Following on from the short story I wrote about the independence referendum in Scotland, here’s another piece of fiction. It’s loosely based on an experience I had as a young news reporter many, years ago. I’m also linking this up with the #proseforT linky.
A beautiful place to die
It was the silence that struck her first. The sound of lorries and cars thundering along the tarmac should have been deafening but nothing was passing along the road. PC 973 found the lack of noise eerie.
She’d only been in the force three months. This was the first road traffic accident involving fatalities the inexperienced constable had been summoned to deal with. The sight of the crash did not disturb her, she witnessed enough of them as a civilian. Even the sight of two corpses hadn’t bothered her too much. Police training prepared you for that.
The one thing proving hard to tolerate was the lack of noise. It was not natural for a carriageway like this to be so quiet and she found it unnerving.
The crash site was about fifty metres away from where PC973 was stood, guarding one of several road blocks established to keep the curious public away. Not that there were any people to keep away. This was a rural area and the closest town was two miles away.
The time of day was also a good deterrent. It was a late December afternoon and the bright sun was already low in a cloudless sky. The sun would soon disappear altogether taking the light with it. Rubberneckers wouldn’t get to see anything and they’d freeze if they tried, so best to stay at home and wait for reports to filter through on social media.
Despite her distance from the crash site, the pathetic, mangled wreck of the blue hatchback was clearly visible. It was crushed underneath the articulated lorry that had smashed into it. PC973 couldn’t resist looking over and staring at it from time to time.
For some reason the car’s driver had attempted to overtake a cyclist on the brow of a hill. It was a fatal error that cost not only his life but that of his wife who was in the passenger seat. There was little the lorry driver could have done to avoid the car and he had smashed straight into it, head on.
Both the lorry driver and cyclist were still on the scene. Although uninjured, the two men were in a state of shock and being treated by paramedics.
The couple in the hatchback were certified dead at the scene. Although the bodies had been retrieved from the wreckage, blood was still visible on what remained of the dashboard and seats.
In the distance, PC 973 could see other cars and lorries queuing along back roads miles away trying to find an alternative route to their destinations. Taking a a deep breath, the constable let her mind drift from the job she was meant to be doing.
She took in the countryside that surrounded her. There were ploughed fields in every direction and birds singing in the trees, a beautiful noise that would usually be drowned out by the sound of juggernauts, cars and motorbikes.
The air was crisp and unpolluted. Dusk was moments away.
A thought entered PC973’s head. It made her feel guilty. While she knew it would be horrible to meet your end in such a brutal way, she could not help thinking this was a beautiful place to die.
Copyright, first written by John L. Adams 1999. Re-written in 2002 and again in 2014. London, United Kingdom.