Jack And The Box – By Beth Jones

Here’s another short story for you, this time penned by Beth. This was included in a short story anthology, with all proceeds going to charity. If you would like to purchase a copy, you can do so here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Machine-Green-Moon-Anthologies-Greenwell/dp/1095483927

Jack And The Box
By Beth Jones

Sarah closed the front door, resting her head on it as she did so. She exhaled and closed her eyes, tears rolling gently down her cheeks. After a few minutes she turned to look at her house. It looked cold, dark and unloved. Slowly, she slouched through the door to the lounge, and on into the kitchen beyond. She needed a brew. If there was one thing that could make things look better, it was a good cup of tea! That was what Old Jack used to say to her anyway, so she figured she would put his theory to the test. She filled the kettle and went to the fridge for milk. To her dismay, it was curdled and congealed in the see-through plastic bottle, and the fridge smelled like something had died in there. She sighed, rolled her eyes, and lumbered back towards the lounge, flicking the kettle off as she passed.

She sat in her comfy chair, where Old Jack used to sit when he came around for chats, and pulled a crocheted blanket round her shoulders. She hadn’t felt this alone in a long time. The sense of being totally lost and unsure what to do swept over her; something she hadn’t felt since her childhood. For a while, she sat motionless, staring at nothing, thinking about Old Jack and what she could focus on now he was gone. She had been so busy caring for him for the last two years, she had almost forgotten how to do anything else. When he was taken into hospital, she’d been with him every day, trying to keep him in high spirits, trying desperately to keep him fighting on, but they both knew he was dying, and that it was only a matter of time.

It was only a few hours since he passed, but the desperate need to see him again was like a black hole devouring her insides. He’d told her not to worry, that everything was going to be ok and that he was happy to be going home. Happy that the pain would stop, for both of them. But her pain hadn’t stopped, because now it was the pain of loss. The pain that takes away your breath and seers through your head, forcing every last tear that you own to come out all at once.

The last fifteen years, living next door to Old Jack, had been the happiest and most fulfilled she had ever been. She had no-one else in the world apart from him. She’d been in the care system since from eighteen months old. Both her parents were addicts and had died of drug overdoses while she was asleep in her cot. Apparently, it was at least 24 hours later when the police found her. She was placed into care as her grandparents were alcoholics. She spent the next sixteen years being pushed from pillar to post, from care home to foster carer. She had blocked out most of those years; the emotional scars too deep to face. Throughout that time, no matter how hard it was, she’d always been determined that her horrible past wouldn’t define her. She tried hard in school and ended up a ‘straight A’ student. She’d won awards for her hard work in the face of adversity, and for her achievement in Maths and Science. She had always been fascinated by scientific discovery. Physics was magical for her; like a playground of mystery where nothing was beyond the realms of possibility! When she was too old for the care system, her stubborn determination drove her to make a go of life as a fully blown, fully functioning adult. Social services had helped her locate a house – nothing special, a little two up, two down terraced. That was when she met Old Jack, her next-door neighbour. From that day, those childhood scars had started to heel. Now they felt wide open again.

Jack had been the closest thing she’d ever had to a father figure. She managed a little smile as she remembered the first time she’d met him. He’d knocked on her door the day she moved in and given her a welcoming present of a jar of coffee, a pint of milk, and a bag of sugar. She had told him, quite bluntly, that she didn’t like coffee! He had tutted and shuffled back to his door, then two minutes later had come back with a bottle of Navy Rum and two glasses! They had both sat on boxes and got acquainted over some very large measures. They instantly hit it off, as Jack had been a scientist all his life! She found him fascinating, and pretty soon it got to the point where they were always together, Jack sharing many wonderful stories with her, and her hanging on his every word, making tea in the gaps between stories, then urging him to tell her more.

He had once told her how he’d been a codebreaker in the war. She had her reservations as to whether this was true; it felt like it was just one story too far, but by then she had so much love and respect for this wonderful human who had fallen into her life so unexpectedly, that she never questioned it.

Suddenly, a familiar sound came from the meter cupboard in the hall, and everything went dark. The sound was the electric metre shutting off because she was out of credit again. She swore under her breath. She really didn’t need this now! She was too tired and numbed by the day to go out and get more, so she fumbled about on the mantlepiece for a lighter and lit the numerous candles she had dotted around the lounge for this very occurrence. The warm glow from all the little lights was somewhat comforting.

Then she saw it on the mantlepiece. The letter that Jack had given her when he knew he was beginning to fade. It came with strict instructions not to open it until he was gone, and it had sat there, in the same spot, for nearly six months. She stared at it for what felt like hours, hoping that it would disappear. Wishing she would never have to open it, but still slightly intrigued at its contents. Jack literally told her everything, so what could this little envelope contain that she didn’t already know?

Finally, she picked it off the mantlepiece and began to slowly open it, her hands shaking a little. Jack had the most amazingly precise handwriting she had ever seen; perfectly slanted cursive script, with every letter beautifully formed, and even when his health had started to fail and he’d grown weak, this skill never left him.

            “Dearest Sarah,

The fact you are reading this can only mean one thing. Don’t be sad that I’m no longer here – I’m not in the least bit sad that I have gone! Nor am I worried about what is to come next. For me, I should imagine it will be an extraordinary adventure! I might be flying though space as you read this; or growing into a coral on a far away planet, in a parallel universe, so have no fear for me. I am an explorer, and death is a mere diversion onto a new path!

I am also not worried about you, because you are strong, you are brave, and you are bright. More importantly, you are young. You have your whole life ahead of   you, and you shouldn’t dwell on my passing because to dwell is to waste time, and you will need all the time you can get to work on a project that I have designed just for you.

I always dreamed I would have a daughter, and in you, that dream was realised. I sometimes felt you thought more like me than I did, and this is why I am entrusting you with my unfinished work. I know you never believed my codebreaker story, but I want you to know that whilst my story was not entirely true, it did contain elements of the truth.

I was born and raised in Nevada. I did fight in the war for a very short time. I was an engineer in US military, until I was injured on manoeuvres and sent home! I took up a roll within the military on my return, working alongside intelligence to identify and replicate advancements in our enemies’ weapons. In 1957 I was working in the Nevada Dessert, at Groom Lake. You might know this place as Area 51.

What I’m about to tell you, you must never tell another soul! You are the only person to know this about me. This is the reason I never married or had any children of my own. If I had done, I would have put them in danger.

In 1957, the ever-suspicious US air force were working on secret technology, to enable them to create indestructible and undetectable fighting machines, to ensure that there would never be another war that they couldn’t win in the blink of an eye. They wanted to affirm their authority over the rest of the planet in a blaze of glory. The technology they were using there was not of this world. You’ve heard the Roswell stories; the conspiracies; the ‘loony’ UFO chaser tales. I can tell you now, they are all as real as the ground on which you stand, but the cover-ups have run so deeply that it is almost impossible to see things in plain sight now.

As a scientist, I was enthralled and enlivened by the idea of discovering and replicating alien technology, but as a human being, with deep morals, I knew that this knowledge was ultimately destined to be used for greed and power, and I could not live with myself being a part of that. I spent months planning my escape; my own exile from that place. I worked through scenarios and theories endlessly before making my move. That is how I ended up here, in our little town, in the back of beyond, our little secret corner of Britain.

My point in telling you this is I brought something with me. I managed to smuggle it out. I found it whilst picking through some pieces of wreckage debris that had been shipped in from Roswell. It had been passed over by the other scientists as insignificant, so much so that it hadn’t been recorded on any paperwork. So, when I took it, the only person who really knew of its existence was me.

I don’t know why it intrigued me so, but there was something about it that led me to think it was some kind of technology. Some kind of machine not of this world. No bigger that a match box, and with no markings or obvious buttons, I often thought I might be reading too much into it and it was just what it looked – a lump of unknown matter. A chunk of ‘stuff’ that wasn’t man-made or made out of any identifiable material. For years I puzzled over it. Right up until 15 years ago. Right up until the point I met you. I decided pretty quickly this would be my legacy to you.

I want you to have it. I want you to crack the code. Unlock its secrets and come tell me when you have. I have no doubt that you will be more capable of this than I, and although I may have left this earth, this existence; and you will have no physical ‘me’ to deliver your conclusion to, trust me when I say I will hear you.

Inside this envelope, you will find a small key. Take it into my house. Behind the fire in the lounge you’ll find a small safe behind a wood panel. The object, and my research papers, are in there. They now belong to you. Carry on my work Sarah. you now hold the key to the universe in your hand!

Until we meet again, Sarah.

Jack x”

Sarah didn’t really know what to say or do next. She kept looking up at the window, then back at the letter, suddenly feeling suspicious of everything. Was anyone watching? Had her house been bugged by some secret agency while she was at the hospital with Jack? Or was this just one of his crazy, mad science stories? She looked in the envelope. There was a small and dainty key nestled in the bottom corner. No, this couldn’t possibly be real, this must be one of Jacks little musings to cheer her up, she thought. She looked up at the ceiling and cursed him under her breath. She placed the key on the mantlepiece and sat back down in the chair. She drummed her fingers on the arm of the chair and fixed her stare on the key, which was glinting in the candlelight. After not too long at all, her curiosity got the better of her. Thumping her hands down assertively on the arms of the chair, she pushed herself up, grabbed the key, and fumbled in her pocket for Jack’s front door key.

It was nearly midnight and the rest of the sleepy road was tucked up in bed by now, even the curtain-twitchers would be snoring, so no-one would see her if she went round to Jack’s for a little investigation, to see if her dear, crazy friend was just pulling her leg for one last time!

She opened her door, and stuck out her head, looking up and down the street, trying (but failing) not to appear too suspicious. There wasn’t a soul about. Perfect! She tiptoed the few feet to Jack’s front door and quickly let herself in. Although it was pitch dark, she didn’t want to turn on the lights and raise any suspicion. Luckily, the clouds of earlier had cleared and moonlight was streaming though the lounge window, illuminating the room with an ethereal glow. She padded silently to the fire place. The house smelled of Jack. It was a comforting smell, like he was there with her, a protector on her new mission!

She moved the old electric fire over and gently tapped on the ‘wall’ behind it. Definitely hollow! She suddenly realised that her heart was beating fast, and that all her senses were heightened. The super power of adrenaline! She quickly surveyed the wall, looking for a way to dislodge the board. There! In the corner, was a tiny cut-out space, big enough for her finger to fit through! She slowly pushed her finger into the hole and felt something small, round and metallic. She pushed a little harder and, with a little pop, the whole panel moved and inch forward! She had to give it to Jack – a spring loaded secret panel behind a fire was pretty cool for a guy of his age! Slowly, she took away the panel, and sure enough, there was the safe. She put the tiny key in the lock and turned. It was a little stiff; the mechanism was obviously old, but eventually it gave a little click, which made her jump! Carefully, she opened the door, and there it was. A small, grey, metallic looking object, no bigger than a matchbox, sitting on top of a thesis of paperwork, all in the same beautiful cursive script that Jack had used to write his final letter. She sat back and stared, her eyes bulging. She had just opened Pandora’s Box. Her head swam with ideas, emotions, theories, fears. She took a deep breath and reached in to the safe to remove the contents.

*******

Sarah got up at six the next morning. She hadn’t really slept all night if she was honest. Way too much buzzing round her head for sleep. When she’d got back in from Jack’s, she’d done what all scientists do; taken the ‘Machine of Unknown Origin’, as she was now calling it, to bed with her, put it under her pillow and had a good long puzzle over it instead of counting sheep. By 2am she was pacing her room reading the stack of theories that Jack had left with the MUO to try and find something he’d missed. A few hours later, she lay back down. So many questions had occurred to her. What was it made of? Where had it come from? What had Jack seen in it that made it special? Hell, was this even a real thing or was this just Jack trying to give her a project to focus on, so she didn’t miss him too much? If that was it, it wasn’t working. The hole in her heart felt bigger today than yesterday. It felt gaping.

She slowly padded down the stairs to the kitchen and placed the MUO on the work top by the sink. She flicked on the kettle and moved to the fridge, to get the milk, sleepily picking it out, holding it up to the light, and realising that it was the same curdled mess that had greeted her last night. Angrily, she wrenched off the lid and moved back to the sink to dispose of the putrid mess. Through her exhausted eyes, she attempted to aim for the plug hole, but missed completely, pouring the rotten stuff all over the work top, and covering the MUO in the foul concoction. She gasped and quickly bent down to get a cloth from the cupboard under the sink. “This is why I’m not a scientist “she shouted at herself as she knelt, rooting through the bottle of cleaning products. “The most important discovery in the world, ever, and I go and spill rotten milk on it.”

As she fumbled, she became aware of the room becoming lighter. She slowly looked up around the room, her gaze finally settling on the light source. The MUO was glowing, from underneath, with a strange, blue-white glow. She stayed knelt down, frozen to the spot, her pulse audible in her ears. For what felt like an eternity, she sat, transfixed at the enthralling light that was being emitted by this tiny object. Without warning the light faded to nothing. She slowly stood and leaned in closer to examine the MUO, her face now only inches from its surface. The silence within the room was electric, she hardly dared to breath. Time seemed to stand still around her, and nothing could break this fascinating moment.

Nothing would break this fascinating moment!

The MUO had her transfixed!

It had her complete attention!

But it did nothing…

Nothing…

Until…

CLICK………….

Disclaimer: This short story is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

ONE FOR SORROW By Dawn King

One For Sorrow

ONE FOR SORROW
By Dawn King

No one knew when it was going to come back. The first time it came was three weeks ago, on the 14th December. It had been ten times since that night. No one knew when or if there was going to be a next time. Each time it came they prayed for it to be the last time, but their hopes were always dashed when they discovered the next body.

No-one knew why it killed. It just did. That was why it came. Each time it wanted another person. Someone else had to die. And it always knew who it wanted, like something or someone was telling it who should be next. One by one it was wiping out the already tiny population of the town and there didn’t seem like there was anything the townspeople could do about it.

Many people had seen it, but few could describe it. Big and black was all they could say. Ghostly yet real! No one saw its face though. It was just a movement in the darkness. A shadow in the blackness of the night! And it was silent. No one heard it arrive or leave but there were always motorbike tracks left behind in the mud. No one in the town rode a motorbike and if it was just a passing traveller someone would have heard or seen something. Some people thought it was a deranged psychopath that had escaped from the nearby mental institute, others thought it was some sort of sub-human, undead monster while those who believed, thought it was the Grim Reaper himself, come to wreck carnage on their little town.

But whatever it was, it was dangerous, and it killed. One slash with what seemed like a razor-sharp knife across the victims’ throat was all that it took. There were no screams, no cries in the middle of the night. It was an instant death just as all the terrified people hoped it would be. If they had to be the next victim, they hoped it would be quick.

St Peter’s was a fishing town, just off the coast of Norfolk, on the North Sea. It was a quiet, sleepy town that had hardly any visitors or sightseers. All the people who lived there knew each other by name and there was virtually no crime.

Everybody remembered the 14th December as the day the beast arrived, and everyone could feel its presence. Despite already being winter, the air turned cold and bitter. And then the rain started. Heavy, torrential rain that fell in sheets. Seeing was an impossibility. The storm lasted for three hours and then stopped almost as abruptly as it had started. But everything stopped. There was no breeze, no sound of the waves lapping onto the shore and all the night birds were silent. Nothing moved. It was like time had stopped everything. This period of timelessness only lasted about two minutes but for those who were awake, it felt like an eternity. They felt like they were immortal. They were trapped in a world where time didn’t exist. Time couldn’t age them, and time couldn’t kill them. They were going to live forever….and then it ended. The night birds started to squawk and squeal as they did every night and the sea resumed its gentle movements. A breeze quickly built up and soon it was morning.

It was one of the local fishermen that had perished during the night. His throat was slit cleanly and deeply from one ear to the other. His eyes were closed, and his hair was a matted mess where blood had split around his head. There was no sign of another person being there except the open window. The sill was wet from where the rain had come through the window and paper had been blown about the room. He lay on his bed, the white sheets turned red from the leaking wound, where the murder had taken place. No blood trails were found anywhere and there certainly wasn’t any sign of a struggle. A cross had been slashed into the fisherman’s chest; a mark that was to be found on all future victims of the savage beast.

And that was how it all started. Since that first night nine other people had been slaughtered in their beds, all with their throat cut and the mark etched on their chest. The people of the town were terrified. They had no idea who was going to be next. Doors and windows were locked and bolted to stop the beast entering their homes. But it always found a way. Nowhere was a hiding place. People hid in their cellars but after searching the rest of the house, it soon descended the stairs and found its prey. It was like it was stalking its victim. The beast in black. Silent but deadly. No-one could escape. It always got who it wanted.

Mary lived alone. It was the 10th January. There were no New Year celebrations this year. It didn’t seem right with all those people gone. It was late in the evening and she was in bed. She heard the front door being opened, the front door that she had locked and bolted at sunset. The beast never ventured out in the daylight. It was always at night. They were safe until dusk.

She didn’t know where to go. She knew all about the beast and she knew she was going to die. She knew there was no point in running. She fumbled about in a drawer and pulled out her bible. She gently kissed the leather cover and held it against her chest reciting prayers she had read, while saying her own, praying for safety.

But the beast was bigger than God. God couldn’t save her now. Her house was in darkness. She didn’t want to see it. But wherever she went in the house she could feel it. She looked round but there was nothing there. She heard nothing. No footsteps, no breathing, nothing. Suddenly she felt a gust of wind fly over her. Outside the storm had started up again. Rain fell, and the winds blew. And then she was dead, and the beast was gone.

A magpie sat on the roof of the old lady’s house and let out a tremendous cry. It sounded like a cry of victory. Then with a flap of its giant wings it flew out over the sea into the sunrise. Day never lasted more than six hours now since the beast had started to come. They never had a sunny winter’s day. It was always dark and cloudy. The birds had gone. All that remained were the night birds and crows. All the winter flowers had died, and bodies of dead animals lay everywhere. The town had turned into something out of a horror film. The streets became deserted. No one knew who was next. But they always knew someone had been. The beast had them under its control. Few people dared to go outside now, even in the daylight. They were prisoners in their own homes. The nearest town was five miles away and nobody wanted to be a target for that long, day or night. The town had acquired a deathly silence that was only shattered by the storms in the night or the crows in the day.

The twelfth slaughter happened five days later. It was the local butcher this time. A magpie sat on the roof of his house as the body was carried out of the house. It let out the same cry as the one sat on top of Mary’s house. Nobody noticed it, few people heard it. They had more important things to worry about.

There were more killings. More innocent people died at the hands of the beast in black. Still no one saw it. It was black as the night, as silent as a mouse but as dangerous as a poisonous snake. Fewer people thought it was human. It had extraordinary powers that allowed it to be as quick and as quiet as it was.

The magpie returned, unnoticed by the townspeople, with every death. Crying victoriously and flying off across the sea. However, one day it flew no more.

It was the twenty fifth body that had to be collected. The undertaker was used to seeing dead bodies, but so many of these people were his friends and they were butchered in such a way it was repulsive to look at. He couldn’t take it anymore and he had taken his gun with him just in case there was any sign of the beast. He was to be disappointed. The beast had long gone, just like he had with the other twenty-four deaths.

Frustrated he fired off his pistol as he left the house. He hadn’t intended to kill or hurt anything, but he caught a magpie as it flew off across the sea. The dying bird spiralled as it fell into the sea. As it drew its final breath, it let out a loud cry.

Black smoke rose as it hit the water, thick black smoke that choked the onlookers standing on the beach. And then an image rose from the middle of the frothing waves. At first it was just a blur but is soon became clear what it was. The beast! The monster that had inflicted so much pain and suffering onto the town was there, in front of them, floating above the sea. But still, its face couldn’t be seen. Its huge blade like arms were wrapped round its chest and the rest of its body was covered in what looked like black leather. It just stayed there, floating above the sea and staring at them. Then it unfolded its arms, which glistened in the dawning sun, and laughed, a haunting, cackling laugh that sent shivers down the spines of the townspeople.

“Come to me,” it called in a long, low, fierce voice and then, still laughing, it disappeared in a cloud of black smoke, as lightning lit up the sky.

Was this the end? Had the beast in black really gone?

The next day everything started to return to normal. The birds flew home, the flowers bloomed, and the streets were full of happy people talking about the previous day’s events. The past three months had been a nightmare. Now they could start to live their lives again.

A moving, emotional memorial service was held for all those that died, and a plaque was erected in honour of them. The seaside town become alive again. News of the drama had spread, and many people flocked to what was rapidly becoming known as the beast in black’s hunting ground. The people of the town would rather have forgotten all about it, but they couldn’t seem to get rid of the numerous reporters, photographers and sightseers.

The novelty and hype surrounding the events soon wore off and the people of the town could rebuild their lives in peace, until they read the recent headlines in the national newspaper:

“Terror as Beast in Black strikes again!”

This time it was in London.

 

 

Disclaimer: This piece of writing is solely the property of Dawn King. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this, unless you have the strict permission of the author. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

 

 

 

The Relic

 

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THE RELIC
By Dawn King

It stood in the corner of the shop, forgotten and lost. Around it were the more, glamorous, sportier, quicker models that people wanted. Nobody wanted an old has been that could barely stand up and dated from years gone by. Nowadays people wanted speed, they wanted colour and they wanted power. It just couldn’t compete with them. It was just too old. It had already resigned to the fact that it would see out its last years there in that motorbike shop. Nobody wanted an old BSA motorbike anymore. They wanted the Kawasaki’s, the Ducati’s, the Honda’s and the Yamaha’s of today. It was a relic from the sixties. A slow, unattractive, naked bike that just couldn’t keep up with the needs of young bikers today.

It was in its prime in the sixties. Fresh from the workshop, with its blue petrol tank and chromed up pipework, it would be any biker’s pride and joy. Most riders owned a BSA motorbike then. Gangs would patrol the streets and the back alleys, dressed to the nines in their black leather and denim, scaring old ladies and children with their daredevil riding.

The bike was created in 1967, christened a BSA 250 and it looked a dream as it sat on the dealer’s forecourt. Its chrome piping glistening in the sun and the black, leather seat was hot to the touch. It sat facing the road and it watched in wonder at all the other bikes that passed it during the day. Its cousin, the BAS Goldstar, had become very popular but not everyone could afford one and the 250 came a very close second, soon overtaking the Goldstar in the popularity stakes.

The bike spent its days watching and observing the world and its nights locked up in the showroom with all the other bikes. But it wasn’t happy. It needed something else. It needed to be free and liberated. It needed a rider. Someone to share life with. Someone who would love it and take care of it. It wanted to be ridden, it needed to be ridden. To feel the wind sweep through its exposed engine and the rain fall on its hot petrol tank. It was getting stiff in the showroom. It was only moved twice a day and it feared that the engine would seize up. It dreamt of wide open spaces and beautiful countryside. And of fresh air and long journeys. Life was becoming dull and boring. It wanted excitement. The thrill of racing at top speeds along the open roads…Maybe it was all just a fantasy. Maybe none of it was real. But what if dreams really do come true?

The bike was bought by a young lad of nineteen. All the bike’s prayers and wishes had been answered. This person was going to show it what life was really like. The sensation of speed and the feel of power. It could travel three times around the world with all the pent up energy it had, stored up in its engine. It imagined all the journeys they would take together, all the scrapes they would get into and all the fun they would have together. Life would be great now it had an owner.

It wasn’t to be disappointed either. The boy took the bike everywhere. A special bond grew between man and machine and they soon became inseparable. They fitted together with such simplicity, they were meant to be together. Each was comfortable with the other and they knew how to handle each other. The bike settled into normal life with ease. It had its own parking space in the front garden and was kept dry at night by a protective sheet. It was oiled and watered every week and washed every other day. Its petrol tank was always kept spotless and its piping was always gleaming.

There was nothing more the bike could wish for. They spent their nights touring the surrounding countryside and it was just as beautiful as it had hoped. The stars shone brightly in the sky as the slight murmuring of the engine drove the two of them around the twisting, narrow roads. It let out a roar as it sped passed a slower moving vehicle and round the nearing bend. It felt good to escape everyday life for a while. The thrill of the open road was much more stimulating.

However, the dream couldn’t last. It was a clear night with lots of stars dotted around the sky. But the roads were dark. The boy didn’t see the car coming around the bend until it was too late, and the bike could do nothing but hit it. There was a screech of brakes, the boy was hurled from the saddle and the bike slid across the rough tarmac. The boy landed in a ditch just a few feet away from where the tangled mess that was once a beautiful bike had come to a halt. The boy died instantly, and the bike was seriously damaged.

It took months for the bike to be in working order again. Whenever something was fixed it would always break down again. It wouldn’t start, a chain would fall off or a tyre would puncture. But it didn’t want to get better. It had lost the only person who was prepared to show it what life could really be like. It now felt alone. It hadn’t felt this alone since the days on the forecourt. Who would ride it now? Who would take it for long journeys in the country? Who would make it feel like it was the best bike in the world? It had no one. No one was going to take care of it now and keep it spotlessly clean and polished and looking its best. The boy had done that. It had loved the boy and now it felt empty. No matter how much the pipework was polished, or the petrol tank was scrubbed it just didn’t seem like the same bike that had come off the production line only two years ago. It had lost its sparkle, its enigma and it looked grey and matted all the time.

The bike eventually found a new home. After spending some time travelling from workshop to showroom to owner, it finally found someone it liked. But the relationship wasn’t the same and the bike spent weeks at a time sitting in the front yard not moving and not being cleaned. It was taken out for fewer and fewer journeys as time wore on until one day it was taken out no more. The owner suffered a broken leg and was unable to ride anymore.

When the owner eventually died, the bike was taken to a nearby auction. It was in a terrible state. Headlamps were smashed, the once immaculate chrome pipework had rusted, and the leather seat was torn. It looked older than it was and didn’t attract much attention at the auction. A bike dealer, keen on restoring old bikes, took an interest and offered to take it off the auctioneer’s hands.

The bike was rebuilt to its former glory and although it gleamed in the bright sunshine, there was still something missing. It had no one to love it. The restorer didn’t care. All he was interested in was the profit it would make now it was as good as new. The bike needed love and care. It was at its best when it received that. The engine would always purr like a kitten and nothing would go wrong. But the bike knew it would never be like that again. It had lived its dreams and fulfilled its fantasies.

Now, it was an antique. And a priceless one at that. New, during the sixties, it would have been worth four hundred pounds. What would it be worth now? A useless piece of junk that would clutter this good man’s showroom for years. He had given it a home when no one else would. When no one else cared.

It wondered why it hadn’t been completely destroyed all those years ago in the crash. Maybe then it would have escaped all these years of heartache. Of uselessness and solitude. It wanted to go back to 1967 when the boy had first bought it. Those were the happiest years of its life. Two short years that had changed the course of its being forever. It was happy then…now it was alone. Forever as one. Two didn’t exist anymore. One had died so long ago, and one hadn’t made life go on since. Stuck for eternity in a time warp that would haunt it’s very being for years to come. Nobody wanted it, nobody needed it and certainly nobody loved it. No one would ever love it now. Not with the bikes of the twenty first century around.

It spent two years in the showroom. Surrounded by bikes it neither knew nor understood. It felt like a stranger. A foreigner in its own surroundings. For two years it watched bikes come and go as riders replaced their old bikes. But nobody was interested in a 1967 BSA motorbike. Nobody wanted a bike that couldn’t do more than seventy miles an hour. Nobody wanted the old-fashioned skeletal bike that could tell a thousand stories. It was sad but true. The bike had to spend its last years alone. In the showroom. With just todays youngsters for company.

That was until 1997. Thirty years after it was produced. A customer had wanted a new bike to keep up with the trends of today’s biker. He wanted a Ducati or a Kawasaki. He never intended to buy an antique. But he was smitten as soon as he saw it. It reminded him of his youth. 1967 was the year he had bought his first BSA and he hadn’t seen one since the day he sold his Goldstar. He had to have it. He would have paid a fortune for it. But the dealer accepted a smaller sum and bid farewell to the bike.

At last, the bike was going to feel at home wherever it was taken. They had come from the same era and had been through the same things. For both the sixties were a nostalgic period and together they brought back all those happy memories. The bike remembered the boy and the rider remembered his youth. Never before since 1967 had the bike felt at home. At its final resting place. The little rust that had formed while it was in the showroom was quickly destroyed and soon the bike looked like it had come straight from the factory. Gleaming and shimmering in the sun light. And its youth was finally laid to rest when it was ridden around the same bend as that fateful night. It was hard going back but it had to be done. Ghosts from the past had to be buried and a future had to be sought. A happy future for bike and owner. And they fitted together so well. The bike was to its new owner what salt is to pepper. Two of a kind. A relationship in a million.

And both of them grabbed at it with both hands. They would be together until the end of time. No matter what!!

THE END

 

Disclaimer: This piece of writing is solely the property of Dawn King. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this, unless you have the strict permission of the author. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.