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Thursday, 25 June 2009

MULTIPLY United Friends Challenge #15: The Escape


Sumax's Challenge


On arriving home, James Villiers rushed into his study. Throwing down his briefcase and coat, he headed for his desk and picked up the telephone. Flipping through his rollerdex, he dialled the airport and booked a flight leaving in exactly two hours time. He dialled again and booked a taxi to the airport. He looked at his watch and reckoned that he had time to pack, find his passport and call at the local bank for some cash. His hands were shaking. Controlling his emotions, he made his final preparations, which included packing ..... what?

Write your short story around the above beginning. Who is he, where is he going and why? These are all up to you ... so take us on his quest.



Note: Prose only, no photographs or graphics, thank you.






On arriving home, James Villiers rushed into his study. Throwing down his briefcase and coat, he headed for his desk and picked up the telephone. Flipping through his rollerdex, he dialled the airport and booked a flight leaving in exactly two hours time. He dialled again and booked a taxi to the airport. He looked at his watch and reckoned that he had time to pack, find his passport and call at the local bank for some cash. His hands were shaking. Controlling his emotions, he made his final preparations, which included packing clothes suitable for the sunny warm climate he would encounter in Hawaii. He had one job to deal with. He had prepared everything in the morning in the bathroom.

His razor and the cream he needed was lying ready for him. In five minutes he had shaved his short black hair and now showed a complete shaved head. He took a quick glance in the mirror and compared his looks with those on his passport. That was a good idea. He had shaved his head once before, it was becoming fashionable even amongst business men and it even suited his nicely styled figure. He had a few photos taken the last time he had shaved his head and had a new passport issued with exactly one of those photos. This was some time ago and his colleagues in the office and family had forgotten James with a bald head.

So now he was ready, the taxi arrived. He grabbed his case and ran down the stairs, taking a last glimpse of his bachelor apartment before he left.
It was all last looks at things came to his mind. When would he again return to England, probably never? When you steal a million from your company and distribute in various bank accounts under false names, you do not return. You disappear to a place far away where no-one would think of finding you. He was the chief accountant and discovered ways and means of getting rich quickly some time ago. He knew that tomorrow the auditors would be going over the books, controlling his accounts and checking that everything was in order. James decided it was now or never.

The taxi drew up at London Airport.

“15 quid mate” said the driver

James gave him 25 pounds and told him to keep the change. By the shine in the taxi driver’s eyes, James realised he had made one person a very happy man on his last day in England. He then arrived at the ticket hall, checked his luggage onto the scales and showed his ticket.

“Flight GA 163 to San Francisco” said the girl – “Do you prefer a window seat?”

“No thank you” answered James, thinking that escape would probably be easier if he took a seat in the corridor. “Escape from a plane, now I am really thinking crazy. No miss, change that, I would prefer a window seat.”

“No problem Sir” and James arrived at the passport control hoping that the guards would not notice the beads of sweat now appearing on his shaven head. They hardly cast a glance at him; shaven head on the photo and a Yul Bryner lookalike waiting to be passed through – no problem.

James saw that his flight had just been called so he made his way to the terminal.

“I can’t believe this” went through his mind “In a few hours San Francisco and afterwards a connecting flight to Honolulu. I have nearly done it.”

He was soon ushered through the formalities and found himself in the business class seated at the window. He ordered a glass of champagne (the best of course) to drink and this was the first time he had relaxed. What now could now possibly happen?

“Your first time in San Francisco” said a voice next to him. It was then that he looked around for the first time and found a young lady sitting at his side.

“Yes, it is.”

“Business or pleasure?”

“A bit of both” James answered and realised he would be sharing the long flight with this charming partner. “My name is James”

“Nice to meet you James, I am Wendy. I was staying with some friends in London, but unfortunately now have to go back home.”

And so the small talk continued and he was glad as it relieved the stress of the flight. By the time they had arrived at San Francisco they were the best of friends. James told her that he would be travelling further to Honolulu with flight CJ 124 at 10 in the evening and that his connection would be leaving in a eight hours.

“I tell you what James, why don’t you just check out of the airport and I will show you San Francisco. You have enough time and I will make sure you get back to the airport in time.”

For the first time in his life James was completely free. He could do what he wanted to and when he wanted to; so what did he say “Yes” of course.

Flight CJ 124 for Honolulu from San Francisco left on time at 10 in the evening. It was a smaller plane, carrying mostly holiday makers, although there were a few business people on board. Just before it reached the Hawaiian coast the little dot on the radar machine disappeared. Just like that, no warning and no reason.

Meanwhile back in London there was chaos and commotion in the office that James had left behind him. He job was to look after investments for the rich and the powerful. He was responsible for making more money for those that already had enough, but now suddenly there was no money. It had just disappeared into nowhere, and so had James. At this time James was already on his way to Honolulu and that was the last place they would be looking, James was sure. The problem was now, where was James. The flight he was to take to Honolulu had disappeared. The wreckage had been found. There were no survivors; the black box being found a few days later at the bottom of the ocean in the wreckage indicated machine trouble. Some bodies were retrieved from their watery grave. So James had his wish that he would never be discovered, although the plan had backfired a little bit.

The next morning Wendy arose and fixed some breakfast in her apartment in San Francisco. She opened the blinds and had a wonderful view over the San Francisco Bay area.

“Coffee or tea?” she asked

“Coffee please” answered James “I think I will have to get used to drinking coffee instead of tea.”

Wendy laughed and jumped back into bed to James. “One of the best flights I have ever had” she said to James.

“Same here” and James was glad he had rebooked his flight to Honolulu to take a plane the next day. San Francisco was a lovely town; he enjoyed seeing the sights with Wendy and a few other things as well.

Whilst the police were still searching for the missing accountant known as James Villiers, James was sitting in the garden of his villa with a view overlooking the ocean drinking a nice cold beer and wondering why he had not risked this years before. Hawaii was such a lovely place.



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