Paris texas janes story, p.1
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       Paris Texas Jane's Story, p.1
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           Helen Eyre
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Paris Texas Jane's Story
Paris Texas

  Jane’s Story

  A thin, ragged looking woman stumbled through the abandoned street. Moss grew between the cobbles on the road. Broken windows glared ominously down at her. The shattered glass littered the paths. Ivy wound its way perniciously around the buildings around her, holding them like a shadow that keeps whatever enters it in eternal darkness.

  Cracks left their awkward tracks, in the forgotten walls. Small spatters of blood still gleamed on the road. Paint was peeling from the dilapidated buildings.

  Doors were boarded up. Shutters banged loudly as they caught the wind. Rain began to lash down on the woman.

  Every step she took made a muffled cow bell rattle at her ankle. Her pace began to slow.

  She stumbled over a fallen dustbin which made a loud clattering as it rolled its contents across the already filthy ground.

  A baby wrapped in the remains of a blanket, began to cry. The woman sat beneath a shabby, hand made shelter and rocked the distraught infant and made a quiet ‘shhing’ sound to sooth him.

  As the rain increased, preventing her from going on, she lay down to rest. She lay there with the infant in her arms, holding him protectively.

  That night a terrible storm raged its way through the land. Lightning struck continually. Shortly followed by the deafening roar of the Thunder. As the lighting weaved its way hungrily through the sky a man awoke to a blaze of light and heat.

  As his eyes adjusted to the light, he realised it was fire.

  He could feel the terrible heat on his arms. He imagined it as hot tongues licking his skin, tasting it. Tasting him.

  He yelled and forced his way through the treacherous blaze. He ran. He had to find and rescue Jane and his son. When he reached the stove, he realised with difficulty and despair, because the smoke stung his eyes, and made him choke, that Jane, had gone!

  He looked into the room at the end. The baby was gone too. He felt despair well deep inside him. He ran to the door and wrenched it open.

  Once outside he rolled on the wet grass. When he looked back he saw, large, flickering flames billowing high above the trailer park. The sight was both wondrous and horrifying at the same time. The flames gave the appearance of sunset, illuminating the other trailers, leaving his trailer in silhouette.

  The flames rose as if to imitate the sun rising. Then the man came to his senses. He got up off the dusty floor and ran from the trailer park. A brief glance over his shoulder showed him the entire trailer park ablaze. Flames licking the sky. Smoke was billowing in thick waves. Then the man ran until he reached the desert. And for many months he was not seen again.

  The storm broke early the next day. The woman woke to the sound of footsteps. She shifted so the baby and her self were hidden in shadows. She looked through the crack in the shelter. She saw a tall man. He was just standing there. He wore a dark suit. His face was gaunt and grey flecked his dark hair. His hands were clenched in his pockets. She saw dirt covering his once clean boots. His eyes were narrowed and suspicious. They were dark, cold eyes. But what made her gasp in horror about his appearance was the blood. Bark blood caked the end of his sleeves, and spattered down his side. The dark liquid slowly seeped through a small hole in the man’s shoulder.

  The figure heard the gasp and knelt down and looked straight into the woman’s petrified eyes. He smiled. It was a bizarre, lopsided smile. It was a warm smile. He helped her to her feet. The man said his name was James. She told him that she was called Jane. Both told the other their story. James seemed horrified about the problems Jane had suffered because of Travis. He insisted that she went to the police with him. Reluctantly she agreed and picked the baby and their belongings out of the shelter.

  Now that daylight had really risen Jane could see the light sparkle off puddles and glass. She could see what had once made this town beautiful. The cobbles appeared golden in the light, small cottages, now abandoned, lay on either side of the road. She could imagine happy smiling faces of people walking on the paths, talking and laughing. Then she was back to seeing the dump it had become. She felt sorrow well up within her.

  As they struggled through the forgotten streets Jane saw glimpses of the past life of the village. A joke shop. An old pub. Cafes and restaurants. After a few hours they saw the white and blue sign that told them their journey was over.

  As Jane looked up at the word police she thought about Travis. Once upon a time a time she did love him. Wanted to be with him. Even after all he had done to her, she still felt drawn to him, still worried. She wondered if he had escaped the fire, or was he gone, burnt into nothingness.

  James was calling her name and she stared at him as if for the first time. Then she remembered where she was. She stumbled through the double doors of the station. The soot and grime of her ventures apparent in the bright light of the reception.

  A startled woman stared at the new comers from behind a desk. A pen poised in her hand, and a voice talking through the forgotten telephone in her other hand.

  Jane gasped that she needed to see an officer, to report her troubles to them. The startled secretary jumped to alert and started calling for an officer on duty to take an interview with the obviously distressed woman.

  Jane was led into a dim room. A bare bulb flickered overhead, swaying from the slight gust the opening door had created. The corners of the room had patches of damp, glistening in the flicking light. Dark green moss spouted in the cracks in the walls. All that decorated this room was a small table, a few chairs and a large, dark mirror covering one wall. The dirt still lingered upon the table and floor. She was offered a seat. She sat on the cold, hard plastic nervously. She recited her life with Travis. She told them how he kept her captive, she started to mumble, scared to continue. But the officer urged her to so she began,

  “Well, that night, he heard me trying to escape again, so he tied me to the stove with his belt…” she showed the officers her arms and continued “after he fell asleep, I thought I would never be free. That’s when I saw his lighter. Just lying there, on the table. I reached for it, my fingers stumbled with the mechanism until it lit, I hurriedly tried to melt, or burn the bond holding me. But it went wrong. It d…d…didn’t just b…b…burn, it caught fire!

  I ripped the last of the bonds off, by now the fire had reached the rags Travis used to wipe oil from car parts, it ignited so fast, I knew I couldn’t stop it,” she said quickly.

  “I panicked, I didn’t think, I just ran, I…I…I just grabbed Tom and a few items like food and ran. I…I…I didn’t think about Travis until I stopped running, I was just so frightened.”

  She finished. The police calmed her down and told her what they were going to do about everything she had told them. They gave her a room to stay in for the night. As soon as her head hit the pillow she was asleep.

  Several months later Travis sat in a bar. He called for one drink after another. His eyes had become sunken and bloodshot. His clothes hung off him. He was thinner. He cheeks were burnt from the sun. His hands shook as if he was cold. A door opened and a newspaper flittered in front of him. A picture of a large pile of cars caught his attention. He read the heading.

  ‘HUGH CAR PILE UP! ONE KILLED. MANY INJURED!’

  He scanned the page. Three pictures joined the story. The one with the cars, and, no. he couldn’t believe it, would not believe it. He wiped his eyes and looked again. It was unmistakeable. Jane, lying in a hospital bed, tubes trailing from her nose, mouth and arm. Bandages surrounded her head, bruises littered across her face. And the other picture, was a baby. His baby. He read the article feverishly, hoping it wasn’t true.

  ‘In the early hours of yesterday morning a Hugh pile up of no less then seventy
cars collided. Many members of the public and drivers were seriously injured. One woman by the name of Jane Oxford was so badly injured by this terrible event that she has been put into intensive care with concussion and many more serious injuries (see picture right). And one person died. A baby called Thomas Oxford…’

  He could read no more. Grief flowed through him. He stood up abruptly. He had decided. He was going to see Jane.

  He read part of the article to find out what hospital Jane was in. On the way he brought smart clothes. Once there he had sobered up and was looking a lot more like his old self. He asked at reception for “Jane Oxford’s” room number. He stayed there for a while, watching and thinking, the machines bleeped occasionally, and nurses came to check her temperature and medical reports.

  When it began to get dark he left. He asked the night receptionist for her home address by saying he was her brother and she had been on her way to see him when it happened.

  That night he visited her house. He found himself in a pleasant looking living room, obvious signs a child lives here. Lived here he corrected himself sorrowfully.

  After looking around he saw evidence that she had met someone else. But had not remarried. The sounds of footsteps alerted him to the presence of someone else. He glanced out through the window. A tall
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