Would often stand here as a kid, peering through the railings at the big house, wondering what it must be like inside. Used to catch a glimpse of the people who lived there, big flashy car, kids at the posh school outside town. People said the bloke what owned the place was worth millions, made his money from property, or something like that. Apparently he lives there on his own now. Wife left him for someone else, is what they’re saying, took the kids with her. Wonder if I knocked on the door he’d let me have a look round?
We stood in small groups, huddled close to one another, in the forlorn hope that this might help us, and we looked up at the sky. A loud voice echoed from behind the dark clouds that were blocking the sun’s warming rays.
“Oh my children!” it cried, “Why do you ignore me?”
We dropped to our knees, hands clasped together in prayer, eyes fixed on the ground.
“I took away your moon and stars in the hope it would bring you to your senses, but still you anger me. You leave me no choice. Tomorrow I take away your sun.”
“It’s freezing out there Jimmy, and it’s started snowing. Why don’t we give it a miss and go down the pub instead.”
“No chance mate! The boss was insistent, said it had to be tonight, and what the boss says, we do.”
“Suppose so, but why tonight?”
“All to do with the weather Billy. Seems we’re in for the coldest night of the winter. By morning the lake will be frozen solid and will stay that way for weeks. That’s why we have to kill her tonight and get her body in that lake while we still can. You ready?”
The ignominy of it all! The stares she was getting from passers by, the derisory honking of horns, all so utterly embarrassing. Didn’t they realise she was a classic, a beautiful example of an age when cars were cars. Yet they had the audacity to tether her to this platform and tow her along behind, what nowadays was laughingly described as a modern automobile. Oh, how standards had dropped. If only she could shake off these shackles and drive off under her own stream. Then she would show these philistines what a real lady of the road was capable of.
I thrust my hands further into my coat pocket and pulled my collar tighter around my neck. I looked again at my watch. He was late, over thirty minutes late, not like him. I looked across the road at the diner, wondering if I should go inside and wait. No, he’d been quite insistent we meet outside.
I spun round when I heard a voice, one I instantly recognised.
“He’s not coming my love. The man of your dreams, the one you were leaving me for, he’s been detained… permanently! Give me your case sweetheart, it’s time I took you home.”
We always knew that playing a concert in that war torn country would be a risk. Our group came under fire on the last night as we made our way back to the hotel. I was unlucky. Wrong place at the wrong time. The bullet narrowly missed my neck but buried itself in my ribs. Nothing fatal, but the damage caused was enough to put an untimely end to what was destined to be a glittering career. I now sit in one of the practice rooms. A spare instrument for students to practice on and young children to play with.