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The big green car by Simon Collinson

It was dark and horrible that night and the mist danced around as my car dragged its way through the country lanes around Burtonwood. I wondered what gloomy and  lonely lanes this car was straying through. Unsure of what lay beyond every twist and bend.

The dreariness was just dreadful around these parts. The dreariness clung to these tenebrous lanes like some heavy chain. The mist clung to these hedged lanes like some suffocating membrane.

The trees clung about in a threatening lurch , with all their rustling conspiracies , snarling branches flailing  towards the car.

I’d just passed my test and my first car was a heavy green monster that spouted out more smoke and fumes to add to the misty , dreary night.

Feeling nervous from the heavy controls of the car. There seemed to be a delay between me pressing something and the car responding. I wish I'd got a smaller, lighter car now.

To celebrate, I had a right car full that night. My wife in the front , the kids in the back with their friend Sara, and I wished it wasn’t so crowded. I felt weighed down by responsibility.

I was getting more anxious by the minute. Sweat running down my face and arms. Heart beating faster. I didn’t feel fully in control of this heavy machine.

I wasn’t sure what was ahead with the mist and darkness. There wasn’t much lighting on these lanes.

I came to a junction. At least there was a light here , even if it was a dull yellow one.. The curling mist was at its most capricious: now you see it , now you don’t.

Then I saw a girl standing on the edge of the junction. She was the same height and age as Sara and she was wearing a bright violet coat.

The car was too close to her. It was going to hit her! I veered sharply. Had I moved the car in time? Had the car responded in time?

“What have you done that for?” came the cries all around. The passengers hadn’t appreciated being jolted.

I told them I was trying to avoid the girl on the edge of the grass verge back there.

“What girl? We didn’t see anyone!”

“The one wearing the bright violet coat,” I said.

No one had seen anybody on that junction.

My mind was full of worries that I might have hit her.

“You need your eyes tested.”

But I got out and walked the 100 or so yards back to the junction. The mist was still swirling and it was cold. The mist was getting thicker and clinging to my face as I reached the junction. There was nobody there. No sign of a body.

I turned around relieved and went to walk back to the car; my limbs seemed slowed down by all the tension and anxiety released from my head to my legs and arms.

I noticed the mist was now lifting somewhat and I could see the hedgerows more clearly.

But there was no sign of the car I had walked away from not less than 2 minutes ago.

The mist had now lifted completely. The big green car was gone. There was no sign of the girl or the junction. I didn’t have a clue where I was.

Nothing looked familiar to me anymore.

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