A Strange Fare

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

It was just an ordinary night on the job for Barry, until she got in the cab.

“What a miserable fucking evening.” Mumbled Barry to himself from behind the wheel of his taxi, the torrential rain thundering off of the windscreen. He was just finishing the last of his cigarette and waiting for his next fare to come through the old radio system. At least the crappy weather was keeping the thick of the boozers away from the town tonight. Less chance of somebody getting chewy in his ear or vomiting on the upholstery or running off and avoiding payment for his services.

Flicking away his exhausted cigarette butt, Barry wound up the window and turned the heater on in the car, holding his hands in front of the fam vent when a job came through. Not a bad one, it was only round the corner and it was only 5 miles up the road to the next village. Barry put the fresh 1057 mile old Skoda Octavia in gear, spun a u-turn in the road and accelerated off to his call.

It was a small terraced house but four men spilled out of the house and into the awaiting car, leaving 3 more people standing in the door waving an enthusiastic “Good Bye” to their friends, who were pissedly fumbling with their seat belts whilst chattering excitedly about the nights events amongst each other. They were friendly enough lads, if not a bit loud but Barry expected loud when he was dealing with drunks. The conversation fluctuated between how wasted each of them were, how one of them was at work in five hours, how nice Nicole’s tits are and that two of them were going to get a shag when they got home.

They reached their destination which was down an alley and round the back of some other houses and they all filed out of the car, paid Barry his way along with a healthy tip of “Keep the change” (£4.50 paid with a £20 is a decent amount of change, but who was he to argue!) and wandered off towards their respected homes. Barry was busying himself with organising what money when in his pouch and what money went in his pocket when somebody unexpectedly got in the back seat. Barry instantly prepared himself for a fight. After fifteen years as a cabbie, you knew that people don’t just get in the car, they ask at the window if you can take them somewhere. But as he turned round he came face to face with something he wasn’t expecting. It was a woman. And not just any woman, she was beautiful!

Too beautiful to be walking around at 1am in a torrential rainstorm in nothing but a thin blouse, jeans and a pair of boots. And literally nothing but a blouse, the rain had soaked her through and Barry could plainly see that the girl wasn’t wearing a bra.

 She looked about twenty years old. Her hair was a bright red, cut in a bob just longer than her ears. She was wearing a large pair of sunglasses which covered half of her face and she was carrying a large bag. Barry instantly recognised her as a domestic violence victim. Outside at stupid o’clock in the morning, bag of clothes, barely dressed, big sunglasses to hide the most probably black eye. Barry had an idea where she was wanting to go.

“Back to the town, love?”

The town had a women’s refuse hidden away within the back streets, Barry had dropped off there numerous times throughout his years, and it never failed to fill him with anger and hatred that a man could do such a thing to a woman. (he’s had his fair share of male victims but they were few and far between, although were becoming more prevalent nowadays).

“Yes, please, the hospital” she replied. A strong, prominent but silky smooth voice, not the expected trembling, mousey voice of the typical abuse victim. Barry jammed the Skoda in gear and drove off.

Barry kept looking back in his rear view mirror at his passenger. How could he not? He had never seen such a magnificent looking human being in his life. It was as if she had been created in a lab somewhere, something to depict the perfect female form. She was tall, slender but not skinny, her hair framing her face which housed a small upturned nose and a set off full, pouting lips which were illuminated with lipstick as red as her hair. She was no domestic violence victim, she was different. Barry could see a pattern on her shirt but it didn’t seem to be anything of meaning, one of those crap modern designs where it looked like someone had spilled a tin of paint over you and charged you £180 for the privilege of wearing it.

The woman didn’t say much during the 25 minute journey to the hospital. She didn’t do a lot really, she didn’t move, she didn’t check her watch or look at her phone. Occasionally she turned her head to look out the window but her attention was elsewhere. Barry couldn’t figure out what she was up to, and people in taxi’s are usually very easy to read.

“Anything interesting planned for tonight then, love?” he asked her in his best friendly taxi driver way. The woman did not react facially, but voiced;

“I suppose that depends on your interpretation of interesting.”

Barry was starting to feel a little uneasy. This woman may have been exceedingly pleasing on the eye, but something about her demeanour wasn’t right. She seemed cold and steely, lacking of any emotion, slightly robotic. Maybe she had been created in a lab!

The taxi rounded the final corner and the hospital came into view. It was a grand looking brick building, aged around the 200 year old mark. It looked like a typical old hospital building, quite imposing but comfortingly familiar too.

“Which department do you want my dear?” Barry asked, and was met with a reply of nothing but “A and E”.

Barry followed the road around towards A&E and pulled up outside. The woman didn’t move to get out but merely turned her head to look out the window. There was a group of teenagers hanging around outside the doors, and a man in his 30’s having a cigarette. Barry had an idea that maybe she was nervous about walking past the teenagers and asked if she would like escorting inside.

“No, I’ll ask this gentleman stood near the door” she replied, reaching for her things and winding down her window.

“Excuse me?” she called through the rain to the man, who put his jacket over his head and ventured out from under the safety of his canopy to see to the voice. As he got nearer to the window, he froze…

“It’s you!” he bellowed, before the crash of gunfire and the smell of gunpowder filled the taxi cab. The man’s head split down the middle as he collapsed flat on his back in the ambulance bay. The gaggle of youths quickly ran, screaming from the scene.

“WHAT THE FUCK?!” shouted Barry as he ducked head first into the steering wheel, hands covering his head in a instinctual protective position. His ears were ringing, his brain struggling to comprehend what had just happened on his usual, run of the mill night shift.

The woman brought the gun back in the window and replaced it back into her bag, her face still lacking any hint of emotion. Barry was still struggling to articulate anything other than scared profanity before the woman spoke.

“We should leave”

Barry hesitated for a second, thinking about the mobile phone in his pocket and possibly ringing the police. But he had a crazy woman with t gun in the back of his car. Would she administer the same fate to him if he rang the police? He would rather not find out right now. Barry stuck the cab in gear and slammed his right foot to the floor, exiting the ambulance bay and fleeing the scene with a spin of the wheels and a spray of a mixture of standing rain water and blood.

The car sped down the road as Barry tried to quickly think. What shall he do? Where shall he go? She hadn’t mentioned a destination, she just told him to leave. He decided to find a quiet place and pull over and ask for some sort of explanation. That quiet place took on the appearance of a side alley down the side of the local ASDA. He pulled up, killed the engine, switched off the headlights and turned to face the woman.

“What the fuck has just happened?!” Barry asked, half scared to hear the reply, half fuelled by anger that he had been turned into a getaway driver from a murder scene.

“It doesn’t concern you what has just happened. Just be assured that you are perfectly safe from any repercussions.”

“How can I be safe from that? You’ve just blown a guy’s face through the back of his fucking head!” Barry could feel himself becoming angry, his fear subsiding now he was face to face and engaged in conversation. But her expression never changed. She still showed no emotion. She still remained robotic in her behaviour, as if she hadn’t just ended a man’s life and was instead sat watching mind numbing day time TV.

“Any way” she started “You’re small part in this has now come to an end. I do apologise that you had to be a part of it” and she reached into her purse and withdrew a cheque.

“Just fill in your name, and act like nothing happened” The woman then got out of the car and shut the door. She wandered up the alley way, the rain still cascading down, bouncing off the floor, in no time, slicking her hair to her head. And away she went, the tall woman with red hair and equally red lipstick, the lightweight blouse, the pair of jeans and black leather boots. Up the alley and around the corner, never to be seen by Barry again. Barry, shaking now, looked at the cheque. It was written out for £100,000. Barry was dumbfounded and just sat there in his Skoda Octavia, in a dark alley way at 01:45 on a normal, average, slightly wet night.


The next morning, Jenny made her way to work at the local hospital. She had walked to work that morning, a walk in the fresh air which was brought up after a storm was too much to pass up. As she got to work she noticed more police vehicles than usual and a forensics tent had been erected within the ambulance bay. She walked through the sliding doors and straight up to the guys in security.

“What’s going on?” she asked as they were checking out the CCTV footage from the previous night with one of the police officers.

“Shit, stupid cameras. I’ve told the powers that be hundreds of times that they had to move the camera. As soon as it rains the water flows off the roof and just flows like a river over the whole camera. This footage is useless officer, I’m sorry”

“No bother, thanks for your help” replied the officer and she returned to her colleagues outside.

“A guy was shot outside last night” the security guard told Jenny. “He was a bit of a mess by all accounts.

“Any witnesses?” Jenny asked, to which the security guard replied no.

“There was a group of kids out the front when it happened but none of them saw anything, they were too busy hightailing it away to take in any relevant information.”

Jenny continued into the hospital into the staff room where her sister who was on the opposite shift was getting changed out of her nurses uniform ready for home. The little portable TV was on when the news reporter began speaking;

“Last night, James Cook Hospital was the scene of a violent murder as a man was shot in cold blood just outside A and E. The body of 46 year old Jordan Stephens was found in the ambulance bay at about 01:30 this morning by a group of…”

“Jordan Stephens? Oh my god, Jenny!” Her sister whispered. “Isn’t that the name of the man who abused us as children?”

“You know what sis? I Believe it was.” Jenny replied.

Submitted: February 18, 2018

© Copyright 2022 Craig Arnold. All rights reserved.

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