Historical Fiction: Walking Away from Midnight – Sample Chapter 3

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Last Updated on November 1, 2022 by ADMIN-TOM

Walking Away from Midnight
Click on #WalkingAwayFromMidnight to see all available extracts

 

Friends in High Places

Jessie considered herself lucky in some respects and unlucky in others. Life was black and white, good, or bad. There was no grey area, or periods of indifference or maybes about any situation. As a student of philosophy, the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, one may have encountered many grey areas in such an academic discipline. To Jessie, the study of philosophy was purely an academic route to a degree. Life was far removed for philosophical study. Life was a walk through a black and white tapestry of ever-changing circumstances.

She applied her philosophy of life to her own actions and those around her and now that she was seated on a British RAF flight to Paris, it was proof, to her, her theory was correct. Because her father was a high-ranking military attaché, he could pull strings and get her a training flight from Bexhill to Paris. That was proof of the black and white nature of life. She was either going to get a flight or not, there was no maybe.

Of course, sat in the belly of the cramped Bristol Blenheim all thoughts of philosophy were far removed from her thoughts. The cramped floor with its makeshift seating meant Jessie was flying by the seat of her pants. Philosophy didn’t quite cover this situation, she told herself.

“You realise I could end up in trouble for this,” the flight engineer shouted over his shoulder to Jessie.

“Why so?”

“This is a training flight for our esteemed trainee co-pilot, and we aren’t supposed to land, just navigate round Melun Villaroche Aerodrome and then home to Bexhill.”

“Okay, so what do you suggest? Have you got a parachute?”

The engineer shrugged his shoulders, looked briefly at the pilot, who also shrugged.

“Prepare for landing,” the pilot said.

 

***

 

The crew didn’t bother with any formal good-byes to Jessie. As the aircraft was brought to a stop at the end of the airfield’s single strip runway, the crew opened the door for Jessie, waited for her to get out, then shut the door as she walked clear of the plane.

The engines powered up and the aircraft turned and raced back down the runway, soaring into the air, and was gone from sight within minutes.

Jessie stood with her suitcase and waited, wondering where her uncle was.

She didn’t have to wait long. She heard the car engine before she saw it. A classy Bentley sports car came into view along the boundary of the airfield. The British Racing Green livery shone in the summer afternoon sun. The car was loud and big, a little bit like the driver, Jessie thought.

Within a minute the driver had stopped the car and put the handbrake on. A tall, though a little rotund, man got out and walked round to the passenger side on the left of the Bentley.

“My dear girl, Jessie. How the devil are you,” he said loudly holding his arms apart ready for a hug.

“Really, Uncle Nev, when are you going to realise, you’re far too old for driving around in this beast.”

Jessie’s put down was soon followed by a big smile as she embraced her uncle, being enveloped in the broad expanse of his arms.

“Good journey?”

Jessie pulled away from her uncle and looked up to him, her sleight frame and low height, compared to his heavy frame and tall body was a real contrast.

“Not really, damn plane was freezing, and I hated the conversation.”

Nev frowned at his niece. “For one so pretty you can be a little cutting with your remarks. I suppose you rubbed them up the wrong way?”

“Moi,” Jessie said in a dismissive tone, walking round the big Bentley to the passenger side. “You should get something more sedate, at your age,” Jessie said, opening the door and climbing in.

Nev got back into the driver’s side and settled himself in. “There you go again” looking sidelong at Jessie. “Always the cutting remarks. You don’t know you’re doing it, do you?”

Jessie returned her uncles look and fluttered her eyelashes. “Would you prefer a demurer, brain-dead niece?”

With a shake of his head, Nev started the engine and put the car into gear. The 4.7 litre engine purred with a low growl and the car’s back wheels spun as Nev applied the power. The big car’s rear end snaked a little until the tyres gained traction and the vehicle gathered speed.

“Give this up for a sedate car?” Nev shouted over the noise the open cockpit allowed in.

Jessie grinned at her uncle and pointed ahead. “Onwards, dear uncle. Onwards!”

Copyright © Tom Kane 2022
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