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A photograph of the night sky taken from the seashore. A glimmer of sunlight is on the horizon. There are many stars visible. Venus is at the center, much brighter than any of the stars, and its light can be seen reflected in the ocean.

(Photo by Brocken Inaglory)

Gary was nearly a man now and there was nothing he wanted more than

to be able to drive -legally, but he couldn’t afford proper lessons.  Terry

refused to teach him as he kept asserting that he had passed first time

without any instruction. Gary doubted that he had ever sat a test.

Sometimes Gary would dream that he was cruising an Aston Martin

on the Corniche, or driving a Chevrolet on the coast road to Monterey.

He’d seen that on the videos.  He wasn’t that bothered about having

a blonde in the passenger seat.  His mother had put him off women for

the time being.

He had experienced a dizzying moment of power on The Ridge.  It

had seemed a shame to tip the car over, but he couldn’t lose face.

He’d had a hazy recollection of an RE lesson where Jesus had been

standing, looking down from a high position.  He was being tempted

to cast Himself down, but He had resisted.  Gary knew that he wasn’t

The Son of God.  He wasn’t under any illusion about that.  Nevertheless,

he would have been happy if a cohort of angels had appeared and

borne the Astra up on their wings.  The whole experience reminded him

of that time he had stood with his father on the cliffs at Flamborough Head

and he had felt as if he could have launched himself off, to spiral down

on a thermal like a seabird.  Dad had been clutching the belt of his

jacket, so that he felt stable and safe.  It was just shortly after that

summer holiday that his father had disappeared from his life.

( Image:areadeandavid Flickr Flamborough Head)

There it is, Alan.  I told you, he said the following day, pointing to the

blackened wreck that clung tenaciously to the bushes.  It was still

smouldering slightly.

I’m going to have a closer look, said Alan, scrambling down.

Gary stood for a moment, surveying the scene in daylight.  He could

see one or two other joyridden wrecks littering the slope.  He suddenly

wondered why he had done it.

A loud boom reverberated and rattled the windows of nearby houses,

shattering Gary’s meditation.  He looked down with horror as a sheet of

flame engulfed the stricken vehicle.

Alan!  ALAN!

He could see that it was no use.  His baby brother had been swallowed

up in a funeral pyre as the petrol tank exploded.

Image result for car on fire

(Photo by NathanWest at English Wikipedia,

transferred to Commons by Ebe 123, using Commons


Per Ardua Ad Astra that had been his Dad’s motto once and Gary reflected

on that as he gazed out of the Remand Centre window from his top bunk.

He felt for the badge which was still pinned to his hoodie.  One star glittered

more brightly than all the others.  He remembered Alan singing Twinkle,

Twinkle when he was a kid.  Their mother kept shouting at him that it was

what’, and not ‘where you are.

Now Gary didn’t know where his Dad or his brother were, but he felt that

the bright light that was like a diamond in the sky definitely belonged to Alan.

(Photo by Romazur, Wikipedia)