On the edge of the village of Saint-Amand-de-Coly there was a long-abandoned chateau. Left at the end of the war, it had become completely overgrown and was, at least from the main road to Candat-le-Lardin, not even visible. Except to a few, it was completely forgotten.

But Gerard Badeaux had recently met one of those few in a small café, and now he stood at what had once been a grand entrance.  Imposing rusty gates towered above him.  Toying with the locked bolt, he was just wondering how to get past such a barrier when he felt the mechanism suddenly come apart in his hand.  No padlock, he thought wryly, was a match for seventy years of decay.

The gate groaned on its hinges as Gerard pushed. At length, he reached the villa, which was surrounded by a variety of outbuildings in varying stages of decomposition. He could not easily get into the main house, so he tried a large shed.  The door was so rotten it had broken partially off its hinges and as he gave it a push, the whole thing fell completely away.

He stepped over broken bits of moldy wood into a musty atmosphere. Narrow shafts of sunlight lit the dust as his eyes adjusted to the darkness and for several moments he stood. The shapes were unmistakable. Motor cars.  Possibly hundreds of motor cars.  Cars that could not be newer than seventy years old.

Gerard felt his pulse quicken.

He slightly lifted the filthy tarpaulin on the object nearest to him.  And, indeed, it revealed part of a flat tire and a stylish wheel cover.  He pulled harder at the tarpaulin and it came off in a great, choking cloud of dust.

Gerard could hardly believe his eyes.   He stared at a flying stork, unmistakable, her wings outstretched in majestic flight.

He had found nothing less rare than a 1930’s model Hispano-Suiza.

What a treasure. How many other pairs of wings would he find here?

Could that be a Bentley in the distance?

Perhaps a Lagonda?

 

 

 

 

 

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Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
1 year ago

David, I loved this story! What an original idea to write about the “wings” on a Hispano-Suiza! The first I heard of this car was in the Australian murder mystery series about Phryne Fisher. Several of Agatha Christie’s characters also drive a Lagonda, which “goes like the wind”. Cap’n Hastings once took his Lagonda all the way up to 40 mph, which about drove Poirot mad.

So you see, the only thing I know about classic cars is from mystery stories! But that doesn’t keep from loving your story.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
1 year ago

I know my husband would love to find just one forgotten classic car somewhere so I’m sure there are lots of car enthusiasts who would love this! A great story, David 🙂

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

A very impressive piece of writing, David! Your descriptions of all details are very exact and it’s easy to get a sense of being there with your protagonist.
By the way, welcome back to Voice.club! I saw that you already participated with a couple of pieces some time ago, actually right before I made my entry here. I read The Hitchhiker and Courage to Face Another Day, and I loved them both! Wonderful stories! It seems as though you are at home both in South Africa and in France.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

The American Pickers would be so envious! This is an interesting and very different take on the prompt. You can feel your protagonists excitement growing. A great find indeed.

Danielle Burke
Danielle Burke(@danielle-burke)
1 year ago

Your descriptions really stand out in the story, David. I particularly like this one: He pulled harder at the tarpaulin and it came off in a great, choking cloud of dust.

I can picture this moment clearly.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Hi David, it’s nice to get caught up in someones enthusiasm, to be able to share in their dream or dreams, no matter how different or wild their dream may be. I used to have dream of finding something similar – treasure in fact – ha,ha – I used to have a metal detector, the excitement was in the not knowing, waiting for the unexpected. Thank you for this original story line.

Last edited 1 year ago by Eric Radcliffe
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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Your story is unique among all stories on the theme “wings”. A classic and original, I love it. Great story.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  David Drew
1 year ago

You’re welcome, David.

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