ANDREW HAD ALWAYS been a keen photographer. He never went anywhere without a camera. One had become a part of him. Anything from a point-and-shoot number to some full-blown SLR digital kit.
Today, as so often, he first saw the scene out of the corner of his eye.
‘I ought to capture that’, he thought, having begun to think he was quite something in the world of landscape photography.
He drove on for a mile or so, hoping to get a better view of the scene, but the hedges were too high for him. And, anyway, he had to pay attention. He’d given himself a fright earlier on by only just missing a huge tractor driven at what he thought was break-neck speed by an evil-looking, older man. It had come thundering round a corner with a massive trailer in tow.
Nevertheless, he pulled off the road, cut the car’s engine and searched for his camera. He knew he’d couldn’t miss an opportunity like this; he’d have to walk back and take a picture of the view.
He began his lonely journey. The hedges didn’t seem to be any lower. If anything, they were higher than he remembered them. After a while he came to a turning off the road.
He didn’t recall it as he’d driven by. But then, he’d been paying attention and probably hadn’t noticed anything except the road in front of him. He guessed the lane would’ve been off to his right, going slightly backwards as well, and thus easy to miss. The hedges were lower here, so he thought he’d take a chance. He hoped he’d see something off to his left. He remembered that the scene seemed to have something else growing in front of it. That’s what he was looking for.
He walked on. The fields were flat on either side of the road, carpeted with yellow and white flowers. Birdsong was all around. ‘How idyllic’, he thought. There ought to be a cow or two around, but he wasn’t one to complain.
At the end of the lane he saw a shop, slightly above the main track and a little off to his right. Three people were standing outside, gossiping. Two turned to look at him, one raising her hand to shield her eyes against the sun as it lowered itself into the far horizon.
Despite his careful description, none of them could recall the scene, or locate it anywhere. There were so many like it round there.
Realising the truth in what they said, and that he would never be able to make anything new out of what was around him, he knew he would just have to go back to the car and pick up his journey from where he had stopped.
A few hundred yards from his destination, he heard two gunshots. ‘Probably some farmers, killing rabbits or some other vermin’, he thought. ‘Although this is an odd time of day to be doing that.’
As he turned a corner, he saw his vehicle up ahead.
It looked a little sorry for itself, leaning almost into the ditch that ran alongside the road. He wasn’t worried; he had gambled on that earlier, when he parked up, so he wasn’t surprised to see it lurching to the right a little.
As he opened the car door to get in, he saw that the front right-hand tyre was flat. ‘Must’ve run over a nail, or something’, he thought, as he reigned himself to changing the wheel.
Then he noticed the two neat holes in the tyre.
‘Bloody farmers’, he thought.’Always thinking they can take the law into their own hands.’