Friday, 22 July 2011

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No 11 - "Coming Home"

My entry for this challenge is a snippet from a modern historical set 18 yrs post WWII. 
Brief: American pilot officer once stationed at an airfield in the Cotswold Hills, Oxfordshire, UK, has returned, and memories haunt his every step.   

He steered the car toward the village, until now the locale quite alien. The road seemed a lot wider than he’d remembered, plus a few modern houses grouped to the right on approach to the village. 
       His heart lifted on passing the village sign on the roadside.
       Halleluja, the quaint little cottages either side of the main thoroughfare little changed. The church to the right, the village green to left backed by a row of cottages, and the post office still there, just as it had been eighteen years ago. He drove on, and there it was, the Swan Inn nestling on the bank of the River Thames, the stone bridge beside it. The bridge that had once led to  . . .   
       He eased his foot off the accelerator.
       Hell. Stepping back in time not always good.
       As the car glided past the ancient structure, bar for excess in floral display it looked just as it had  . . . 
       He gunned the accelerator, and within a hundred yards braked hard.
       Goddamn it, he’d almost missed the turn.
       He steered the car up the steep incline, the tight bends familiar and his heart beat increased, adrenalin coursing through his veins. Bizarre as it seemed, it felt akin to coming home: a Texan coming home to the Cotswolds.
       The plateau finally reached, his heart felt as though ready to burst. The car ground to a halt where the sentry post had once stood, the old runway barely visible beneath swathes of meadow grasses and wild flowers; brick conning tower and office block dilapidated and roof caved in. Not a sign of Nissen huts.      
       Movement the far side of the airfield caught his eye.
       It was a string of horses and riders at the gallop.
       The memory of a once special girl who’d galloped her horse alongside the perimeter fence just at the point of his aircraft leaving terra firma leapt to mind.
       Then what, shot down over Germany, and not a reply to any letters sent from a stinking POW camp. What was it her mother had said: she doesn’t live here any more. She’s married to an RAF pilot.
       He reached inside the car, grabbed a pair of binoculars.
       No  . . . Get a gripYou’re seeing things.           
       His heart lurched.      
       Just as beautiful as I remember, but you’re trespassing, Patsy. You’re trespassing on my property.  

Word Count: 400.

To see entries by other participants go here