CARMINE by Amanda Gillies.
††††††††††† Carmine shivered at the strange noises that now surrounded her. The moon was full and stars shone brightly, but Carmine noticed them only with fear. In the dark, open air, she shivered and whimpered in her anxiety.††††
††††††††††† Unlike other Christmasís she could remember, there were no presents, no rides along country lanes. Last year she remembered receiving a set of seat covers and three teddy bears, they were gone now, taken when he left her in this awful place.
††††††††††† "Calm down sister, there ain't nothing to be scared of." Carmine almost jumped out of her metal at the sound of a baritone voice directly behind her.
††††††††††† "Who's that?" She asked fearfully.
††††††††††† "It's only me, Ford." Came the reply, Carmine thought he sounded amused.
††††††††††† "You're not going to hurt me, are you?"
††††††††††† "I'm in no condition to hurt anyone." Now the voice sounded sorrowful and Carmine felt her heart go out to him.
††††††††††† "I am though, shut up down there or else," the tenor voice, sounded scratchy and irritable, it startled Carmine and she whimpered again.
† ††††††††† "Now, now, don't take no notice of Hillman, he's almost finished here. Some of the old un's gets irritable." Ford told her.
† ††††††††† "Where am I?"
††††††††††† "In the yard o'course, last place for all of us, The Yard, didn't you know?"
††††††††††† "No. What are we doing here, where is my master?" Carmine ended the last question with a pitiful wail. An ominous creaking sounded from overhead.
††††††††††† "Gone on to better things no doubt. Mind you, you look good for your age, and I heard you arrive earlier, sounded good too.† I dare say someone will want you. What you're doing in this queue I have no idea."
††††††††††† "Queue, what queue?"
††††††††††† "This is the last queue. We all go to the worker from here. Someone must have made a mistake with you, much too good looking to go to the worker." Ford sounded so certain that Carmine began to relax.
††††††††††† "They took my engine out," she said petulantly and shivered.
††††††††††† "Oh that happens to all of us, not to worry about that. I lost my wings yesterday and tonight they brought me down here." Ford sighed in resignation as overheard the creaking grew louder.
††††††††††† "What's that noise?" A loud banging, then a grinding sound, issued from her left. She felt the air move around her body and shivered again.
††††††††††† "Bye Ford." Hillman called from somewhere overhead.
††††††††††† "Hillman? Ford where did Hillman go?"
††††††††††† "To the worker. That's the last we'll see of him."
††††††††††† "And good riddance," this new voice was female and Carmine strained herself to catch the next words.
††††††††††† "Crotchety old coot, better face it kid, you're for the worker. In good nick or not, the worker don't mind." Carmine imagined a shrug and the coarse voice fell silent.
††††††††††† "Ford why am I here? My master loves me I know he does. I should be at home, nice and warm in the garage, the cat should be asleep on my bonnet, she likes my bonnet. Ever seen a cat Ford?"
††††††††††† "Plenty, usually they're wetting my wheels though, not that I have any left now. Don't have much of anything left now, there goes Hillman," the grinding noise grew louder, then a series of loud bangs disturbed the stillness of the evening.
††††††††††† "Does the worker stop at all?" Carmine wanted to know.
††††††††††† "No Mini, the Worker never stops, too much to do."
††††††††††† "I'm Carmine, not Mini."
††††††††††† "Girl you don't got no name here, you just forgets about names." Carmine jumped at the strong warning coming from overhead.
††††††††††† "Who's that?" She called.
††††††††††† "Caddie, in my day I was the smoothest ride, all shiny an'black, now look at me. Oh, you can't cos you's looking at that wall. Well I's the biggest mess you ever sees," the new voice rambled on into the morning, often with lurid tales from her colourful past.
††††††††††† At dawn the Worker chose Ford and Carmine watched in horror as a huge claw picked him up and carried him off.
††††††††††† "Bye Mini," he called cheerfully, Carmine shivered and whimpered again, why is this happening to me? Why am I here? Where is my master? She could answer none of these questions. She remembered going to a garage and the mechanic failing her on structural faults. Her master then brought her to this place. Fondly she remembered him patting her roof saying goodbye.
††††††††††† A group of large men removed her engine and windows. She looked to her left in the growing light and saw her windows propped up against a wall, well at least they could be fitted again, along with her engine, couldn't they? Someone would buy her, wouldn't they? Hearing the gravel crunch behind her she strained to hear what two humans were saying.
††††††††††† "No, not that one, got instructions, the lad said no one was to drive this little lady again. Main axle and roll bar shot, big hole in the floor and main suspension, quite upset he was, first car and all that, said the first he noticed was a little ticking noise from the back. Isn't that always the way though? Got the engine though if you're interested?" The voices disappeared and Carmine sighed. So he did love her, relief washed over her like a warm summer rainfall, she was loved, even now.
††††††††††† "See ya Mini." Caddie called as the crane lifted the rusted black shell to the Worker.
††††††††††† "Bye Caddie, and the name is Carmine."
††††††††††† "You keeps yer name and you'll be 'ere forever girl!" she called back, Carmine didn't know what that meant, but being here forever did not appeal.
††††††††††† "Mind you, you ain't been here long enough to lose your name, oop's, by girlie." Caddie added as the crane let go of her body. A few moments later Carmine felt herself† moved. The claw of the Worker held her in its powerful grip.
††††††††††† "What! Where am I going?"
††††††††††† "To the Worker. Where else? Goodbye my dear," a new voice replied, Carmine looked down. In the centre of a cleared circle sat an old Morris Minor, stripped down to the chassis. All sound stopped. Carmine was dropped into a huge pit. The grinding noises that seemed to go on day and night grew louder, blocking out all other sound. Then the sides of the pit began to move, Carmine felt a strange pressure, then nothing.
††††††††††† "Ford? Caddie? Anyone?"
††††††††††† "Is that you my dear?"
††††††††††† "Where am I, what happened?" Carmine could see, hear and feel, but it was all strange, as if she were in a tunnel, her sight, restored, seemed hazy and she felt light, insubstantial.
††††††††††† "You went to the Worker with a name, you have not been here long enough to lose your spirit like most of them. Your spirit is floating around now." This information startled Carmine.
††††††††††† "I'm a spirit?"
††††††††††† "Yes. All cars have spirits. I shall be with you soon. My name is Morris, I have had it so long it will stay with me. I am sorry Mini, but you are a ghost now." Morris really did sound sorry for her.
††††††††††† "A junk yard ghost Mini. There are a few around for you to talk to, oh dear, my turn, good bye my dear. "
††††††††††† "Yea, see you later," Carmine watched the Morris Minor swing lazily in the huge claw, then drop into the Worker. Carmine cried. Now what was she supposed to do?
††††††††††† "Hello again my dear." Morris floated at her side, a misty haze of green shadow.
††††††††††† "You're a ghost too?" Carmine asked in a surprised tone.
††††††††††† "Of course, most of the spirits here belong to the more vintage machines. It is love you see, love keeps us alive and love keeps our spirit here. When our memory is lost, then we will be no more. You are loved greatly by your master, as I am. He must forget you, before you can completely rest."
††††††††††† "Oh, I see. Well at least we're not on our own." Carmine replied feeling much more cheerful.
††††††††††† "That is the truth my dear. Come, let us see who else we can find, shall we?"
††††††††††† Carmine followed the green haze around the yard as they searched for like spirits. No longer afraid, no longer alone, Carmine hummed to herself. A faint ticking noise echoed around the empty air.†††