That noise is getting louder. The sound of thin tires on wet gravel. The sound of deluge, of the “swish, swish” of wipers, the gangling of keys in the ignition, moving in counter time to the car. And there, almost imperceptible amidst it all; a last heartbeat.
You fall and flutter, eyelids heavy into consciousness with your head rattling gently against the cold glass of the motorcar. If everything is right and everything should be right; a black and silver 1951 Buick Eight. The rain is pouring down upon the polished surfaces with a relentless power; it gleams in the dark as it rumbles through this awful night, carrying two new passengers on their terrible mission.
You look at your legs. They are female and clad in dark silk stocking. You weren’t expecting that, you look at the driver of the car, he is not Ringo Starr (thank God) he looks back and say, ”How come you always get the nice bodies to in habit?”
You do not answer; just coldly look out at the road as lightning streaks across the cloudy night sky, illuminating the vast banks of fern trees on either side of the bumpy highway.
You remember the mission. You remember that the driver doesn’t know why he’s driving, that neither of you know where you are, that there are things that need to be checked: Is this the right year? Where are you? Will you be able to navigate to your target? On the dash board there is a newspaper, Geneva daily times, New York State, the date say Monday 21st January 1952. . Between your legs, a handbag. Inside, a wallet, I.D., cigarettes, a small bottle of bourbon, make up. You light up two Camels at the same time and hand one to the driver. You must hide, at least for now, take up the strange customs of this barbaric time. A swig of bourbon and a quick glance at you papers confirms this is the right body you’ve taken. Millicent (Millie) Pen, born August 5th 1930, a seamstress by trade, a good catholic girl by all accounts whose made a mistake, she’s fallen in love a hoodlum, an Irish boy from the wrong side of the tracks; Chuck O’Conner, a small time gangster, with some tenuous connection to a Syracuse, N.Y. gang. Their bodies were never found. And you know with the horror of true hindsight that they never will. Perfect.
You pass a dwelling, thin strips of light pierce the shuttered windows, protecting against the building storm. A road sign confirms your location and the newspapers headline confirms your target.
“Local man Survives Canal Ordeal”. Brent Harwood, 46 of East Geneva managed to survive for eight hours in the up turned hull of a commercial logging barge which capsized Saturday Afternoon, Local fire-fighters had to call in specialist lifting gear from the Seneca, Army Depot. Mr Harwood kept his spirits high by singing gospel songs and warding of the freezing temperature by performing the Watusi.
There is a job to do tonight. It will not be pleasant. It will involve pain and blood. And once again you will murder the innocent. This “local” man. Once again you will destroy forever those that have struggled to stay alive. All they have done is what two and half million years of evolution have programmed them to do. Stay alive and keep out of harms way. And now what? You will kill those who have persevered to do the right thing, not realising that through that one act of will, that one act of survival that they have caused the time slip and allowed it to come through. Something.. Some horror. Some intelligence. Some malign, shapeless blasphemy.
So how shall we begin? Shall we talk to them, shall we apologise for the terror we are about to bring into their little lives? (Is that a smile you’re smiling)? Or straight to the guns and knives? (Yes, it is a smile) Guns and knives? (Is that heart beginning to beat within that cadaver you now in habit?) Or shall we just burn the fuckers alive!! Hahahahaha you’re laughing in your head and you can’t stop it. It seems so funny, the idea of covering them in petrol and setting fire to them. Watching them burn! Hahahaha. You turn to the driver. He seems to be in control. The time journey psychosis (TJP) doesn’t seem to be affecting him as much as you. Perhaps it’s because he a dullard; a pencil pushing dullard.
“Shall we just burn ‘em? Burn em alive?” You ask.
He starts to snigger. He’s trying to suppress it, but the snigger becomes louder, bigger and eventually overwhelming. He laughs so hard he spits blood and phlegm onto the windscreen.
You look at his new body. Handsome, square jawed, big through the shoulders, you run your hands over chest and arms, and his muscles feel tight. He’s fit, almost brutally so. On his knuckles a tattoo – U.S.M.C. Here was a man who probably experienced horror, killed other men through a heartbeat in his mind. Watched the falling corpse through his cross hairs. Listened in the comfort of artificial smoke to the “Thump. Thump” and the child like pleading and prayers. This man who took care of this body and set his mark in this world by shear physical strength and iron will. And Ringo number 554390; a pen pushing bureaucrat with a midriff you could only part with a car jack- has come along and pushed this fine man out of his frame and killed him, as though he was as significant as an ant. And now you both get to play with these powerful cadavers.
“Yeah”. He says, taking a deep lung full of air. ”Let’s burn em. Burn ‘em all.” Hahah hah
You arrive at Mr Harwood’s homestead and park beneath a streetlight at the bottom of the dirt track that leads off the main highway. The light buffets around in the wind and as you step from the car you watch your shadow dance beneath your feet, stretch back and forth across the uneven gravel. You stand for a moment enjoying the pouring rain, you open your mouth skyward and let it touch you lips and tongue; there is no rain in the force bubble of the future, just climate control. There are no cigarettes; there is no bourbon, no porno, no fornication and no children. There is very little laughter. There is the hollowness of repetition, endless research and tasteless rations. The future is a concrete maze from which escape is impossible. And the only colour in the city of future is the artereal spray from the numerous and violent suicides.
So, to work. The boot opens with a screech and there are the goodies; the intelligence and historical research department had done their homework. A pair of torches, a .25 revolver, a 9mm colt auto and a Remington pump action shotgun with plenty of ammo to go around and a toolbox; all the fun of the fair. Poor Mr Harwood, what and evening we have in store …
Coming soon: Part Two, wittily entitled “What are you going to do with those pliers?”