Are we there yet?

“Slowly?” I repeat.

Colin shrugs and Max looks worried.

“Any better ideas?”

I shake my head. I really don’t, but I do know that we have got to get out of this and walking is not something we can do. We’ll be dead long before we get out of the smoke.

“What about the car?” Max says. I can tell that he is listening to the engine. It sounds fine.

“Well, if there isn’t too much ash in the air then it should be fine.”

“Otherwise?” I ask.

“Colin meets my eyes in the rear view mirror. “The car will stop as the air filter clogs up.”

“Well,” Max says. “I suggest that we get going.”

“Yeah,” Colin mutters. I can see that he is tense. He slowly eases the car out of the space. He goes forward so he must have backed in but I can barely see the hood of the car. The smoke rolls off the windshield and we move slowly forward.

“You have insurance?” Max asks with smile.

“Ha.” Is all Colin says. He is hunched over the steering wheel and edging forward. We pass very close to a pillar, I watch it shift past. It is as if we are moving through a dream.

The pillar must mean we are out of the car park but I don’t say anything. I don’t want to break Colin’s concentration. He turns one way. I can’t see how he knows where we are going.

“I’ve done this run so many times I could do it with my eyes closed. Course I never realised I ever would.”

Max smiles at Colin but I am barely holding it together. I am so scared that we will crash. We have already come close to a parked car.

“They are going to be a problem,” Colin says.

“The parked cars?” Max asks.

Colin nods. I am having problems hearing over the racing engine.

“You don’t have to gun it,” I say.

Colin grimaces. “I’m not. I think the soot is clogging the air filter.”

We sit in silence listening to the labouring engine. It has developed a cough and although I’m not a mechanic, sounds ill.

I am about to ask how much longer we can go on when I see a car coming toward us. I see…

“Guys, can you see that?”

“Yeah,” Max says. “The smoke must be clearing.”

The car passes us and I press my face to the cold window trying to see out. The driver is staring ahead with a fixed expression. In the back I can see a small face. I think it is a child, but I can’t see well. I make a big gesture of a wave and I see a small hand send one back. The child makes me think of the one from the plane.

“Do you think they are still at the airport?” I ask.

“I didn’t hear the child, so no,” Max says. But I know what he is saying. If we didn’t hear the screams of the kid, he either couldn’t scream or he was too far away for us to hear.

“What about the radio?” I ask suddenly.

Max immediately reaches down and switches the thing on. Static fills the air. It starts to search…

This…. Emergency broadcast. Please stay in your homes and await instruction. This is an emergency broadcast. Please stay in your homes. This…

“Oh God…” I mumble and then louder. “What has happened?”

Max just shakes his head. Colin says nothing.

The car is moving faster and I can see that the smoke is clearing. I’m not sure where we are, but Colin seems to know where he is going. I don’t question him. I just listen to the same few sentences coming over the radio. The car is sounding bad. The engine is vibrating slightly and it is loud.

“I’m going to have to stop,” Colin says finally. “Otherwise the engine might go.”

“So?” Max says.

“At the moment all it needs is a new air filter but if is goes I’m not sure I can fix it. Changing an air filter is something I can do.”

Grudgingly we agree. Colin pulls onto a large grass verge and turns off the engine. The silence is complete.


About Kate

Kate Murray has recently completed her Masters in Creative Writing and is currently working as an illustrator and writer. Her first anthology of short stories ‘The Phantom Horse’ was published in December 2013 and she subsequently has had another anthology published by Raging Aardvark; “Love Just Is” looks at the truth of love, in all its guises from romantic to obsessive. She is currently working on an anthology of ghost stories which should be published at the end of October 2014 and is also writing her first novel. Kate runs two blogs, one is about her life as a writer ( and the other is a serialisation of a novel, “The Gone”; a disaster hits the world while Bitsy is on a flight from Italy. She lands to find that the world is completely altered and she must learn to survive in a place where everyone is not who they appear to be ( Kate has had short stories published in magazines and e-zines, including ‘The Lampeter Review’, ‘Jotter’s United’, and ‘What The Dickens’. She has had short stories included in the ‘Twisted Tales 2013’ anthology published by Raging Aardvark, and the ‘Busker Anthology’ and ‘Spooky Tales Anthology’ published by What the Dickens. Kate’s artwork has been exhibited at the Museum Of Modern Art in Machynlleth where she was selected after entering the art competition and at Aberglasney Gardens as part of the Mid Wales Art group. Her artwork has been published by companies from Norway to Australia and her latest works will have illustrations in it. She has also had a series of line drawings published by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust in their biodiversity action plan. Kate currently works in the foothill of the Cambrian Mountains where she has a purpose built workshop that she affectionately calls her ‘house’ as she spends far more time in there than anywhere else.
This entry was posted in Chapter 3 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Are we there yet?

  1. Kate says:

    Reblogged this on Kate Murray and commented:

    Another bit of Chapter 3. It took me all day but I managed…

  2. This is having me on the edge of my seat. I like the little bits at a time. I am not sure I would be brave enough to do it as I tend to go back and fix details and add in some foreshadowing in my writing.

    This is turning out beautifully.

    • Kate says:

      Thanks. I must admit, not being able to edit or add things have got me working differently, but I am enjoying it. I’m glad you are too. 🙂

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