So late last night, I left the house because I heard strange sounds and found what I recognised as a neighbour’s car burning in the road outside.
Disorientating. This is a quiet village, crimes don’t happen here; I don’t know when there was last even a chimney fire. But now I’m looking at a car engulfed in flames, surrounded by sleeping people.
And of course, I had no way of being sure whether the guy who owned it was still in there or not. The heat – indeed the light – made it impossible to see if there was a body inside.
I won’t keep you in suspense, he wasn’t. But it was a long time before I knew that for sure.
He hadn’t left it here of course. It had been broken into and pushed a little way from the house, we guess so they could start it out of earshot. When they found it wouldn’t start they must have torched it to hide any evidence. It wasn’t the sort of car you’d steal for resale, and it’s not probable that someone would come way out here to find one for a joyride; most likely they’d wanted a random vehicle to carry out a robbery.
Intriguingly, another car was torched shortly after only a mile or so away. It must have been the same people, this isn’t the kind of place things like that happen ever, never mind twice a night. Maybe that was a second attempt to take a vehicle that refused to start.
I hope so. We’ve a way to go before we get to the bottom of this, but I like to think the cars of my neighbours helped foil a crime last night.