Who Knows Best?

Copyright Jenne Gray

Now that Doug’s Min Min Challenge is in hibernation, we – C. E. Ayr and I – have have decided to continue with more or less the same idea, a story of anything up to 250 words based on a prompt, which this week is my photo, above. Why not join in? We’re still finalising the format, but if you’re interested, please leave a comment below the story and we’ll be in touch. And you’ll find C. E.’s story here.

Who Knows Best?

Oops, did I say that out loud?
My Mum doesn’t like bad language.
She doesn’t like a lot of things – like teenage daughters hitching lifts, especially when there’s been a killer on the loose for a couple of years.
She’s a bit paranoid, if you ask me.
This is a quiet place.
The only strangers are doctors who work up at the hospital.
It’s safe.
Besides, everybody hitch-hikes.

Back to ‘Shit’ – I’ve been on long shifts in the hospital and have just sleep-walked to the bus stop in time to miss the bus.
I slump onto the bench and prepare for Matron’s fury.
I’m nodding off when I hear a car stop.
Opening an eye, I see a handsome, smiling face that makes my heart skip a beat.
‘I saw you missing the bus. Would you like a lift? I have a shift at the hospital myself.’
Bless my nurse’s uniform!
My woozy head full of dreams of doctor-nurse romances, I jump into the car.
‘I’m Annie,’ I say, suddenly shy.
He doesn’t tell me his name but chats away quite the thing.
When I mention that he’s taken a wrong turning, he says it’s a shortcut.
I know it isn’t, and then, my mother’s words pounding in my ears, I’m panicking.
When the car stops at a red light, I jump out and run into a shop.
He speeds away.

Two days later, his face is on every newspaper.
And I imagine if that light hadn’t been red…

‘All this happened more or less’ back in 1958. The serial killer in question was Peter Manuel, the third-to-last man to be executed in Scotland.



  1. Quite the lucky escape there, Jenne! Shows just how easy it is to fall into the wrong hands! 😳
    I’ll be taking part in your challenge, but tomorrow…time enough to sleep on your prompt image! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Tom. This really hapened to the older sister of a friend of mine. Needless to say, her mother never heard the story.
      So pleased you’re going to take part, and looking forward to your story…

      Liked by 1 person

    • …or seatbelts. Heck, they probably still had those wee sticky-out triangles as indicators.
      Thanks for reading and being, as ever, very encouraging.
      Especially appreciated because it was a new style venture for me.


    • Thanks, Liz.It’s amazing how much cleverer mothers – and fathers – become as we get older!
      I hope you’ll join in this challenge as and when you have time. No obligation to every week, but it would be great to read you if and when you feel like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah! Memories of dismissing parental warnings as a matter of principle. Luckily nothing terrible happened to me. A well constructed story Jen, which held the tension beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice.

    (As others have commented, well-turned story from the edgier side of the Reading Room.)

    Funny how time have changed. Or perhaps better to say, ‘How dramatic can the changes in how we perceive risk and danger in the common world.” Hitchhiking (by either gender) is so far outside of the veil. Ah… for simpler times and milder threats.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was never brave enough to hitch a ride, but a friend of mine did quite often. She said she always knew who was safe and who wasn’t, she’d get an odd feeling. The fact is, she told me, the only time she ever ignored the feeling was also the only time she had to jump out and run.


    • I’m with you, Mimi. I never dared to hitch a ride, although I was once given a ride by a farmer driving along a country road and seeing a young woman carrying a suitcase! I was going to visit my German penpal, she hadn’t been at the rendez-vous so I got the bus, passed her en route in her car and jumped off the bus to meet her – only she took a short cut that didn’t pass that way. I was seriously glad of my knight in farmer’s overalls!
      Thanks for reading and commenting.


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