Friday 20th January 2012
Sounds and words heard when in hiding
BAGS, boxes and grey sacking afforded little space in the rear of the van, but I was content to remain an unobtrusive passenger while Rose went about her duties, frequently halting the cage in order to deliver envelopes and parcels.
“I’ll be gone a few minutes, checking on old George. Don’t worry. Just stay put.”
I shuffle forward slightly, intending to peer through the van’s window, when, suddenly, over the brow ahead, comes the bright headlamp of a motor bicycle, ridden by a helmeted figure in the black and yellow livery of the Guvver Munt’s henchmen.
I shrink back behind the sacks, listening to the throb of the bicycle’s engine, its slowing to a hum, followed by the tock-tock of cooling metal, a crunch of boot on stone, and the creak of leather.
Then, dreadfully, I can hear the door being opened, loud breathing and…
…the blare of the van’s klaxon.
I consider rushing from my hiding-place, pushing open the rear doors and taking to the air once more, but the intruder moves away, across the lane. Moments later I can hear Rose’s laughter as she greets the newcomer, a gruff-voiced male.
They converse for some time. I feared lest she is telling him about her stowaway. Footsteps tell me they are approaching.
“…always leave the van unlocked?”
“Out ear I do.”
“Do you think that’s wise?”
“No, but I does take the keys out! An besides––”
She is interrupted by a terrible tune coming from the phone on the passenger seat.
“Eyed better answer that. You take care, Dave. Hope you find your missing person. Ta-ra.”
The van shudders as Rose clambers into her seat.
A pause, as she listens. Outside, the motor bicycle purrs. Rose closes the van door.
“Yeh, yeh… but ang on a second. Things is a bit busy.”
The bicycle engine beats louder, faster. The sound passes along the side of the van and beyond, quickly fading into the distance.
Rose whispers in my direction:
“You can come out now, missy. Phone call for you. Summon called Arthur.”