It was about 1:15 a.m. and I was still reading a book a kind friend had lent me, when I heard a passing car decelerate from what sounded like 70 mph to zero in about ten seconds, the slowdown ending in a loud thud. There was no sound of shattering glass or of anything metallic, just a dull sound like someone falling out of bed, but amplified many times.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Still dressed, I debated whether I ought to go out into the chilly night and see if I might be of any help. A couple of moments later, a woman began screaming. Screaming words, I mean, sentences. That decided me. Maybe she needed comforting or medical help or just a warm room and a hot cuppa. I pulled on a cardigan and slipped out quietly, not to wake up Demetrios unless his services might be needed.
Outside, a man was standing on the corner sidewalk. "Did you hear a woman screaming?" I asked, supposing wrongly that this must have been what had brought him out at such an hour.
"Well, ah, I did, yes," he replied.
"I thought I also heard a car crash," I told him, thinking I might enlist his help. (Experience has taught me I'm rather a coward at looking in the windows of crashed cars.)
"No doubt the night air exaggerates sounds," said he, stiffly. "Don't worry about it."
"Right." I kept walking toward the next corner, from around which the sound had come.
"I said don't worry about it!" he called after me.
"Okay," I said, still walking fast. "No worry."
Now came a younger man, running as fast as I've ever seen anyone run, and asked the first man, "Are the police here? Have the police come?" The first man said no, twice.
The younger man then began sprinting back toward where the car must be. I ran after him. "What has happened?" I cried out.
He ignored me.
"Do you need any help?"
He just kept running.
He was standing near the car when I rounded the corner. He had the passenger door open and was looking inside, frantically.
Large pieces of white debris were strewn on the sidewalk behind the car. Or at least I took them for debris, but I was keeping my distance.
The man slammed the car door shut and began walking back to where he and I had both come from.
Now the first man approached the car and jerked the front passenger door open. "Oh, great!" he groaned. He just looked for a few more moments, then took something out of the car and hurled it onto the sidewalk. This he repeated twice. I didn't hear any of the three items break.
Still hanging back from the scene because of his fury, I nevertheless asked, "Do you need a doctor?"
"NO!" And the lights of the car flashed as he locked it with his key fob.
I decided to get out of there as fast as I could walk. (I refused to run.)
As I rounded the corner, I caught sight of the young sprinter a hundred feet ahead, walking rapidly away, his arm around the shoulder of the young woman. She was dressed up for a night on the town and by now was only whimpering. He was trying to calm her. (Where had she been hiding, silently, all this while?)
I ducked around the hedge that encircles our apartment block and locked myself inside the building as quickly as I could.
No longer sleepy, I stayed up another little while, long enough to hear the characteristic beep-beep a tow truck makes when backing up. I said one more prayer for them and went to bed.
It sounds like something your creative writing teacher would tell the class to use as the starting point for a short story, doesn't it?
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 7:17 PM