a large whisky, without water
James awoke with a start. He was bathed in sweat, although the duvet had slipped to the floor. He realized his heart was thumping, he sensed the high level of adrenaline in his blood and he had a feeling of dread. Something awful must have happened. As he normalized his breathing by slowly filling and emptying the whole of his lungs, he looked about him. Everything seemed familiar, he was in his own bed, in his own bedroom, it was just getting light and his watch said 07.05.
As he calmed, he realized that what he had seen must have been in a dream. He remembered being in his car which was slewed across the highway. There was shouting and alarms were sounding, and in his mirror he saw blood running down his neck. Rapping on the glass alerted him to the face of a man who was shouting through the window. He thought he heard the words ‘Hang on mate, we’ll get you out.’ The remaining events faded. He was perplexed, as he seldom had dreams and on the odd occasion when he reckoned they had occurred, he could never recall even the tiniest part of the content. He concentrated but couldn’t remember anything else. His body gradually reverted to normality.
On his way to the bathroom, he looked out of the window and saw that his Audi was parked in its usual place. There was no sign of any damage to the bodywork and it was spotless, as only last evening, on returning from the office, he had driven it through the Auto wash, after he had filled up with petrol. He put it out of his mind and concentrated on his shower.
Whilst waiting for his bread to toast, he again thought about what he had endured. The clothes that he had worn yesterday were perfectly alright, hanging neatly in his wardrobe. The sitting room was exactly as he expected, having spent last evening at home watching television. He was baffled. As he lifted his coffee cup it occurred to him that if the content of the dream had not taken place, it might be something that was due to happen in the future. That was even more worrying. How could he prevent a car accident other than to not drive? His mind reviewed his diary for the day, and he calculated that he could travel to work on the bus, but tomorrow he would need his car to visit customers.
On that Tuesday, he did use the bus and the following day he took his car. He drove extra carefully all day and nothing happened. He told his boss about the dream and the effect it had on him.
‘I shouldn’t worry James. It’s probably something you saw on TV, or in a film. Perhaps one of your customers mentioned something to you. Forget it; these things happen all the time. I don’t think there’s such a thing as premonition.’
Time passed and James did forget the incident, largely because he attended a sales fair in Berlin, and returned having received orders for goods to be supplied to customers in Hungary, Poland and Romania, which he expected would nett his firm over three million pounds. Not only was his boss over the moon, but the Chairman sent for him to offer personal congratulations and confirmation of a pay rise, extra bonus, and a new company car. In fact he could choose whatever model he desired, up to the cost to the company of £50,000.
It was whilst looking through the BMW brochures and reading about the various cars, their specifications and performance, that he remembered his dream. He laughed to himself, shaking his head and wondering why he had been so concerned. The safety aspects of the latest models were incredible and it was improbable, according to the blurb, that in the unlikely event of a driver suffering an accident, he would incur an injury. Before he went to bed, he earmarked the model he would order, and chose the colour options of either black or silver.
‘Yes,’ answered James, only half concentrating on the voice at the other end of the telephone.
‘It’s Corbett’s here sir, your BMW has arrived.’
‘Oh, good.’ He was now fully attentive.
‘It will be ready for you to collect anytime after two pm tomorrow.’
‘Right, thanks, the firm’s keeping mine for another employee, so I’ll get someone to drop me off around four, if that’s OK?’
‘That will be fine sir; we’ll look forward to seeing you then.’
James was not a car enthusiast; he often repeated that it was a box, to get him from A to B. The thought of his new vehicle did however cause a shiver of excitement, as he checked his diary for the following day. At the very least, his customers would be impressed when he drove onto their car parks.
‘Alan, as you’re having my Audi, would you like to take me to Corbett’s tomorrow afternoon, so I can pick up my new car?’
‘Of course James, what time should we leave?’
‘About three, if that’s OK?’
‘No probs. mate, I’ll sort it.’
As they traveled to the car dealer, James listened, as Alan excitedly described how his girlfriend of nearly six months, was looking forward to being chauffeured around in an Audi.
‘She thinks I’ve really made it, although it’s three years old. How soft is the leather on the back seat James?’ he laughed.
‘I’m afraid I don’t know, I obviously don’t get the opportunities that you do.’
All James needed to do was insert the odd yes, or no, as his young colleague kept up his commentary. He heaved a sigh of relief when they arrived at Corbett’s.
It took over an hour for the formalities to be completed at the dealership, as although James believed he was sufficiently experienced in the operation of modern cars, the Sales Manager insisted on the full spiel. I suppose that’s a must when you spend so much money with them, James thought.
It was therefore almost six o’ clock when James drove away his new, black hatchback. Within a mile, he was on an A road, and as he relaxed after selecting fifth gear, he appreciated just how powerful his new car was, so he eased back with his right foot. He thought that before he set off, he should have switched on the radio, as it contained a satellite receiving facility that automatically advised him of the weather conditions and any upcoming road hazards.
He decided not to attempt the operation while he was motoring along, so was unprepared when he turned a corner and saw a car on its roof in a field on his left, and two vehicles wedged against the central reservation barrier. He switched on his hazard lights and braked so that he could park on the nearside of the highway. As he climbed out, he heard emergency alarms in the distance.
A glance to his left indicated that the driver of the Mondeo had escaped from his upside down silver saloon and was standing scratching his head, no doubt wondering how he had got there. After checking behind him and registering a slowing Land Rover, James skipped across to the central reservation, where he identified the car with the crushed front. He peered through the shattered side window and saw Alan’s head at a strange angle, resting on the steering wheel. There was blood running from a gash on his forehead.
As the ambulance drew up alongside him, James was about to shout, ‘Hang on mate, we’ll get you out’, when he remembered Alan’s last words. ‘Actually James, now I’ve got your motor, I might dump Lucy, I reckon I can get somebody better.’
Submission from Roger Noons.
I began writing fiction in 2006, and have become addicted. I try to write at least a little every day. In the last two years I have begun writing poems, and some of my output is non fiction. I hope soon to publish a slim volume of 26 short stories, and by the end of the year, a novella.