30 Days of Creative Writing: Day 29

For today’s exercise I’ve chosen another photo prompt. This one is called ‘The Journey’ and shows the view out of a car window. In addition there is the question what’s ahead and how does it relate to the morning news.

I had to think about this one. Where was the driver going?
What was he pointing at?
How would I work in the morning news angle?

This is what I came up with.

“What the fuck’s happened now?”
Alex glared out at the world, rattling his hands on the steering wheel as the traffic ground to a halt. He strained forward to get a better view but could see nothing. Across the concrete partition the traffic flowing out of town was moving freely. If anything it seemed heavier than usual.

Alex glanced at his watch before letting out a string if obscenities. He reached for his mobile to ring work. It was possible, if he explained the situation in the right way, that they’d postpone the meeting. He hit #1 and listened to the trilling of the dial tone. After a minute the answer machine clicked on. He ended the call before leaving a message.

Five more minutes passed; he lowered the window.
He checked his emails.
He checked his briefcase.

He called the office again.

Engaged.

He threw himself on to the steering wheel in frustration. Movement ahead, a flicker of colour, caught his attention. A scarlet and polished chrome motorcycle, weaving through the parked traffic, sped towards him. The rider banked at the last moment, slipping past with a breath between Alex’s baby and the hulking great lorry in the inside lane.
‘That’s not clever dickhead, I hope you lose your license.’ Alex thought as the bike disappeared in the rear view mirror.

He tried to call work again.

“Robertson Loyd Corporate Law, Natasha Polls, deputy head of small business law, speaking, how may I help you?”
“Nat, it’s Alex. I’m stuck in traffic, postpone the meeting with the guys from Lemming, Bar and Coleridge Pharmaceuticals will you. I’m stuck in traffic on the Inner Circus.”
“Oh, you haven’t heard then? It’s all over the news, you must have heard.”
“Heard what? I haven’t had time to watch the news this morning.”
“Oh, it’s horrible, just awful, even to think about.”
“What is?”
“I don’t completely understand it, but LBC Pharmaceuticals are being investigated for infecting patients with a designer bacteria. Dozens of people have beenmade terribly sick and five have died so far. Needless to say, the meeting’s been cancelled.”
“My god! Did we know anything about it?”
“I don’t think so, I’ll get the files out, you can have a look when you get in. There’s nothing else going on today. The department heads have all called in to say they’re working from home.”
“It’s alright for some. Why are you answering phones today?”
“Pen’s not turned up. I tried ringing her but didn’t get an answer. It’s quite strange.”
“I know, I don’t think she’s ever had a day off sick since she started working for us.”
Nat laughed, “So it’s true then, you do fancy her?”
“No! That would be unprofessional. Look, we’ll discuss everything when I get into the office. I’ve got to go, I can see police lights behind the traffic.”
“See you then, don’t get any points on your license.”
Alex laughed and hung up. He stopped laughing when the oncoming lights of the police cars stopped moving and then retreated. He watched all the activity in his rear view mirror.
‘What the hell is going on?’
The folded newspapers in the passenger seat caught his attention. The redtop Alex would never admit to reading screamed with typical tabloid hyperbole ‘Plague rampages through city hospital. Designer drug kills dozens.’ The more sedate broadsheet proclaimed ‘Unique bacterial infection spreads through Royal Heart Infirmary. Over 80% of patients may be victims of a new bacteria.’

Alex opened the broadsheet and rested it on the steering wheel, trying to gather as much information as possible. If his client was guilty of some offence he’d better be prepared.

Alex glanced up when the screaming started. With surprise  he noticed people climbing out of their vehicles and running past him. Some seemed a little slower than others. He leaned out of the window desperate to attract someone’s attention, to discover the source of so much anxiety. He looked around and called out but nobody stopped.
Finally a man in a black suit, one if those who weren’t moving quite as quickly as everyone else turned around.

Alex gasped in horror before hitting the up switch for his window. The man had no eyes! There were empty, blackened sockets where the seeing orbs should rest. The creature’s jaw hung slack and blood dripped down its chin.

The thing started to hobble towards Alex. He cursed as the window took an age to close. The creature broke into a skipping run and launched itself towards the almost closed window.

It hit the glass head first with a thud and collapsed on to the road. Blood, scalp and green-grey matter slid down the window and Alex thanked any deity listening and the reinforced glass manufacturers for saving his life. He slunk as low as he could in his small car, hiding from further attack, unsure how much of a pounding the little beauty could survive. He sunk in to a terrified stupor.

The thrum-thrum of helicopter blades and ratatatat of gunfire shook him back to the present.
The roar of low flying jets shook the car. He was blinded by a flash, then another, closer. The shockwave lifted the light sports car, tipping it end over end.

Another bomb fell, then another, until finally nothing moved on the road or around it. Everything burned.

It needs work, but for a second draft that’s not horrendous, I suppose.

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