The day starts late, bright sunlight passing through the few clouds that floated over good old England. For five days I have been working non-stop, no wonder I slept until 3pm in the afternoon. Fortunately, I don’t have other plans this Saturday.
I slip out from under my warm blanket, feeling a slight chill on my bare legs. Luckily, a soothing stream of heat illuminated my body through the window. Outside I watch Mrs. Clarson coming out of the house, getting into her husband’s red Cadillac, and driving it into the garage. Weird, I think.
Anyway, I cut myself loose from the alleviating warm rays and head to the shower, singing cheerfully to David Bowie. Then, suddenly, it strikes me. I wanted to visit Old John’s Hill for years but didn’t manage to. Today is the perfect condition outside to catch up with that.
After putting on my clothes, I hurry excitedly to my own garage where I uncover my little dusty motorcycle, a Honda CBR 900, yellow in colour with some black curves across the sides. I take a seat and a wide smile lifts my lips with passion. Once I turned the engine on, the sound does not only smoothly run into my ears but also vibrate willingly through my whole body. Abruptly, I loosen the brake, too quickly, and the soaring wears off. I have to restart but this time the gas handle turns simultaneously in my hand and with a rush I’m on my way to Old John’s Hill, the wind hitting my face vigorously as if it wanted to slap me for abandoning the indescribable feeling on my bike for such a long time.
When I went to that place before, it was 1953, when some places in England still had marks of the war; copious sites where bombs had exploded and been left unattended. Back then I experienced an outrageous adventure that I couldn’t even have dreamed of. Old John’s Hill had a huge hole at the top, a small reminder of what had happened there when the Germans flew over England unloading their disruptive presents dedicated to our Queen. I drove there with my freshly met girlfriend, we were only 17, and I showed her the Hill which looked so out of place next to our town where all the neat lawns and brick houses pretended safety, where nobody feared leaving the house after 10pm.
Yes, that was a wonderful day, full of fun, erotic tension and youthful exploration in the most uncommon place nearby. The images of that day are present in my mind as if it was just yesterday. Time can’t fool me, though; I feel my bones already aching a little due to the unusual position on the seat. My back tries to move to a more comfortable position but the shape doesn’t allow many adjustments - can’t just take my hands from the handlebar, right.
The fresh air makes my mind drift away to the time when Elli and I were so happy together. We didn’t have much time before she disappeared that day so miraculously, but the hours we had keep reminding me of what life is able to offer. Of course, the regrets also pursue me, up to today. If I hadn’t been so stupid, then maybe that day didn’t need to be the last I ever saw her again.
From far I could already see the Hill, rising up high into the sky, covered with trees nowadays; very different from the muddy layer that covered the ground last time. There are no leftovers of the rotten machines and destroyed houses anymore. In this idyllic place, Elli probably wouldn’t have suffered her loss so massively.
A dark shadows rips me from the past and throws me into the stormy present. Ahead, from behind the Hill, I see with wide eyes an enormous black cloud shifting over the Hill, hiding the sun and with it the joy of this Saturday. Suddenly a blast hits me from the right side while I am driving 100 mph. With effort I lay my weight into the wind when without further warning a wave of pain spins through my back, almost immobilizing all parts of my body, even though only for a second. And this second was one to many; another gust of wind beats me, this time from the other side. I tumble, seeing a flash of light. Pain in my back. In my legs. In my arms. My head hits a hard surface. More pain. Further away I hear the crashing of my bike, as loud as a bomb detonation. My thoughts are spinning. Numbness crawls on me. With one open eye I see the end coming. A round, long iron post. Drifting through the air, coming closer in slow motion. It gets bigger, longer. A whirring sound derives from it. Now it is a huge disk, a black hole and nothing. No pain, no sight, nothing.
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