He’d been locked in the boot of a car before but this was different.
Modern cars have an internal release mechanism so that people who have been kidnapped and thrown in the boot have a fighting chance of releasing themselves. This brilliant idea came from the Americans who believe that there is a mechanical solution to just about anything.
Sam remembered reading about this automotive development a few years before and at the time he wondered why the kidnappers would not disable the system.
The cramped conditions didn’t make it easy for Sam to feel around for a release lever. He need not have bothered because there wasn’t one.
The bloke driving this car must have been legally blind because it seemed to Sam that he hit everything except the bitumen.
The boot of the car smelt like oil and old boots with a bit of rust and mouldy carpet thrown in.
Sam wished he had not given up smoking because a lighter would have come in handy, but on the other hand, if there was petrol stored in the boot he might have blown himself up.
Sam reasoned that this journey would have to come to an end sooner or later and then he would get his chance. He would pretend to be unconscious and seize his chance when the man [he assumed it was a man] tried to pull him out.
After what seemed like a very long time, the car began to slow down and the crunch of gravel under the tyres told Sam that they had pulled off the road. The driver’s door opened and closed and Sam prepared for his last chance at freedom.
Lying in the darkness does strange things to a man and Sam had an uneasy feeling that if his reflexes were off this might end up being his final resting place. The wound at the back of his head was throbbing and Sam had no way of telling if his vision was off. He grabbed a piece of metal, probably a tyre iron and hid it under his body.
The boot lid did not open and Sam wondered what the driver was doing. The car started to roll forward and Sam heard the driver swear. The car tilted as it rolled and the drivers voice became more frantic. The car gained a bit of speed before rolling on its side and hitting a tree. Now there was screaming instead of swearing. The boot popped open after the impact, but Sam was knocked out for a few moments. When he came to he could feel the cool breeze on his face.
“I think I’ll just lie here for a moment,” he said before realising that he was talking to himself.
Lying still seemed like a good idea. He slowly took stock of his various bits and pieces and when he was satisfied that everything was in working order he scrambled out of the boot still clutching the tyre iron.
He’d been vaguely aware of the screaming but as any good soldier would do, he took stock of his physical condition before taking action.
The car’s headlights were still on so there was some light, which was just as well because they were obviously in the countryside and there were no streetlights.
Standing up proved to be a challenge and not just because of the uneven terrain. Sam’s head was throbbing from the initial blow and the impact of the crash.
The screaming seemed to be coming from the drivers’ side which was now under the car as it lay on that side.
The light wasn’t all that good, but it appeared to Sam that the driver was pinned under the car, which would account for the screaming, but curiously, the driver seemed to be attached to the car door by a rope.
The rope turned out to be a scarf.
“Me mum knitted it,” the driver was to reveal, in what turned out to be a long conversation.
The driver had jammed the scarf in the door when he got out. Being used to driving automatics he had forgotten to pull on the handbrake and gravity set in. The driver stumbled before he could get the door open and the two of them, driver and car, continued down the slope until the car rolled on its side crushing the driver.
The car belonged to his cousin.
“If he owned a bloody automatic this wouldn’t have happened.”
“If you hadn’t hit me on the head, bundled me into the boot and driven me to who knows where, you wouldn’t be in this mess,” Sam succinctly pointed out.
The screaming resumed and went on for quite some time, but there were conversations in between bouts.
Not unsurprisingly, Sam was keen to know what had happened and why this bozo wanted to hurt him.
The cause of the screaming was a severely crushed leg, but more important than that was the gash on his thigh that was pumping blood at a rate that was going to cause a problem.
Sam told the driver to keep pressure on the would and this slowed down the flow rate but Sam had seen enough battlefield casualties to know that this bloke was going to bleed to death if help did not come soon.
It was a bad sign when the screaming stopped and the driver said that he felt sleepy.
“I have to tell you mate that this isn’t good. If someone saw what happened and called for help you might make it if they get here soon, but it is going to have to be real soon.” Sam was telling it straight. “I can go for help, but you have to keep pressure on that wound.”
“Don’t leave me Bennett. I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be alone.”
“I won’t leave you.” Sam had seen men die before, and some of them had been men who had tried to kill him. But in these moments, these things are put to one side. Two men facing death and only one would be alive to tell the tale.
“You seem to know me but for the life of me, I cannot place you. Why would someone I don’t know be trying to kill me?”
“You don’t know me, but I met you once. In court. I told you what I thought of you. You were responsible for putting my brother in prison.”
“I still don’t remember you. What was your brother’s name?”
“Okay, I remember him. A real piece of shit. Got exactly what he deserved. Your brother ruined more lives than reality television. You are not seriously going to tell me that you think I fitted him up?”
“No. I know he was no good. He used to beat the shit out of me for no reason, but he was family. Every one of my family either drank themselves to death or got themselves killed, John was all I had left and you got him put away for life.”
“He got himself put away, and he got himself dead. You don’t pick a fight with a crim who is twice your size. Your brother was a bloody idiot. Seriously, did he have a death wish?”
“Probably, he was never very bright and I think he would rather be dead than locked up for rest of his life.”
Sam was now soaked in this blokes blood.
“What’s your name then?”
“William Willy: your folks had a sense go humour.”
“I don’t know what you mean. I like that name.”
“Fair enough. So I guess it was you in the car that T-boned me a while back?”
“Yes, and I’m pissed that you walked away from it. I planned it for weeks. Just didn’t get up enough speed. Buggered up my knee as well. Got arrested for some shit I pulled months before and I been inside ever since otherwise I would have done for ya before this.”
“Well, neither of us are walking away from this one,” Sam said with just a hint of exhaustion.
Sam was sick of it and now that he knew the pathetic sordid reason for his torment he was, even more, sick of it. “Stupid fucking people living pathetic fucking lives fucking it up for everyone they come in contact with.” These were thoughts, not words said out loud, but either way, it didn’t matter.
Pretty soon this poor excuse for a human being would join his larcenous family in the great hereafter and Sam would go back to piecing his life back together.
If it wasn’t for Scarlett and his dogs he would have been tempted to lie down and drift away with William Willy, the bloke he never knew who had so ineptly tried to kill him.
Sam had to ask, “If you had your life to live over again, would you do it differently?”
“Nah, I’d only fuck it up again.”
The powerful torch lights lit up the bush and it reminded Sam of when he was a kid and they would steal their fathers flashlights and play on the vacant lot in the moonlight. That seemed like a long time ago.
Sam’s head hurt and just for a moment he thought the lights might be aliens.
A big bloke in a uniform was slapping Sam on the side of the face and saying something. “You with us pal?”
“Yes, I am and if you keep hitting me you are going to find out.”
“No need to get pissy.” The ambulance driver had put in a long shift and the drive to the crash scene had taken an hour. Usually, when this happened it was a false alarm and they had to turn around a drive back, but on this occasion they found one unconscious male and one trapped male; deceased. In his report, he stated that although the hand knitted scarf was not the direct cause of death, it had been a contributing factor.