15 December 2018

A Story Inspired by a Song by Louise Adam


guess the song
Hand, Finger, Wrist, Arm, Body, Man
clue...  ethereal man-made object?
‘I’m telling you, there was someone there.’
The looks I got veered between fascination and derision. And yet I maintained that I had seen someone walking up the run-off area alongside the track. He, I was sure a ‘he’, was walking up the side of the Armco, not rushing, but not dawdling either, up towards where I was at Post Five at the turn into Druids, the hairpin bend in the trees, the highest point on the Indy circuit at Brands Hatch race track. He wore white all over, top and bottom - white overalls, and that had made him stand out. And a white cap, like a skull cap, with a smudge on the forehead that could easily have been goggles.
To be honest, I only caught a glimpse of him. I was distracted by the sound of tyres squealing, the usual herald to a collision, and when I looked back, once the danger was passed, the figure was gone.
Fed up with the snarky looks and the rising comments of seeing things, I stood and left the table and the bar, also leaving my glass of Coke behind.
We collected there again at the end of the day, tired, happy, full of tales of idiotic drivers in beaten-up cars and how they all left their brains behind in the pits when they went out to race. A full hour over schedule, we’d finished late thanks to a bunch of Minis determined to see how many would stack one on top of the other at Paddock Hill Bend. Two was in itself impressive, but too few in some opinions. Fewer cars left on track, fewer chances they could hit each other.
This time I stayed quiet. I had seen him again, my man in white, walking with some purpose up the hill, hugging the Armco and paying no heed at all to what was around him. I had said nothing then and I said nothing now. I went over the image in my head, distant from the conversation that buzzed around me, apart by dint of my orange Proban overalls, not because I was engaging with my colleagues. I lifted my head and from my seat could look through the windows and see up the hill, my post just out of sight under the canopy of trees.
 I wouldn’t be missed. I got up and dragging my bag over my shoulder, left the bar. All the gates were open now, allowing great monstrous trucks to cross the track, driving the steep hill up from the pits to the outside world. My car was over there, parked just inside the perimeter fence of the paddock but I did not go that way, instead headed back into the fantasy that was the circuit itself within those gates.
Real life didn’t exist in here. This was a cauldron of dreams, aspirations, imitation, vanity, pride and a competitive spirit that was almost obscene. Even once the cars and the egos were gone, it still held an ethereal quality, the quietness of a summer evening exaggerated after the violent noise of the car races and the constant background hum of the commentator.
I followed the thick ribbon of tarmac and walked down Paddock Hill and into the dip, back up to my post, following something resembling the racing line, obvious from the tyre marks, black on black, sweeping up the smooth surface to the bend at the top.
He was there, my man in white, there, sitting on the Armco, appearing exactly as he had earlier, except his head was bare. He swung his legs but they made no sound on the metal. His hands were tucked neatly in the gap between his thighs and he seemed to be lost in his own world.
 ‘Hello,’ I said cheerfully. I wanted to strike up a conversation, get chatting, and then ask what he thought he had been doing walking on the wrong side of the Armco during a race. What madness was that?!
 ‘Oh,’ he said, looking up. He was startled as if I hadn’t been in clear view for at least ten minutes wearing bright orange. ‘Hello.’ He had something sticking out of his pocket, probably the skull cap. His face was dirty, dark with dust and oil smears, except for an area around his eyes, as if he really had been wearing goggles. His hair was blond, short around the sides, longer on top, that old fashioned style that was back in.
 ‘You alright?’ I said, my mind suddenly blank of anything sensible to say to the stranger.
  ‘Yes, fine, thank you.’ He looked away, thoughtful. ‘Actually, no. Not really. I’ve lost something and I know how this will sound, but I’ve lost my car.’ He gave a wan grin that did little to lighten his demeanour, more to accentuate the melancholy. ‘It was here,’ he went on in his cultured, public school voice. ‘I left it here, but it isn’t here anymore.’
   ‘It’s probably at your truck in the paddock. The pick-up crews take the cars back. They don’t stay here, and we always give them back to their owners, regardless of what condition they are in.’ How did he not know this? He was not young, around thirty perhaps, so not inexperienced, surely. ‘Have you been back to see?’
 ‘Back to the truck. Yes, I should do that.’ He was distracted again, not really looking at me. ‘But I can’t go back without my car. Can you help me find it?’
I blinked. Was he simple? ‘It’ll be with your team. They’ll already have it.’ I paused, caught suddenly in the realisation that maybe he’d got concussion and didn’t know where he was. If he’d left his car here, he’d have crashed it for sure, and he may have been injured and got concussion. I didn’t recall him scrambling from a battered car buried in the barriers, but maybe he had forgotten where he’d crashed. ‘Did you see a doctor? Have you been cleared?’ I asked.
‘Doctor? No,’ he said, waving the idea away as if it were as annoying as a gnat. ‘I didn’t need a doctor.’ Again, the far away gaze. ‘I think there was one here, but, you see, I’ve lost my car. Do you know where it is?’
 This was getting silly. ‘Let me take you back to the paddock. Will you let me do that? Then you can tell me where your team parked and they will have your car, you’ll see.’ I reached my hand to him to help him off the barrier and he put his in mine. He hopped off and happily took a few steps with me. His hand was bare, smooth, like someone who’d never done any work, not manual work. Not a mechanic. Definitely a driver. He was smiling now, as if the defined action had settled him. He held the skull cap affair in his other hand, the goggles now dangling from his fingers.
 ‘Oh,’ he said, and he stopped, hesitated, and then said, ‘I have to stay here. My car, you see, I’ve lost it.’ A lop-sided grin more of embarrassment than amusement. ‘Will you help me look for it?’
 This was beyond me. I had first aid training, but that didn’t extend to people who were mentally unstable. He was troubled and I could not help. But the place was still teeming with paramedics from the rescue units and the circuit doctors always enjoyed a wind-down drink in the bar. I’d fetch one of those.
 ‘OK,’ I said gently. ‘Stay here then, and I’ll go back to the paddock and fetch some help. Don’t worry,’ I reiterated carefully, ‘I will come back and I’ll bring help.’
The smile was bright this time, warm, and it made him look quite handsome. ‘Thank you. For helping me.’
‘You’re welcome. But I’ll need about fifteen minutes to get there and back. OK?’
‘OK.’
I hurried away, had taken ten running paces down the hill and realised I hadn’t asked his name. I skidded to a messy halt and turned back.
 ‘Hey, what’s your...’ He’d gone. He’d been out of my sight for maybe six seconds, tops, and he’d vanished. I stared. ‘Hey!’ I called. Nothing. I took several steps back up the hill, as if it would make a difference. The track remained empty, silent. There was nothing on the Armco, no one behind it. I checked the other side. Nothing.
I felt the whoosh of air as something went past me very fast. I staggered back and saw the back of a car, a yellow car, cigar-shaped, a tall wing at the back, a thicker, shorter wing at the front. It hared up the hill to the bend. I could see the engine, see the puffs from the exhaust, the flares as the driver negotiated the gears in a downward shift, watched it turn into the hairpin, slow and tight. The driver was leaning into the bend, his arms clad in white, his head covered with a white skull cap, goggles concealing the face. I saw his eyes widen as the car drifted sideways, up the hill, catch, flip and roll several times before hitting the barrier. For a moment it lay there, smoking gently, then it burst into flames.
Marshals ran to it, but they weren’t wearing orange, weren’t wearing overalls of any kind; mostly they were wearing dark trousers, shirts and tank tops, flat caps. Why were they not wearing Proban? Without protective gear they couldn’t get close. And the fire burned out of control, thick black smoke rising into the tree tops. The driver didn’t stand a chance. My throat was closed over, tears blurred my vision, not all caused by the acrid stench of burning petrol, oil, car and...
I sobbed. It was the only sound I had made. It was the only sound I had heard. There had been no noise of the engine, no screech as the wheels caught, no crumpling as it rolled, no thump as it hit the barrier. No whump as the fire came to life. And as abruptly as it had appeared, the scene vanished. No car, no fire, no helpless marshals. No driver.
I wanted to run but my legs were like jelly. Collapsing seemed more likely but I couldn’t stay up there. So I walked back slowly, seeing the crash in my mind over and over. It hadn’t truly been there, but that made little difference to my reaction. For me it had been real.
On shaking legs I made my way off the circuit at Post Three where the gates to the paddock stood open. George, one of the older marshals, was there, one foot up, leaning on the gate.
 ‘Don’t worry, lass,’ he said as he took in my pallor, my shaking limbs. ‘He likes you. He doesn’t tell his story to just anyone.’
 ‘Who?’ My voice was raspy, seared by smoke. Smoke that hadn’t been there.
 ‘Piers Castlemaine. The driver you saw.’
‘Piers Castlemaine?’
George shifted his considerable bulk. ‘He drove in the 60s, not brilliant but enthusiastic. Lived for the sport. Rich, as you can imagine. Didn’t have to work, so he could drive as much as he wanted, which was never enough. He crashed up there, near your post. Died. 1965 or so. He was thirty-one. Tragic really. But he died doing what he loved.’ George heaved himself off the gate. ‘Come on, you need a drink. And I’ll tell you all about him.’ 

I worked Post Five again two weeks later on an overcast day that was as dull as my mood. It was noted that I was quiet but I was attentive to my job so there was no complaint as such. Formula Fords, tin tops. Some single-seaters with wings. I wasn’t paying attention to more than the movement, not the car doing it.
The sun broke through the cloud and illuminated a patch of grass just down the hill and to the right. A figure in white was wandering up by the Armco. He looked up to where I was stood, watching down the track at the approaching cars. I saw his smile, warm and friendly, and he raised his hand, waved. Four cars came towards me, blocking my view, and when I looked again once I had seen them safely round the bend, the patch of grass was empty.
Then a movement to my right caused me to turn my head. Sitting on the barrier just down from my post was a faint shadow, a gathering of mist into the loose form of a man. The gossamer-thin shape bunched, solidified slightly, leaning forwards, concentrating on the race.
   ‘Hello, Piers,’ I said into the wind. But there was no reply. He was busy. Later perhaps.

© Louise Adam

(Louise Adam is a pen name, the author wishes to remain anonymous)

Song: Ghosts In My Machine by Annie Lennox





Note: There is copyright legislation for song lyrics but no copyright in names, titles or ideas
images via Pixabay accreditation not required




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The Full List of Authors

December
1st        Philip K. Allan     
 2nd      J J Toner         
 3rd       Catherine Kullman    
 4th       Helen Hollick              
 5th       Richard Tearle    
 6th       Barbara Gaskell Denvil
 7th       Nicky Galliers
 8th       Angela Macrae Shanks          
 9th       Katherine Pym  
10th      J G Harlond    
11th       Anna Belfrage
12th      Richard Dee
13th      Inge H. Borg
14th      Annie Whitehead
15th      Louise Adam
16th      Char Newcomb
17th      Alison Morton                         
18th      Kathryn Gauci
19th      Helen Hollick 
20th     M.J. Logue
21st       Helen Hollick 
22nd     Cryssa Bazos               
23rd      Jennifer Wilson                       
24th      Elizabeth St John  writing as Julia Darke                         
25th      MERRY CHRISTMAS 
26th      Helen Hollick
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14 December 2018

A Story Inspired By A Song by Annie Whitehead

guess the song
clue...mine, not yours?
He’s talking, but he doesn’t know what he’s saying. I hear him, but I can’t answer. It’s like this most nights nowadays; he turns in his sleep, calls her name, mumbles a few other - indistinct - words, then turns again. I daren’t wake him, and I daren’t ask. But I know that name, and I wonder why he says it over and over, as if it’s important to him...

* * *
Life has not been unkind to Mike. He’s lived all his life in the small town where he was born. He’s the local go-to man, the builder who can turn his hand to just about anything. He often gets his morning coffee from the diner on Deadman Street, and all the regulars know him there. When Mr Stemple’s till got wedged, with five-dollar bills sticking out of the drawer like stuffing from an old couch, Mike went behind the counter and mended it. When Mrs Hendry’s car got a flat tire, Mike ran across the street and changed the wheel for her. He pumped up the spare until it was as round and plump as Mrs Hendry, and she offered to pay him for his time. He refused. Mike enjoys feeling useful.

His mom is always grateful for his help around the home. Mike only hazily recalls the day his dad boarded the Amtrak heading west to Oklahoma. Mike thought his mom was crying because she’d miss him while he was gone. He didn’t realize that Dad was never coming back. As he got older, Mike helped out in any way he could - fixing the stair rail, mending the dripping faucet, installing the new bathroom.

He spent most evenings in Harry’s Bar and Andie would keep him company. He’d known Andie from school. Heck, he knew everybody from school. When what seemed like the whole town turned out for Mom’s wedding to Stan, Andie was there, right beside him, her own wedding ring still shining new, six months after Mike had put it on her finger.

Mike likes to fix things. He’s still known as Sally Piper’s boy, even though his mom is now Sally Greaves, and he’s grateful for the work that comes his way. Everett Palmer’s garage extension kept him going over the winter, and he walked Everett’s dog for him on his lunch breaks too.

Mike can’t fix Andie though, and it’s breaking his heart. Andie hasn’t been the same since the twins came along. At first, she thrived. She worked out a system of feeding them together, and he liked to fetch her drinks and snacks, and they’d listen to the babies’ little snuffling noises as they lay in Andie’s arms. But it was tiring for Andie. Some days she’d struggle to get out of bed, and Mike didn’t know what to do.

Mike has a contract to fit new staff restrooms at the bank. Every morning the redhead who works as a teller greets him with a coffee. She has a big smile. She reminds him of Andie, how she used to be before she got sick. The redhead puts extra lipstick on just before the bank closes and Mike knows that she’s heading straight out to Harry’s Bar after work. Sometimes she looks at Mike, and gives a little shake of her head, as if she’s asking him to go with her. How the town would talk! Sometimes though, as Mike finishes for the day and puts his tools in the back of his truck, he imagines how it would be, sitting in a booth with her, not worrying about the time, not thinking about feeds, or having to remember to stop by the store for more diapers. How she would greet him with a smile, instead of turning a tear-stained face when he walks through the door, an apology instead of dinner…


* * *
He said her name again last night. I know there’s nothing going on, because Stella Atkins would trip over her own feet in her rush to get here and tell me the news. Imagine them all in the grocery store, their mouths twisting in a mix of pleasure and disgust, then freezing in a knowing pout as I walked by.

Even so, I know I’m losing him. The babies made us a unit, squared off our lives. Now those corners feel rigid and I feel that if I jump out of the square, I’ll break, but if I stay, I’ll suffocate. So I do nothing, watching him slip away from me.

Today though, I’m brave. Mike has gone into Nashville for supplies and I have an appointment at the doctor’s office. Sally has the babies for the morning, and I’m heading to Dr McRory’s. If I admit that I need help, maybe he can fix me. Mike can’t, and I know it’s killing him.

On my way, I have to walk past the bank. I stare at the words Wells Fargo and I make fists, not in anger but to wipe the sweat from my palms. My knees feel spongy, and I know that if I try to talk, my top lip will stick to my teeth. I scratch around in my purse, but there’s no water bottle, just a few soothers, kleenex, and some rattles. So I swallow hard, and I walk in. Please don’t let there be a line. If there’s a line, I will lose my courage. No line, no line…

There’s no one at the glass. No one between me and her. I see the red hair, spilling over the counter as she looks over at the check that’s just been paid in. She must sense movement, for she looks up and I see those green eyes, glinting like emeralds. Her face is smooth and cold-looking, like ivory.  My heart’s hammering and it hurts my chest. Adrenaline whooshes down my limbs, weakening them. I swallow again and take a deep breath. I hear myself saying, “Please leave him alone. Look at you, you are beautiful. You could have any man you wanted. I’m a mess, I know. But I’ve loved him since we were kids and I just don’t think I could ever find another man like him. Please?”

Jolene looks at me. I wait for her answer.


© Annie Whitehead

song: Jolene by Dolly Parton


About Annie:
Annie Whitehead
Annie Whitehead is a history graduate and prize-winning author. Her novel, To Be A Queen, is the story of Aethelflaed, daughter of Alfred the Great, who came to be known as the Lady of the Mercians. Her second book, Alvar the Kingmaker, tells the story of Aelfhere of Mercia, a nobleman in the time of King Edgar, who sacrifices personal happiness in order to keep the monarchy strong when successive kings die at a young age.  Both books have been awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion. 
She has completed a third novel, also set in Mercia, and scheduled for publication in 2017.
Annie has twice been a prizewinner in the Mail on Sunday Novel Writing competition, she won first prize for non-fiction in the new Writing Magazine Poetry and Prose competition, and she has had articles published in various magazines, on a wide range of topics.
She is also an editor for the EHFA (English Historical fictions Authors) blog. She lives in the English Lake District with her husband and has three grown-up 'children’.

Annie is Discovering Diamonds' Head Editor

read our review HERE
Website   Facebook   Twitter  @ALWhitehead63 

Note: There is copyright legislation for song lyrics but no copyright in names, titles or ideas
images via Pixabay accreditation not required



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The Full List of Authors

December
 1st        Philip K. Allan     
 2nd      J J Toner         
 3rd       Catherine Kullman    
 4th       Helen Hollick              
 5th       Richard Tearle    
 6th       Barbara Gaskell Denvil
 7th       Nicky Galliers
 8th       Angela Macrae Shanks          
 9th       Katherine Pym  
10th      J G Harlond    
11th       Anna Belfrage
12th      Richard Dee
13th      Inge H. Borg
14th      Annie Whitehead
15th      Louise Adam
16th      Char Newcomb
17th      Alison Morton                         
18th      Kathryn Gauci
19th      Helen Hollick 
20th     M.J. Logue
21st       Helen Hollick 
22nd     Cryssa Bazos               
23rd      Jennifer Wilson                       
24th      Elizabeth St John  writing as Julia Darke                         
25th      MERRY CHRISTMAS 
26th      Helen Hollick
Leave your comment here

13 December 2018

A Story Inspired By A Song by Inge H. Borg

guess the song
clue... a crowded room at twilight?
She sat somewhat prim and proper at one of the small marble tables tucked into a neglected corner of the bar. Attractive, well-dressed and forty-something, she made sure to look aloof.


He could tell she had come alone. Well-to-do single women all had that certain look. ‘Don’t you dare buy me a drink. But please, please, rescue me.’
Helen noticed him immediately, leaning against the hotel’s elegant bar. He was tall. He was handsome. Sipping her Pinot Grigio—the headier Chardonnay having gone out of favor recently—she gazed into the stale air, her thoughts rife with speculation. He had just smiled and inclined his head at her.
“Pardon the intrusion. For a moment I was transported to another time. I thought I was seeing Marilyn Monroe.” Shamelessly corny, it was delivered in his best Eton-tinged accent. It always worked. Everyone in the San Diego area knew the old classic ‘Some Like It Hot,’ filmed on location at the world-famous Hotel Del Coronado.
Accepting another glass of wine from him, Helen opened up like a rosebud. She was soon caught hook, line and sinker by his continental charm. That she was far from a bleached blonde with a thirty-six-double-D bust didn’t matter.
What mattered to the temporarily homeless Edward was that she owned a townhome in the canal-crossed Coronado Cays, where you parked your car in front and tied up your boat in back. Hers was a sleek twenty-seven foot Catalina. Life couldn’t have been better. Edward’s silver Jaguar Coupe sporting the older-model rapacious hood ornament befitted the pricey neighborhood. Helen arranged and paid for his sailing lessons. On Sundays, they sailed up the Bay for brunch at the venerated San Diego Yacht Club. During enchanted evenings, they strolled hand-in-hand along the beach to watch the sun sink below the whale-hump of Point Loma.
To show his appreciation for her delightful company and comfortable abode, Edward took Helen to Jessop’s Jewelers down-town ostensibly to buy her a bauble. The lady blushed. Might it be something for her finger? But, to her bewilderment, with Edward virtually in tears, they had to leave.
“Heavens, what’s the matter?”
Between sighs and mumbling ‘terribly sorry, dear,’ Edward pointed to a window display. There, on gray velvet, reposed a pair of gold and diamond cufflinks. The discretely noted price evoked another sigh.
“Those are like the ones my departed papa left me,” Edward sobbed. “They were the only thing I had from him.”
Helen touched his arm. “What happened to them?”
“They were stolen.” A dramatic pause. Then, “Would you mind terribly, my love, if we don’t do this today?”
Helen’s heart skipped a beat. He had just called her ‘my love.’
That Friday evening, the intuitive woman surprised Edward with the precious cufflinks. He took her in his arms and they spent a perfect evening dining on her boat as they watched the peach-colored dusk slip into its indigo cloak.
On Saturday evening Helen, a high-powered executive and consummate professional when not enthralled by tall Brits, informed him she had an early morning flight to Europe and that her generosity, alas, could not extend to her home, her Mercedes and her treasured sailboat while she was away.
Edward understood. He returned her key, kissed her good-night, promised to call, and left to spend an undignified night at a flop-house in Imperial Beach.
Sunday morning the normally fastidious Edward did not shave. Dressed in midnight-blue silk pajamas and leather slippers, he drove to affluent Coronado. A couple of homes down from Helen’s, he expertly scooped a Sunday paper up. Then he stopped at a lone beach emergency-telephone and called a locksmith. The man met him in front of Helen’s within thirty minutes.
“Can you imagine? Here I am in my pajamas. I come out to pick up my Sunday paper and the door slams behind me.” Edward’s speech was colloquial and friendly.
“It happens a lot,” the locksmith commiserated. “I’ll have you back in your house in no time.”
“Oh, while you are here,” Edward suggested, “could you change the lock for me? Ex-girlfriends, you know.” He winked at the pot-bellied man.
The locksmith winked back. He might not have first-hand experience with ex-girlfriends, but he understood. He ground a couple of extra keys for the new lock sure they would be handed out again in due course.
Edward’s delightful set-up came to a crashing end when Helen returned early. When the lock gave her problems, she went through the side-yard to the back. There, she found her former guest on her boat wooing a star-struck matron. Helen sent the apoplectic woman packing and called the police.
Edward took his suitcase outside. Pulling the pudgy officer aside, he quietly, man-to-man, explained the situation. Ex-girlfriend, emotionally unstable, pretending this was her house.
“Here is my own key. See, it fits.” He cautiously opened and closed the front door. “I admit, Officer, I dated the woman. But she turned out to be a stalker. I have no idea how she got in while I was away on business. See, I haven’t even had a chance to take my suitcase in.”
When the officer assured him that he could easily remove the female inside, Edward said, “I don’t want to press charges. Who knows what she’ll do. Let me handle this myself. You know how it is.” The sweaty man grinned. At the end of his shift he was only too glad to let the rich bastard deal with his own woman troubles.
As usual, the foresighted Edward had a fallback plan. He drove across the elegant span of the Coronado Bridge. To the north lay La Jolla, the Jewel of Pacific Coast communities.
There, one enchanted evening another lady was soon to fall victim to his charm ...
© Inge H. Borg

song: Some Enchanted Evening - from South Pacific lyrics by Richard Rodgers


While the flagrant charmer seduces more ladies around San Diego in Edward, Con Extraordinaire, he eventually winds up in Cairo. In Sirocco, Storm over Land and Sea, Book 2 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab series, Edward’s ambitions turn sinister. In Books 3, 4 and 5, he becomes downright murderous.

Visit Inge H. Borg’s Amazon Author Pages here:

Giveaway!
FREE HERE!
13-14th December

Note: There is copyright legislation for song lyrics but no copyright in names, titles or ideas
images via Pixabay accreditation not required




Liked this story?
Scroll down to leave a comment. Thank you



please share on Facebook  and/or  Tweet : #DDRevsStorySong

The Full List of Authors

December
 1st        Philip K. Allan     
 2nd      J J Toner         
 3rd       Catherine Kullman    
 4th       Helen Hollick              
 5th       Richard Tearle    
 6th       Barbara Gaskell Denvil
 7th       Nicky Galliers
 8th       Angela Macrae Shanks          
 9th       Katherine Pym  
10th      J G Harlond    
11th       Anna Belfrage
12th      Richard Dee
13th      Inge H. Borg
14th      Annie Whitehead
15th      Louise Adam
16th      Char Newcomb
17th      Alison Morton                         
18th      Kathryn Gauci
19th      Helen Hollick 
20th     M.J. Logue
21st       Helen Hollick 
22nd     Cryssa Bazos               
23rd      Jennifer Wilson                       
24th      Elizabeth St John  writing as Julia Darke                         
25th      MERRY CHRISTMAS 
26th      Helen Hollick
Leave your comment here