Cars travelled rarely on the roads and Christophe soared in the open-top beast.
“As you can see,” he called to Lawrence over the roar of engine and winds, “I like to think of myself of having some knowledge of the new technology.”
“What do you do if this breaks down?”
Christophe pondered the fact of the occurrence that he hadn’t yet thought about.
“I don’t know!” he yelped with a laugh.
They drove onwards, but said nothing more. Christophe concerned himself with trying to drive safely, whilst Lawrence, he noticed, did not appear as shell-shocked as first he had. The time whizzed past; Christophe lost track of the minutes, infinite calculations in his mind. Something didn’t up and it confused him to the point of distraction.
With a split mind – on the spiralling road and the puzzle of the enigmatic man – Christophe drove onwards, almost relieved when he came to encounter the spurts of roads, the overlapping unease of the towns that Belgium clutched. Everywhere, people merged into the buildings, popping to and fro in an instant, and those buildings allowed them to run like ants. They were passengers in the fray.
Travellers rattled back and forth, but, for the grand majority, Belgium and Bruges belonged to its inhabitants. Hotels did not outnumber forked roofs of homes, though the former were, by far, more of a monument than the routine growths.
Reminded, Christophe slowed to allow a carriage to pass, and turned to Lawrence in the created space.
“Where are you staying? I can drive you to Bruges’ square, but no further.”
“This isn’t your motor,” Lawrence said in understanding. “I shall be taking residence up in Bruges, too,” he added, as an afterthought. “I’ll happily be dropped off at the square.”
By then, the low density of the trees and the subsequent increase in noise told that their destination they neared. France, however, possessed more hustle and bustle. All this noise was mundane to Christophe and he pursed his lips to it.
Christophe let himself into the cluttered street-house, and wandered up to his bedroom. He scrawled ‘Lawrence Woodcock’ onto a piece of spare paper that Georges had left for him for such a purpose, and collapsed into the wicker armchair, its creak reminiscing with him about those quiet moments of French wilderness, before any worry about work. Christophe had happily helped his mother, Patrice, with her artistry, but they could garner no money from that occupation. He was too old for being a servant to family matters. Childhood’s disappearance was an additional puzzle that he dared not yet solve. There would be time in the future to think about childhood.
Dazed – and lost in pleasant thoughts of a home that had travelled with him in scattered parts, but that had mostly rebelled at his egress – Christophe positioned himself upon the art of his bed and slowly slid into a sleep full of unanswerable questions.