“Can you take me to number 10 Ave Maria Lane please?”
Without waiting for an answer George climbed into the Hackney carriage. He hadn’t much liked the look of it but what was a man to do after a late night at the club? The chaps had certainly been on form tonight and by God he’d feel it in the morning, his head was swimming. Suddenly realising that the carriage still hadn’t turned a wheel, he took his cane and banged it sharply on the roof, losing his balance and almost tumbling from the black leather seat.
“Move on, move on I say!”
He was beginning to lose patience. Pulling his fob watch from the pocket in his waistcoat, he tried to focus on the numerals, they were a blur but it was after midnight he was sure. Damn and blast, he was going to get a lambasting when he got home!
The carriage started moving slowly forward.
‘Honestly it’s going to take an age to get home at this rate’, he thought. ‘Still at least the damn things not moving around too much’ he was starting to feel slightly queasy. After a few minutes the gentle clip clopping of the horses hooves on the cobbles calmed his agitated mind and his head started nodding forward as sleep came to claim him.
A short time later the carriage drew to a halt and he awoke with a start.
‘Where the hell am I? This isn’t my street’ he thought. He turned his head left and right trying to work out where he was but it was pitch black, there wasn’t even a street lamp to give him a clue. Despite his intoxicated state he was starting to feel uneasy, one heard of chaps being robbed and the such like, was he going to be prey to a thief?
“Why have we stopped? Move on!”
He banged on the roof with his ebony cane once again but nothing happened. He could hear the horses gently snorting and pulling on their bridles but that was all, no-one answered him. He considered getting out and walking home but he had no idea how to get there. Oh Lord his wife would murder him!
The effects of the brandy he’d imbibed earlier and the mounting fear were taking their toll on him and he began to sweat profusely. What was going on? His stomach was churning violently and he pulled a silk kerchief from his pocket and dabbed at his mouth and forehead, trying to bring his emotions under control. He was not a chap given to flights of fancy usually but, alone in the dark, he was sensing that he was somehow under threat, from whom he couldn’t say…
He heard the slightest sound from outside and turned towards the window on his left. As he watched, the door handle began to turn, slowly. He scrambled backwards against the opposite door, eyes wide and breathing ragged. This was it! He was going to be robbed! The door opened fully just as the clouds breezed away, uncovering a bright moon. A man in a black top hat and cape was smiling at him, his incisors long and white in the moonlight. Was it a smile? It was beginning to look more like a snarl…
“Who are you?” He asked, his voice quavering ever so slightly
“You can call me the Driver sir” he said. Then he struck and the drunken man knew little more…
Written in response to another super prompt from the lovely Fandango . Do have a wander over to his site, I’m sure you’ll have great fun :O)