Books written by Ray Sullivan

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Parallel Lives chapter 85

Jim sat shivering in the back of the RAF Police car, the engine having been turned off fifteen minutes earlier to conserve fuel. The wind battered the car, driving flurries of snow onto the screen, forming the beginning of a drift from the bonnet. Both of the policemen had started to talk to Jim in friendlier terms since the call, despite the obvious problems it was going to cause them. They had also perked up when they heard about the Puma helicopter that had been despatched from RAF Odiham, as it looked unlikely they would make any serious progress towards Bristol themselves, given the weather system clamping down. Once they had managed to identify their exact location they had been told to park up and wait for the helicopter, rather than continue and risk being missed.
Jim wasn’t impressed with their change in demeanour, however. The depression he had felt coming on earlier had deepened and all he could think about was the amount of shit he was in. The prospect of travelling in a military transport helicopter only served to depress him further. Sure, it was the first time he had had the opportunity to fly in such a machine, but he knew anecdotally that the ride was likely to be uncomfortable and draughty, and wearing a suit probably wasn’t going to help. As he sat, ignoring the banter of the two men, the clatter of the rotor blades and the whine of the twin engines became apparent.
Both policemen exited the vehicle, partly in excitement at being involved in this activity and partly because the sooner they loaded Jim on, the sooner they could look for digs for the night. Using their right angled torches they waved in the direction of the sound, and were rapidly rewarded by the bright, powerful, under-slung searchlight weaving across their location, blinding them once it found them. As the Puma flared into land, its undercarriage lowering rapidly, snow was whipped up into a froth and blown over the men, increasing the wind chill factor. Turning their backs to the aircraft, leaving the finer details of landing to the crewman on-board they waved to Jim still sat in the car. Jim remained seated, protected from the extra wind force created by the landing manoeuvre, cocooned inside the car, shaking his head. He could see no good reason to leave the relative comfort a second earlier than he had to, and any time apart from the two policemen was a simple bonus.
Within seconds the helicopter had landed and a crewman leaned out of the side door, raising his right thumb, indicating he was ready to board the passenger. Jim reluctantly climbed out of the car, wrapping his suit jacket firmly around his torso to provide a modicum of protection from the icy blast created by the rotating blades, and shuffled towards the aircraft. Turning slightly as he passed the grinning policemen who earlier had treated him so badly he acknowledged their efforts with a grudging nod and proceeded to the Puma. Before he entered the cabin he turned and appeared to deliberate over something before turning back to the aircraft and climbing onto the fixed access step.
Inside the light levels were low, dull red lights providing minimal illumination. Jim was guided to a canvas crew seat, initially sitting on the bulky seat restraint buckle, then was strapped in by the crewman. Looking up he saw he was opposite the crew side door and as the Puma lifted off it swung left, revealing the two policemen stood alongside their vehicle, both front doors open, both men waving like demented idiots. As the car was covered by the enveloping snowstorm created by the power of the rotors Jim saw the two men dive into the car, obviously realising what was actually making them so cold. Within seconds the helicopter had banked, revealing a purple night sky and streaks of driving snow which flowed freely into the cabin, before levelling and powering off in the direction of the West Country.


Copyright Ray Sullivan 2011

The characters, places and events described in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons, places or events, past or present, is coincidence.  All rights reserved

Parallel Lives is published in paperback and as an eBook


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