|Bed For The Night
Author: cleaningthetractorwiththat PM
A Survivors 1975 short set a few days after the "Corn Doly" episode.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 1,612 - Published: 08-06-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8400276
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Greg was tired. A rough night has been followed by a day that had wore on. Dusk had somehow caught them out and the Cortina was now being lashed by rain and strong winds as he motored along unforgiving narrow country lanes.
Even with frantic wipers and lights on full beam, driving was becoming difficult and his belly was moaning. Unreasonably his tired head at that moment would have flung the wretched can opener in the river he was driving by.
Jenny and Abby sat in the back, mostly silent as the miles had gone by.
A particularly strong gust pushed the car and Greg's usually strong resolve cracked. He pulled over. As he stopped, the car felt even more fragile and it was possible to hear the full thunder of the wind.
"Have you any idea where we are?" asked Greg obviously in a temper.
"Of course." Abby said quietly, but firmly, an AA road atlas on her knees. A clutch of ordnance survey maps littered the foot well of the backseats.
"It's getting rather late." Jenny said something they all knew too well.
"And my belly thinks its throats cut." Said Greg. Another sudden gust rocked the car and Greg's temper "And if you think I'm pitching the tent..."
Abby fished in the bag she had beside her and found a Mars bar and chucked it at Greg. "Thanks." Abby glanced up from the map to see a much more content Greg savagely biting into the bar. A withering thought about men crossed her mind.
"I don't see that we've much choice. Pitch the tent or sleep in the car." Reasoned Abby practically.
Jenny spotted that Greg had devoured the last bite and was scrunching up the wrapper. To avoid the obvious response from Greg she ventured. "We could find a house."
"It's too dangerous Jenny." Abby stood her ground well. The further they were from dead people and animals the better.
Greg shuffled round in the driver's seat to face the two girls and grab a better look at the map. "Look, where are we."
Abby stabbed a finger towards the edge of the page. "About six miles outside of Forest Town." Greg fished on the floor found and found three maps. He discarded two and unfurled the local one.
"Right," He said clearing the chocolate from his teeth with his tongue. "There?" he showed the map to Abby who confirmed that they were where Greg's finger was pointing.
"Well there's a pub just down the road. Probably coming up to opening time."
Greg shuffled back into the driver's seat, he had made his decision.
"It's too dangerous." Abby repeated pointedly.
"What are you afraid of?" Greg replied in a much better mood, as he reached for the ignition. "Ghosts."
Abby was rather annoyed that Greg wasn't listening and had made a final decision. "No. Just cholera, typhoid." Greg started the car Abby spoke up over the engine. "And god knows what else!"
Greg turned round smiling and knowing that for the moment he has won the day. Abby was thin lipped; Jenny looked tired and didn't want any sort of argument. "Have you never heard of the antiseptic powers of alcohol?" Said Greg jollily and he started to move the car off.
"There it is, there." Jenny spotted the place. "Pull in Greg."
Greg turned the Cortina into the pub car park. Jenny caught sight of the sign "The Hangman's Noose!" Jenny shivered uncomfortably.
Parking near the entrance but with plenty of space to get away if he needed too Greg switched off the engine. The rain continued to lash. "Shall we go in then?" Greg waved at Jenny "Just give it a moment first." The three of them listened hard. Just the weather. With no wipers, demister or lights it was becoming difficult to see anything either.
Greg reached for the large heavy wrench which they had taken to keeping inside the glove compartment. It was becoming too dark to see properly so reluctantly he switched on the headlights. He turned to the girls as he reached for the door handle. "Abby, you get in front. Just in case."
Abby slammed the driver's door shut against the wind and the rain. Jenny leant over from the back to see the distorted picture of Greg approach the main doors.
Parka hood pulled up Greg could feel the rain already starting to seep through his jeans. He rattled the door a few times, but it was clearly locked and he returned quickly to the car.
Abby expected him to give up but he appeared by her window which she wound down. "It's locked. I'm going to try round the back."
"Ok!" said Abby. "Be careful Greg." Added Jenny.
Abby quickly wound the window up and cautiously she pushed down the button to lock the door from the inside.
" !" The boot flew open frightening the girls half to death. Greg reached for the Eveready torch and flicked it on. The batteries gave barely a glimmer. "Ah!"
Greg smiled he wasn't going to give up. "And for my next trick." He fished inside his parka pockets and produced a lighter. "See you in a bit!"
The boot door slammed down. "And what's he going to do with that in this gale?" Abby remarked.
The back door thankfully had a rain porch which gave Greg time to collect his thoughts. He tried the door, it was on a latch and it was open. Lighter in one hand and wrench in the other Greg gingerly opened the door with his boot.
A nervous ten minutes passed in the car. Greg made the girls hearts jump again as he suddenly opened the passenger door, reappearing with no warning. "Greg!" complained Jenny.
Abby tried not to show that Greg had made her jump too "Well?" she asked.
Greg smiled happily "There's lots of beer."
"Is it safe?" Abby continued in a you know what I mean tone.
"Well, there's no one about and no sign that anyone has been near the place for weeks. And luckily for us the only stink is from the rotting cabbage in the kitchen."
"Yerg" Said Jenny.
"No, it's much better than that Jen. It's one of those pub restaurant places. Maybe a bit pricey but it will do for one night. There's tins in the kitchen, and I don't mean baked beans, and bedrooms upstairs."
Abby's back said to her brain 'thank god'. Days of sleeping in the car or on the camp beds had taken their toll. She allowed herself to be carried away by Greg's enthusiasm. "And no dead bodies."
Greg didn't reply, he just dived back into the rain "Last one in's a rotten egg." Laughing Jenny rushed to follow. Abby sensibly switched off the car lights, grabbed the car keys and locked it before dashing over.
Greg had left a candle burning in the back room. He closed the doors after the girls. Wedging a broom against it he asked Jenny to fetch some pans from the kitchen. "Pans?"
"Yep, bigger the better."
Jenny returned and Greg made a small tower beside the door.
"Burglar alarm." He explained.
Greg didn't know which was better, the full belly, (no beans), the half pint sitting on top of the full belly, the half pint still to drink, or the roaring blaze in the hearth in front of him. He was content with it all, for the first time in, well for the first time really.
Jenny put her drink on the table. "Do you think that there are many places like this? I mean without people."
"I wouldn't have thought so." said Abby sipping on her Gin.
Greg looked into the flames and mused "The death took everything. The people, the towns, the cities, the streets. Enjoy it whilst you can girls. This is a rare taste of a life long since gone," Greg stretched his feet out nearer the fire and reached for his pint.
"Spose so." Agreed Jenny forlornly.
"Then we had better live it up." Abby reached for a menu on the table next to them, "What's the most expensive drink," She flicked over a page "Champagne!"
"No ice!" reminded Greg putting a bad memory to the back of his head.
"Right!" Jenny got to her feet. "Where'd they keep it?" She took one of the candles and headed to the bar. Abby followed.
Lifting the bar gate Abby searched and found an extensive wine rack, "Here we are Jen. Châteaux 62." Abby plonked the bottle on the bar and soon three glassed chinked beside it.
"Do you want some Greg?" Jenny asked.
Greg shook his head "Got any whisky?"
Abby bobbed down and was soon plonking various bottles on the bar. "Whisky, gin, scotch, take your pick."
"Come on Greg." Jenny waved the Champagne bottle in Greg's direction. Greg happily got to his feet.
"Well." He said removing the foil and twisting off the wire closure "I haven't won the British Grand Prix and we're not getting married, but..." The cork started to move in Greg's fist "Here's" a bit further "Bang! To us. Whey hey." A spume of Champagne exploded from the bottle and Jenny caught what she could in the glasses.
Chinking their glasses they toasted "To us!"
The next day dawned dry and quiet. Even the soft pillows and fresh sheets couldn't drown out the noise of three blinding headaches.