority still underneath Abernathy. She watched the glare that he sent, she smiled wickedly and gave another pull the fleece came free. And the fleece was warm with his heat, besides he did not need the extra warmth; he had a thick coat of black fur. So he would be fine. Once she had pulled the warm fleece coat over her head, the warmth in her arms returned, the air had gone cold again; she swore she saw her breath dance around her face. Now that she was warm she felt better equipped to make the decisions that needed to be made. But she had already decided had she not? Yes, she had, she thought. Jessica sat back in the uncomfortable seat; the idling engine vibrated through out the entire little car, she swore there was slow exhaust leak as well. But for some reason she did not feel that she was going to get that chance at telling off the company who rented her this sorry excuse for a car. Jessica felt like kicking the pile of rusted bolts. She closed her eyes; never did she think that this was to happen. Four thousand dollars! But she knew she could at least stay one night in the campground, it was now free; no caretakers. Her one long thick braid dug into her back, but she ignored the subtle discomfort. There was an odd emptiness to where the feeling of homesickness should have been, there was no guilt at to leaving those behind, she would see them all again. Wouldn’t she? There had always been something important missing from her life and she was never quite able to place her finger on this anomaly. Jessica did not know why her thoughts were coming unhinged. Jessica was not worried at being alone in the campsite even though she was in another country, but that made no difference. Her cousin Helen had had a very early breakfast with her just after leaving the small airport. So she should fear nothing after the surprise gift from her unpredictable cousin. Love her and curse her all in the same breath, she thought.

The cafe that they had stopped at was open twenty four hours a day, a rare commodity in this country. They talked while they ate, about what Jessica was doing in the mud digging for lost dishes and stuff. Jessica had to put her cousin in her place, but it was not done with cruelty, Jessica was not that kind of person.

And when the meal was finished, cousin Helen paid, her husband a high finance lawyer; Jakob Westinghouse. The man gave the woman everything. But to Jessica that man denied her older cousin the love and companionship, in return for his absence he buys her whatever her heart desires. This year she wanted a SUV of some kind, she got brand new silver BMW instead. Her cousin had become reckless for attention that was why she took a chance at giving her the gun.

“Here Jessica take this,” Helen held out a linen wrapped object out to her younger cousin, her teeth flashed a perfect smile. “You can return this to me when you come back this way in two weeks little cousin. Please take it, you may or may not need it, but at least you shall know that it is there if you need it. You never know with young pretty woman like yourself.” Again the older cousin smiled, her eyes sparkled with hints on unknown mischief.

Jessica had taken the object into both her outstretched hands, by the weight she knew her older cousin had given her a gun. One of the very heathen things that brought innocent children maimed or worse to her ER, day in, day out. Part of the main reason on why she needed this vacation so much, she was on the verge of burning out from over work. And possibly from caring too deeply about those she treated in the ER. But, before she could reply, her cousin Helen had jumped directly into her silver BMW. And was smiling and shaking her finger at her through the glass, the light above them shimmered as the light hood was shaken violently by a strong gust of wind. The loud rattle made her jump in the quiet dark hour in the early morning. Jessica watched as the other woman drove away in the light rain that just started, she watched until she could no longer see the flashy silver sports car’s break lights glowing like that of cat’s eyes trailing away in the distance. Not one other car on the lonely highway, just endless darkness. After that Jessica popped the trunk and buried the linen wrapped gun deep into the very bottom of her backpack, and then she slammed the trunk lid closed. The dented Toyota was a trash can next to the sleek sports car, but it was cheap and available; she then jumped into the drivers’ seat and drove non stop for three hours. Two hours on the highway and one on this cow cart road, only to find this! How could anything get worse than this, she was on vacation and should not be dealing with anything worse than a broken nail or bummed knee. This was defiantly not what was depicted in the brochure that she all but sold her very soul for.

3 comments:

Djierke said...

I have only managed to get through the first paragraph. The temptation to keep reading is almost overpowering but work beckons. I will return again m'lady. I am drawn to you. You are forever mine.
~Dirk

Djierke said...

Almost caught up...now that you have permitted me some time to myself. Fascinating journey indeed, and if my eyes didn't complain, I would read it again and again.
Love
~Dirk

Djierke said...

My assignment is finally done. I am now ready for the next installment. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but my curiosity paid dividends when it brought me you. There is nothing more that I want but the warmth of your body beside me...(and a BMW of course, I'll take the blue one please...*grins*)
~Dirk

That's Life

That's Life
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The Master Of Her Domain

The Master Of Her Domain
There is One for everyone. The Master of my Domain is the axis in which my world spins. There shall only be but One. Among men and women, those in love do not always announce themselves with declarations and vows. But they are the ones who weep when you're gone. Who miss you every single night, especially when the sky is so deep and beautiful, and the ground so very cold......