Thursday, February 16, 2012

The car story

Rural Ireland in the 1930s.

Late at night, or early in the morning two brothers walking home from a party, they decide to take the short cut over the fields rather than the long way by the winding cart track someone’s tried to dignify by calling a road.

So over the fields by moonlight, not drunk, perhaps not entirely sober, they come to a place where they have to choose: the short short cut leads directly to their farm through a copse of trees, but the elder brother had seen something in there, once, on his way home late at night, and though he arrived home white as a sheet he never told anyone what he saw and he refuses to go through it. So they take the longer short cut, which takes them over hill and through the fields.

And they hear the unmistakable, (because still rare) sound of a car. Intrigued they follow the noise til they get to the “Top Field”, and there is a car, driving very slowly round the field.

Later, they will argue over the colour: one says white, the other says silver…both agree it was too dark to see the driver or if
there were any passengers.

Spooked, they skirt the field and hurry home. Next morning, over breakfast, they tell their father, who laughs at them. He points out that you couldn’t get a car into the top field, it’s only accessible on foot through the field below it and the only entrance is small and kept locked to keep the cattle and the horses out.

The brothers do their work then agree to go back, and when they return to the Top Field, they realise their father is right. It would be impossible to drive a car into that field.

But when they go closer, they see the unmistakable sign of car tires, making a circle inside the field, with no break for entrance or exit.

Just that image: a pale car, in the dark, slowly circling the field.

They refused to work the Top Field near dark for years afterwards.

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