It was the sort of rain that hammered across sideways, making umbrellas and coats redundant as it worked its way in. Cold and soggy, she stood on the pavement curb, waving like a lunatic at what seemed to be the only cab actually picking anyone up.
The driver was a small man. Mole faced and enveloped inside a grey tweed jacket that smelled faintly of mothballs, just like the back of her grandfather’s old wardrobe in the house up north. He peered at her reflection in the rear view mirror while she wound off her address and nodded once, slow and determined, before putting the cab in gear and pulling away.
‘Been down this way long?’ he asked.
‘Long enough,’ she replied, trying to hold herself as straight as possible and avoid soaking the seat.
‘Relax, I knock off after this, don’t worry about a little rain,’ he chuckled. ‘It will dry out eventually.’
She made her excuses but eventually he won out and she let herself relax. It was warm in the cab and the windows had steamed, hiding the city from sight.
‘I could be anywhere,’ she murmured, tracing tiny hearts and faces on the glass. Her father had complained about her doing that when she was little.
‘Aye, but tonight we got one destination and that’s it. No more long haul for this old girl.’
She frowned at the driver. ‘Pardon?’
Winking at her in the mirror he knocked the cab up another gear and slammed his foot on the accelerator.
‘Hold on tight love.’
The cab lurched forward, sending her deeper into the seat as the world around them blurred.
As quick as it started it stopped, the old cab spluttering to a standstill, the scene outside most certainly not London.
‘Home sweet home,’ said the driver, twisting over the seat to look at her. ‘Don’t worry about the fare love, just get yourself inside.’
‘Inside?’ She dragged her palm across the window and squinted. ‘Oh,’ she said quietly.
He watched her walk up the garden path and waited for her to knock before starting the engine.
‘Take care love,’ he called, winding the window up as the front door opened.
Marie turned from the disappearing cab to look at her mother.
‘Hi mum,’ she said, trying to smile. ‘Sorry I’m late.’
Her mother stood there staring.
‘Marie,’ she repeated, tears starting to leak down her cheeks. She bit her lip and held them back. ‘You’re just in time, I made cake.’ She put her hands on Marie’s and tugged her forward. ‘Come inside before you catch a cold. I’ll let your father know you’re home. Dave! Dave! Come see who’s home.’ She pulled Marie closer, wrapping her damp daughter up in her arms. ‘Quick Dave! Look who’s home.’
Daily Prompt: Cake
Promptuarium: ‘There’s an urban legend that’s been circulating for years about a taxi cab that doesn’t take you where you want to go, but where you need to go. One night you step into this cab.’