I cracked my neck as I got in the car – a terrible habit I’d picked up from my dad. He always did it, cracked his neck right as he got into the driver’s seat. Thinking back to our long road trips, the endless school pick-ups and drop-offs, I made a mental note to kick the tradition before I passed it on to my own kids one day.
With a sigh, I shook the memories from my head. I’d been thinking about him a lot lately, I realised with a frown. I checked my mental calendar to see if there were any important milestones or anniversaries coming up, but there was nothing I could think of.
You’re just getting old, came the voice in my head. On theme, it sounded exactly like my father.
I turned the ignition, remembering that I actually had somewhere to be, frowning as my car didn’t roar to life like it usually did.
‘What the…’ I muttered, pulling the key out and trying again. It tried to turn over, with a few half-hearted attempts at life, before I gave up.
Did you flood it? my father’s ghost whispered at me.
‘No,’ I grunted, annoyed, as I pulled my phone out to find the best auto electrician around Underwood.
Because you’ve done that before, the voice continued. Flooded it.
‘I did it once,’ I said, keenly aware I was alone in the car. ‘And if I recall correctly, you were sitting next to me when I did it.’
Teaching you a lesson.
‘Not paying attention, more like,’ I retorted.
Have you gotten a car brakes check by a qualified mechanic recently? the voice asked quickly. I laughed at the idea that my subconscious wanted to change the subject.
‘Brakes aren’t going to be an issue,’ I murmured to myself, ‘if I can’t get the damn thing to start!’
‘Shut up,’ I growled, twisting the key one last time.
The car, to my surprise, burst into life, the engine ticking over beautifully.
I sighed, glancing over at the empty seat next to me.