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FOCUS ON SHORT STORIES - TWO DARK TALES OF THE FOREST
The traffic ground to a halt, all four lanes were motionless. The lines of vehicles disappeared in to a shimmering haze on the horizon, with no sign ahead of what had caused the hold up and no chance of asking motorists whizzing in the opposite direction.
‘If this continues,’ said Bob ‘we’ll come off at the next services and have coffee till everything speeds up.’
‘Good,’ said Maureen ‘I need to go to the loo, is it far?’
In this wooded section of the M25 there were no gantries with flashing signs of reduced speed limits or accident after junction whatever….
‘Put the radio on Bob, the traffic news thingy.’
…and you’re listening to BBC Radio 2 on this lovely sunny Sunday afternoon, enjoying the garden perhaps or the beach…
…Junction 35 of the M6… motorists in Northamptonshire were subject to delays after a… Police Scotland were called to deal with…
And it’s Elaine Paige with you enjoying more songs from the musicals…
‘What about us?’ Maureen addressed the radio.
‘Probably nothing reported yet, maybe nothing’s actually happened’ said Bob.
They looked out at the other cars, windows were being wound down, doors opened. Safe in the knowledge nothing was moving, drivers got out and looked up the motorway and down the motorway for signs of blue flashing lights, then shielded their eyes to gaze up at the blue sky for the traffic copter or air ambulance. Nothing; and now the opposite lanes began to empty rapidly.
‘Whatever’s holding us up must be blocking the anticlockwise traffic’ said Bob.
They struck up a conversation with the nice couple in the next car.
‘Must be something bad’ said the other man cheerfully.
‘We only came on at the last junction, lucky we went to the toilet ten minutes ago’ laughed the other woman.
‘Unlucky we were planning to stop at the next services’ said Maureen.
‘You want to get one of those camping toilet potty things from the catalogue, my friend’s got one in her car.’
‘But how does she actually use it?’
‘On the hard shoulder?’ chuckled Bob.
‘No laughing matter,’ said Maureen ‘what if it’s one of those eight hour hold ups?’
‘That’s only snow,’ said the other man ‘at least we can enjoy the weather, looks like that lot are going for a picnic.’
They looked up to see people clambering over a wooden fence and climbing up the grassy banks towards the woods, while parents were taking little children for a wee on the hard shoulder.
Bob laughed ‘Not a picnic, most of them are heading behind the trees.’
‘Yup, back to nature, there’s no civilisation around here’ said the man.
‘There’s other ladies going up,’ said Bob ‘forty five minutes we’ve been stuck here, so if you’re desperate I’ll give you a hand over the fence…’
‘Up that steep hill?’
Suddenly the radio caught their attention.
….and on a twelve mile stretch of the M25 traffic has come to a standstill in both directions, closing all eight lanes, after a gantry collapsed onto the motorway. Police are advising motorists to avoid junctions...
Giles and Pandora were taking their children for a walk in the copse recently saved by the Woodland Trust.
‘Why did the wood need to be saved Daddy?’
‘It used to be a forest when I was a little boy until the bad men built a motorway though the middle of it. Now everyone be quiet and listen.’
‘I can’t hear anything’ said his daughter.
‘Precisely, it’s so peaceful, you would never believe we’re right by the M25.’
‘We’re not alone,’ said Pandora ‘I can hear voices.’
Bloody two hours and we haven’t moved an inch.
Are you sure no one can see me Bob?
If you hadn’t been late getting ready we would have missed all this.
‘Why is that man shouting Daddy?’
‘I don’t know... who’s going to be first to find the old oak tree I showed you on the map?’
The children were soon rushing back up the path.
‘Daddy, there’s a woman hiding in the bushes…’
‘Mummy, what are those men doing behind the trees?’
FOR MORE STORIES TURN TO CHAPTER SIX - TWO DARK TALES OF THE FOREST
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