…And A Scummage
A few years ago, authonomy.com hosted a little competition to celebrate the publication of Miranda Dickinson’s It Started With A Kiss. The task was to write a 416-word short story – no more, no less. I stumbled across my entries the other day. I thought I’d share them with you.
Because I never make my life easy, I asked my writing buddies to challenge me, to give me things to shoehorn into a 416-word story. This was attempt #1. It had to feature: a circus, rugby, the name Josephine and a good Samaritan, …
The decoy car punched through the media circus outside the hotel. Tom went next, braving the flashes so Lottie could escape unnoticed. Part of her adored the photographic evidence of them kissing in a bar, but the headline, England Rugby Captain In Sin Bin with cBeebies Presenter crucified her – emotionally and professionally. One day she’s a National Treasure, the next she’s Lottie the Hottie.
For ten miles, she relaxed in the anonymity of the night, but at Chatsworth a Range Rover caught up with her – caught up but didn’t overtake when they had the chance. Lottie shook off her paranoia. That was no paparazzi vehicle, too expensive.
But it didn’t turn off at Bakewell, or Buxton, or Macclesfield. Half a mile until her exit. What if they really were following her? Should she call Tom? Or the police?
She turned without indicating, her heart thumping in her chest. The Range Rover carried on. To Prestbury. She had to get a grip.
Mercifully, no journalists lay in wait outside her cottage. She’d made it. Lottie slowed, but her smile was short-lived as lights filled her mirrors.
The Range Rover was back.
She daren’t breathe as the silver monolith pulled up behind her, its lights a contrast to her cottage which sat in darkness. Isolated, neighbourless darkness. Lottie slammed her foot on the accelerator. She had to get to town, to people, to safety.
With a shaking hand, she called Tom. ‘Someone’s following me.’
‘No.’ She gripped her steering wheel. ‘I don’t think so.’
‘What kind of car?’
Its lights were too bright, too close. ‘A Range Rover. Silver.’
‘Reg number?’ His voice had changed.
‘I can’t see.’ A sob escaped her throat as she accelerated, trying to get away. ‘Tom, I’m scared.’
The Range Rover kept coming.
Fifty, sixty. The lights got closer. Seventy. Too close. The Range Rover rammed into her and Lottie screamed, battling to stay on the road. Somehow she did.
The lights disappeared and Lottie checked her mirror. No, they hadn’t gone, but they were stationary. Flickering. Vertical.
‘They’ve crashed,’ she whispered.
‘Get out of there,’ Tom said.
It might be stupid, and the last thing she ever do, but Lottie reversed. What if they were hurt?
With her phone in hand, she approached the stricken vehicle. Blood and highlighted blonde hair covered the woman’s face, but Lottie would know her anywhere.
‘Tom, it’s your wife.’
‘Help me,’ Josephine pleaded.
Lottie the Hottie to National Treasure in one Good Samaritan moment.
I didn’t win the Authonomy competition, but before I wrote this 416, I’d never dreamt I could write a car chase. This one might not be worthy of Hollywood, but #Forfeit fans might recognise this scene – it became the basis for one that Daisy gets caught up in. Isn’t it amazing what you can discover simply by giving something new a try?