I’ve written previously about how I gain inspiration from a piece of music, and some tracks take me so firmly in their grasp that I just have to write with Spotify on a single track loop until I wrestle that sucker to the ground and get it out of my system.
Well, here’s the latest result. At first, I thought it was going to be a chapter for one of the novels I’m working on, but it stood up on its hind legs and demanded to be something else entirely. A scene from a movie or a completely different novel, or simply a piece of flash fiction that can stand on its own. You decide.
No Time At All
He ended the call, pressed the starter and moved off.
The rain-soaked streets were empty. He could see himself reflected in the darkened office windows as he slid by, the engine purring gently. Power at his fingertips, but under his control.
Now he pushed.
The response was instantaneous, and he snicked his way up the gears, the wheel responding to his gentle inputs, the car twisting with him as though attached to his waist. He looked, it turned. Streetlights flashed rhythmically overhead, luminous metronomes as he tore along the sleeping streets, the growl of the engine echoing from blank-eyed walls, amber, white, amber, white, amber, white. White lines blinked at the corner of his vision, whispering encouragement. Faster, faster, faster, faster, faster, faster, faster…
Then there was no more road – just him, the car, the night, the music, oh, the aching music, every beat reminding him of her, her face filling his vision, her voice whispering in his ears, her soft skin sliding against his, their lips pressed together, the taste of her lingering in his mouth, the smell of her filling his nostrils.
He had found her in the city.
And now, had he lost her too?
How could that have happened? What could she have done?
He pressed the pedal harder, hyperspacing the snarling sportster, his heartbeat like the pistons throbbing loudly, knowing that he had no choice. He took the bend flat out, caressing the car around the gentle curve, feeling his body pressed into the leather, sensing the tyres at their limit but holding his nerve. There was no time to waste.
He had to get there fast.
He had to get there now.
There was only now. There was no yesterday, there was no tomorrow, just the imperative of this very moment, impelling him forward, knowing that every second lost made the certainty of losing her ever more real.
Forward, forward, forward. If it had been a horse, he would have used the whip, uncaring of the life being given by the beast beneath him, sacrificing itself for him to make his own sacrifice. All else was just a blur now. He had lost awareness of everything around him, reduced to just a tunnel of streaking lights, the thrum of rain on the roof and a strange, floating sensation.
He became aware of focus returning. Some inner sense began to recognise the space around him, the pattern of light and shadow of the tall buildings, the darkness of the moon-flecked water on one side. White headlights in procession rushed towards him, red tail lights came more slowly and he realised he was in traffic.
There, there was the junction, and he flipped the paddles to change down, braked hard and cranked the wheel, accelerating hard again as soon as he had made the ninety-degree turn. Now there were more cars, more people too, filling the sidewalk, spilling out of restaurants and bars, flagging down cabs and huddling under writhing umbrellas. He could see the cursing mouths as he swerved past pedestrians and kerb-crawling cars, focusing entirely on the space between them, his eyes scanning the road far ahead.
Another mile to go. The longest sixty seconds of his life. Red, amber, green, he treated just the same, hurtling along the city streets in his carbon fibre cocoon, uncaring for his own life or for others.
And then he was running, the car kerbed and forgotten as his pumping legs carried him through parting crowds, past white coats and blue overalls, up and on, up and on, through neon corridors, panting up stairs taken three at once to avoid the crowded elevators, following pointed fingers and arrowed signs.
Until he was there.
Until she was there.
She was there.
There, she was.
She was not.
She was gone.
He wept for all time.
© Henry Hyde 2016
The track? “Breathing Fire” by Flares, from the album Dimensions Divide Us.