The boy from nowhere street - Alone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: February 03, 2018

Reads: 96

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Submitted: February 03, 2018

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Chapter 1:

ALONE

 

The sun edges out from behind the clouds, high against the white sky, sending glimmers of light in all directions, as it reflects on the icy road.

The glare from the road, penetrates the car window, causing the driver to squint, distorting his view from the path ahead. Carefully he steers his vehicle, heading forward, along with the never-ending street.

 

Cliff Richard’s Bachelor boy’s playing on the car radio. Inside, the two occupants are singing along.

 

The pale blue VW Beetle jitters down the icy isolated cobbled streets, exhaust fumes churning out, exaggerated by the chilly air. Charcoal coloured smoke plums out above from the chimneys on the rows of snow covered terraced houses either side. The red-brick jungle, housing the working classes.

 

The unlikely pair, a tall 5ft 7 inches’ fair faced brunette, seated in the passenger seat, her hazel eyes, sparkle as she gazes at her husband. A tall, dark, handsome, well-dressed man from Bangladesh. Hair neatly combed over, his bright blue suit and high collared pale shirt, with his pencil thin black tie, complimenting his dark complexion, reminiscent of the pop stars of the day, while he’s driving and singing, his accent not quite matching the radio.

Feeling her stare, attentively he turns to his wife, “Jane, are you happy?" his face kind and truly in love. Without a thought, without a care in the world Jane leans over and pecks him on his cheek “Of course Khalil, my handsome husband ...I’ll love you to the end of my days," her radiant smile beaming as she touches his hand. Her soft light touches comforting; then she squeezes a little tighter. Khalil pulls up by the kerb. They kiss, a lingering kiss on the lips, time stops momentarily.  She smiles at him as he returns his attention directly to the road, pleased, happy and content. Jane relaxes back into her seat; fond memories play back in her mind.

 

It was the second Friday of June 1955 at theRoundhay Park lake; the lush green fields stretching out as far as you could see, the hills smothered in yellow butter cups shimmering in the bright sun light,  the lake a deep blue, rippling along with the light breeze.

Jane is strolling with her colleges, enjoying the slightly cool breeze refreshing her body, their escape during their dinner hour, away from the factory, and the blistering heat from the machines and the warmth from the outdoor heat penetrating through the glass roof. It is a glorious day; the sun is beating down hard. The temperature now in the mid-twenties. Jane and her friends stop by the ice-cream stand, accepting the cool refreshing taste of the vanilla cone, soothing their parched throats.

 

Khalil is enjoying his afternoon walk, he passes the group at the ice cream stand to his right. Jane blushes for no reason, other than Khalil had caught her eye. Milly Tafferton observed this and asked, “Hey Jane, what you are looking at” her own eyes spotting him too. “He’s gorgeous isn’t he” Jane replies, not taking her eyes off him, his tall but masculine slender figure, topped of with the darkest wavy pompadour hair style, had his complexion been fair you would have sworn you had just seen Elvis. “Oh, he’s so dreamy” Jane continued, “He is, but he’s a Paki, so even if I wanted to go with him, I couldn’t, Dad would skelp me hard, so I guess I won’t interfere” nodded Milly, a little malice in her voice yet some what a little disappointed. Milly was one of those girls who had the looks, a typical 36 – 24 - 36 figure the type of girl who knew if she wanted you, you would. She was a beauty beyond beauty, trouble was her parents were the ones who took charge in the matters of her heart, and no way would she dare to disappoint.

 

Jane being Jane, took things as she saw them, and having a mind of her own, she did pretty much what she liked, getting into trouble more times than it was worth. Once she got an idea in her head, she was pretty much determined to see it through.

 

Jane had moved out from her parents’ home some six years earlier when she was nineteen; her father had used his belt on her after a drunken row over the boy she was seeing. This was the last straw, the last time he would ever strike or raise his hand to her, no longer being his punch bag, no longer being the one he took his frustration out of, she did sympathise with him on losing his wife, her mum, to illness when she was fourteen years old, and him struggling to bring up his only daughter, on his own, but with so many years of his beatings, she vowed never to step foot in his home again, and never had. Now living on her own and very independent, she did pretty much what and when she wanted.

 

Khalil continued to amble down the path, taking in the cool breeze, taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings. The lakeside to his right was going berserk, the horde of ducks was frantic, eating the offerings from the many afternoon strollers, tossing breadcrumbs into the lake. Taking time to watch the chaos, he stood close to the edge of the path, amazed at how much the birds fought for the bread, even though there was more than enough to feed three times as many. The feeders played their part in toying with the ducks, tossing it towards just a few, all for a reaction. Khalil observed the crowd with such disapproval.

 

“Hello” her voice was sweet but confident, disturbing his concentration as he watched the ducks feed. Khalil turned his head, a little startled to see a young attractive woman stood in front of him. “Hello” he replied, his Bangladeshi accent strong. “What you doing here?” she said, innocently, her head tilted to the right, Khalil straightened, his body rigid, “What you mean little girl, you come to see a Bengali, face to face so that you can mock me?” his reply a little defensive. Jane pauses and looks at him again, thinking, should I bother? Yes, he looks good, different, even charming, but seems to have a chip on his shoulder. “Just wanted to say hello and find out your name” they both stand there, facing each other. Janes appearance pleases Khalil; she is very easy on the eye. Her slender figure, added with all the right curves in all the right places, and her face, beautiful against her dark black hair. His gaze speaks volumes, she could see he was interested, Jane knew she was, there was something about him she instantly liked, she was mesmerised, almost trance like. Is this what was meant by love at first sight? Her heart beating vigorously, her throat drying up, a little giddy inside, but can’t stop smiling. Apologetic and kind of nervous, Khalil speaks slowly, not wanting to make a mistake “So very sorry madam, my name is Khalil Khan, I am from Bangladesh. I decided to stay here after serving in the war, I now work at the spring factory on Kirkstall road as a joiner.”

His place of work was a factory hot spot in the engineering field; many grey slate roofed buildings ran the length of this road, housing any thing from textiles to sheet metal, to precision CNC work supplying the motor and clothing industries. A major employer from a vast majoritory of the Leeds native population.

Jane found his accent a little amusing, but doesn’t want to offend him, so she offers out her hand, his hand responds quickly, and they shake, “Nice to meet you, Khalil, my name is Jane”, her voice mellow and sincere, “Likewise, Jane, it 's nice to meet you too”, both eyes meeting, neither one of them wanting to break away. Time appears to have stopped. Just the two of them stood face to face, the rest of the world and sounds disappear out of reality. “Jane, Jane” Milly’s voice interrupts, breaking their moment, urging Jane to return to work.

“See you tomorrow Khalil?” Jane asked, her eyes still staring at his, “Hopefully Miss Jane, I would like that, see you at the ice-cream stall?” he replies. Jane nods as she and her college’s head off up the path, making their way back to the clothes factory on Harehills road. Khalil smiles knowing he is to meet Jane once more.

 

The song fades into silence; the voice of the radio DJ breaks Jane from her thoughts and returns her back to reality. His warm tones emit from the car radio. “It’s another chilly winter’s morning. The time now is 10 o’clock on this bitterly cold Monday, the 14th January 1963, the  weather tragically claiming more casualties as the temperatures continue to plummet well below freezing” He takes a pause, the sound of static only before he continues. “The emergency services and the armed forces are working around the clock to get to the many cut off villages throughout the Uk, with the roads and waterways almost at a standstill this is proving a difficult task, but more about that in 30 minutes” After another pause he shouts out. “Now let’s get some tunes on, beat boppers, here’s one from that lovely young lass from Bethnal Green, Helen Shapiro, with, You don't know." The radio belts out the song, while the Volkswagen beetle continues its journey. The two occupants singing along with the radio.

 

A dozen streets up the road, Jim Clegg, and his old friend Carrot top, (an old grey Shire stallion) are delivering the coal to the many residents of Armley, a large industrial suburb of back to back terraced houses in Leeds, where the proud lower paid working class reside. The streets are quite and deserted, he clears the snow and lift the cellar trap doors one by one releasing sack after sack down the chutes, the next harder, more exhausting than the one before, the day is long and tiresome, his early start taking him through to midmorning.

 

The cold north-easterly winds are blowing hard, spiralling the loose-lying snow, adding to the drifts, climbing the walls some nine-foot-high, making the treacherous roads narrower than normal, the washing lines that run across the streets resembling thin metal tubing, now frozen solid. The wooden window frames expanded, unable to open. Condensation freezing, leaving icy droplets like tear drops on the glass windows.

The residents not daring to venture out, keeping close to the warmth from the comfort of their coal fires.

 

Jim decides to walk by the side of his horse, rather than sit on the cart as he normally would.

Carrot Top's balance waivers; his muscular legs buckle, shaking under the slippery road surface, each menacing step causing him pains. The trail of coal dust from the sacks as they manoeuvre from one street to the next is exaggerated in contrast, in the white snow, falling from between the gaps in the plank cart floor, leaving its tell-tale signs of their journey.

 

Covered in the black soot from head to foot, the burly mammoth six foot seven large muscular framed man carries out his task. Wrapped up in layers. His thick cotton shirt, underneath a black polo neck jumper that had seen better days, his worn sleeveless leather jacket and backing hat protecting his back from the hard rubbing of the sacks.

Still Jim continues his deliveries while supporting his companion, keeping him upright.  “Won’t be long now Carrot top, will have you back in’t stables soon … Just a few more deliveries and we’ll be finished?” he says in his broad Yorkshire accent, reassuringly. “Everything will be fine my friend” giving a comforting pat on Carrot tops neck. The horse responds with a neigh and a nod of his head.

 

The heavens open as the snow floods, settling fast, the weather taking a turn for the worst, harsh winds' blow, lifting the loose snow like a mist, hindering their vision, and covering the treacherous glassy cobbled roads, hiding the dangers from view. The drop-in temperature allowing the icy cold to bite at their faces, burning hard on their lungs with every breath. Each step drawing on their resolve.

 

Jim turns his cart into Greenhill Road; both tired and wet, they head towards the large Victorian building. The courtyard resembling an ice rink. Nurses and white coated doctors can be seen walking gingerly

towards the main entrance on the slippery snow-covered surface, careful not to slip.

 

The young Nurse Gladys Hartles, her neat bobbed hair and made up face, all done to impress Dr Carter, the Doctor she has a crush on, the one she dares not directly look at. Nervously she takes her  careful steps, one at a time, with her arms outstretched for balance; she wobbles, becoming unstable underfoot. Like a magnet, the ice clings to the heel of her shoe, jerking her foot, unable to free her shoe; she falls rapidly to the ground, accidentally kicking Carrot top’s front right leg as they enter through the gateway. The horse is startled and panics. Carrot top tries to bolt, his head nodding and swaying from side to side, kicking his hooves hard on the ground unable to keep a grip on the iced surface, his legs kicking out anxiously. Jim drops the reins in the commotion, even with his strength he can’t hold on; the horses' front legs give way as he’s wavering around trying to grasp, clinching at any chance of staying upright. Gladys screams in horror as the horse blunders and begins to fall, the onlooker's watching, horrified by the scene. Carrot top buckles under his own weight and begins to topple over.

Carrot top’s head hits the ground with a cruel crushing blow on the frozen cobbled yard, breaking his jaw, as his head rebounds off the courtyard floor. His rear twisting awkwardly, back legs frantically lashing out, kicking the cart. Giant Jim Clegg is forced to the left, collapsing as the waggon spins, snapping the wooden harness. The cart now soared into the air, releasing the sacks of coal as they hurtle down toward where Jim lay, the first sack striking him hard in his face, forcing his head back, hitting the cobbled surface, snapping his neck. Jim’s head cracks open, the damaged skin tissue revealing the skull. The warm blood freezes as it streams onto the solid ice floor. Changing the white of the snow to velvet red. His body lays limp on the frozen, snow-covered cobbles. Jim dies instantly, not knowing his fate. Several sacks hit his torso as they continue to rain down from the cart, breaking his limbs as they hit his lifeless body.

 

The cart now rotating a full 360 degrees, rains down on both the horse and the nurse, snapping her left leg as the rear 28-inch iron wheel impacts. Her scream deafening, the pain soars like a runaway train through every inch of her being. Gladys falls into a panicked shock and loses consciousness, her body's self-mechanism, protecting her. Carrot top twisted torso lays there not moving, the poor horse dying from his wounds. His front legs twisted among the cart wreckage, the wooden strut protruding from the horse's back. His beautiful grey coat now a glistening red. Still, the crowd watch bewildered.

 

Unknowing, the Volkswagen enters the gateway, without warning; Khalil instantly sees the danger and instinctively applies his break, right foot hitting the peddle hard, the car swerves to the left. His eyes wide, seeing the danger facing them, heightening his senses, nothing can stop the vehicle and its occupants from colliding.

 

The wet, icy road invites the car to swerve in all directions as Khalil attempts to navigate around the carnage in front of him, his hands gripping the steering wheel hard. Jane is now screaming hysterically as the car hits the horse at speed, Khalil unable to hold on to the steering wheel loses his grip unable to control the vehicle, they skid in circles, then jolts as the front drivers’ wheel buckles, rolling the car over and over repeatedly.

Janes deafening screams fill the courtyard as she is launched out of the front window, glass shards exploding, covering the ground. Jane lays there motionless, the onlookers, like transfixed statuettes, are dazed in bewilderment, not believing what they are witnessing in front of them.

 

The VW now turned on its crumpled roof skids across the courtyard before it comes to a screeching halt, hitting the boundary wall. Smoke bellows out from the rear engine compartment, screeching loud, metal to metal. A few sparks hitting the air every few minutes.

 

Khalil scuttles through the broken window screen. His shiny blue silk suit and yellow shirt ruined, now torn and dark red; stained in blood.

Khalil shivering and exhausted places his back up against the side of the vehicle for support. His neatly combed hair matted, the razor-like cuts covering his distorted face, making him unrecognisable, the swelling covering his eyes and mouth, blood layering his face, his arms twisted and broken dangle from his torso, motionless unable to support him, breathing laboriously as the ice-cold air burns deep into his lungs.  He coughs, and splutters, dark red blood spots spill out through his teeth, dripping onto his chest.

 

Doctor Jones is the first to react; reality taking hold from his trance like state; his tall, slender frame sliding across, he takes in the carnage, fearing the worst, racing towards Khalil. Kneeling down he begins to aid him. Visualising the injuries and how and what he needs to treat him, he knows this isn’t good, just one look told him that, where to start? Two nurses follow and assist the doctor.

 

Khalil strains to look over the doctor's right shoulder searching for his wife, fear installed, racing through his mind, is my beautiful wife alive? Dreading the worst and unable to focus through the tiny slits of his swollen eyes. He gives way to the pain; pushing his body forward, unaided by his damaged arms, stretching to get a better view, his wife his primary concern. Hoping and praying she has survived the crash. “Please doctor ...My wife, you need to help my wife," his sobbing voice desperate, tears forming from the small slits. “We are expecting our first child today." His weak body slumps back onto the side of the vehicle, sapped of all his strength he looks out blankly into nothingness tears streaming down his face.

Doctor Jones turns his head; he sees Jane lying there holding her stomach. A sudden feeling of sickness overwhelms him, taking in a few gulps of air to compose himself. Dr Jones takes command, he yells at the nursing staff still stood there in disbelief, he awakens their senses and begins delegating the crowd to help.  The courtyard breaks into a hive of activity as the nursing staff rush towards the injured, some slipping as they make desperate haste.

 

Away from the chaos, inside the hospital, Mike the head porter is watching the carnage through the main door window. Without a moment’s notice, he orders others to assist in getting the injured inside. With the precision of a military operation, the large doors of St. Mary’s hospital entrance open, eight porters explode into action. Two to a bed trolley race towards the injured casualties.

 

Jane, nine months pregnant body is found lying face down in the snow, cradling her stomach, weak, shallow moans emit from her mouth, Mike crouches next to the doctor trying to treat her, “Can we take her in?” he asks. The doctor turns and nods, between them, the doctor and the two porters lift her critically injured, blood-soaked body and place her gently onto the trolley; they waste no time in rushing her straight to the labour ward.

 

The police arrive at the scene, sirens sounding. The patrol car halts outside the gate, eagerly two young policemen race towards Dr Jones. They assist the porters with Khalil onto the trolley bed. Khalil is hurried to the emergency ward, with Dr Jones following closely.

 

The clean-up of the horse takes time; while Jim's body is recovered from the pile of coal sacks and transferred to the morgue.

 

The cold of winter eases the blood flow from Nurse Hartle's severed leg, as it freezes the open wound. They lift the unconscious nurse onto the remaining trolley; the two porters hurriedly transport her to the emergency ward, followed by a nurse carrying the lower part of her colleagues’ leg.

 

Inside the tiny white-painted cubicle where Khalil lays, is engrossed in activity, the strip lighting flickering, the sound of the hospital generator echoing through the walls, another power cut, during another cold blighted winter day.

 

Dr Jones carefully removes the glass shards from Khalil’s face and neck, one of the nurses hectically mopping up the blood, trying to keep the flow down, the second nurse following with the stitching striving to keep Khalil alive.

 

Jones examines Khalil’s body for more injuries after stemming the blood flow; after some twenty minutes of stitching Khalil’s body, he finds a huge dent in Khalil’s chest, where the steering wheel impacted, during the vehicle toppling over repeatedly.  He shakes his head; the three nurses look on.

 

Khalil’s breathing increases as panic plagues his body, going into shock, his body now shaking; blood appears in the corner of his mouth. Khalil sits up rapidly, taking the three nurses by surprise, hurling a bloody vomit over his torso, splattering on to the medics helping. The spewed out blood taints the nice clean white doctor’s jacket. Dr Jones shows no reaction, just continues with the job in hand.

Khalil’s face turns pale, colour draining from him, and his lips blue, falling back onto the bed heavily.

His eyes are staring into the unknown, the shine diminished, just dull empty eyes staring into nothingness. His chest ceases to heave as his head slumps to the left. Doctor Jones knows the all too familiar sight; he looks at his watch, the three nurses aware of what's coming, stand in silence.

“Time of death is 10:46 am 14th January 1963...do we all agree?” The words from the doctor are deliberate but not without empathy, the nurse’s nod as the senior nurse moves closer, she places her hand on Khalil's face and strokes his forehead, allowing her hand to travel down closing his eyes.  The cubicle is silent as they bow their heads.

 

Meanwhile, in the labour ward, Jane lays there unresponsive, her stomach opened as the doctor performs a caesarian delivery, the midwife assisting.

 

With Jane's injuries, severe, two other doctors tend to her wounds.

 

Struggling with her injuries and the intense activity, Jane’s body rises, almost sat upright, responding, her heartbeat intensifies, her pulse climbing, repelling, going into shock. Her body begins shaking vigorously, she screams, the pain overwhelming, soaring through, her erratic breathing subsides becoming more laboured, her scream subsides into a gasping whisper, the doctors step backwards momentarily, Janes's body slumps back, thumping the trolly mattress hard. She ceases to move, currently rigid like a stone carving, leaving only the oxygen mask to aid her, keeping her alive. The doctor shows more haste; time is not on their side.

The child must be delivered quickly if it is to survive.

 

A few minutes later Midwife Pearce accepts the newborn; the doctor clips the cord. The cries of a child fill the room. Midwife Pearce holds the baby close to her; tears roll down her face as she walks over to the scales, 10:44 Am, at 7 pounds and 2 ounces, a young healthy boy is born.

 

Jane is pronounced dead two minutes later.

She never got to hold him or feel his heartbeat next to hers.

He never saw his mommy's smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 David Meah. All rights reserved.

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