The light turned red. I tapped the brake pedal. With a bang, the car’s bonnet scrunched up before my eyes and I slammed into the steering wheel. My hands trembled as I groped for the door lever, pulled it and jumped out on jelly legs. The horn blared. Out of the mist of radiator steam, a man ran to me.
‘I’m so sorry! It’s so quiet usual,’ he said.
‘What the—? You came out of nowhere.’
‘I know, I know. It’s me. I’m in the wrong, I admit it.’ He rubbed his hands together.
In the glow of the streetlights, I studied his features. High cheek bones, light brown hair flowing to the shoulder blades, and a goatee beard. Reminded me of Jorg from Skyn. Probably a fan. Dizzy, I staggered to the kerb and sat down on it.
He squatted beside me. ‘Are you not well?’ What was his accent? German?
‘No! I mean, Yes. I mean, no, I’m fine.’
‘Do you need an ambulance? A hospital?’
I rubbed my chest. Funny, I hit the steering wheel hard and yet no tenderness. The light-headedness had eased with the sitting. ‘No, I think I’ll be okay.’
‘Are you sure? You did a very good job of car crashing and your car doesn’t look very well.’
I snorted with a brief laugh. Sort of joke Gunter would say. ‘Yeah, well, I guess when I crashed into yours, I sent mine to an early grave. What about yours? I hit it pretty hard.’
‘My Charger, she is fine. I have made some alterations to her and I do not want the traffic policeman looking at them.’ The Jorg-looking-Gunter-sounding man waved at his sleek orange car and it maneuvered itself out of the empty intersection and into the carpark of a cheap auto parts store.
‘Like your car moves by itself?’
He nodded. ‘Also a force-field. I do not want the traffic policeman to find out about that. I am so sorry I wrecked your car. I hope we can come to some arrangement…that does not involve the policemen.’
‘But I rear-ended you. Probably I wasn’t looking.’
‘Actually, I have a confession,’ he said touching my arm. ‘You did not see my car because my car was cloaked. Because I was avoiding traffic policeman.’
I pulled my arm away and locked eyes with him. ‘You what? My only form of—’ then I remembered. I’m on Mirror World. I don’t want brushes with the law either. ‘And what arrangement might that be? A new car? A car to replace this mangled wreck? What did you say your name was?’
‘Jorg,’ he said, ‘and I will a new car get, I promise. I have money and friends to help you.’
This guy’s sounding more like Gunter with each word he speaks. ‘It’s okay, I have friends too, I’ll sort it out.’
‘I insist. The least I can do is drive you home. And I will talk to some of my friends. I must do this for you, Miss Mueller.’
Miss Mueller? How did he know my name? I closed my eyes and concentrated on his thoughts. Gunter. I was right. I grabbed him and then hugged him. Yes, his salty musky scent. ‘Gunter? Amazing—it is you. Everyone said you were dead.’
‘For good reason, Holly.’ Gunter leaned from me and then gazed into my eyes. ‘I knew with your gifts, I could not escape you. But I trust you will not tell.’
‘I won’t, I promise. Are you on a mission?’
He nodded. ‘First we deal with your car, and then we can go to talk somewhere.’
My hands took on a life of their own and began frisking my body in search of my mobile phone. ‘I’ll call for a tow truck and—’
Gunter latched onto my wrist. ‘You must not do that in Mirror World.’
‘What?’ Pat my pockets for my phone?
‘I will deal with your little red problem.’
He released my hand, then dug in his back pocket and retrieved a laser gun. ‘Do you have anything valuable in your little red car wreck?’
‘Just my handbag and my mobile phone, I think.’
After I raced to the car and retrieved my valuables, Gunter aimed his weapon at my car. ‘I like it on this road at eleven o’clock at night when there is no one around.’
As he charged up his weapon a white car with red cherries on top approached from South Road. We tracked the patrol car’s progress as it lurked over the intersection.
‘Good thing this is Mirror World, he’s on the other side and will have to go halfway up the hill before he can do a U-turn,’ I said.
‘If he does not decide to break the law because he is a policeman on Mirror World.’
I suspended all breathing while the police patrol disappeared behind the trees of the hotel carpark opposite, then I breathed out. ‘Hurry.’
The laser emitted a red ray and with a painless puff, my little red car ceased to exist.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2020
Feature Photo: sunset over Flaggy © L.M. Kling 2016
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