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Friday, 3 April 2015

Great Fictional Characters: Christine

Continuing with the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2015

C is for Christine. Yes, I know she's a car...

For many years, I've been terrified by the idea of machinery having a mind of its own. Christmas is a nightmare full of animatronic Santas leering and waving at me, and creepy angels that I'm sure are just waiting for me to drop my guard so they can break out of the shop window display and hunt me down. Just like Terminator. And Robocop. I know I have an over-active and unusually vivid imagination but I can't even think about those dancing robots without shuddering...

So Christine absolutely scared me to death. I first read the book when I was too young to drive, and the mechanics of controlling a car were a complete mystery. If the driver took their hand off the wheel to scratch their nose, I'd be convinced the car was going to swerve because, as far as I was concerned, driving a car was like riding a horse and required both hands to control it. It was a dangerous beast that needed a human to tame it.

I know better than that now, of course, and can cope with simultaneous driving and nose-scratching, but I still get nervous at the idea of remote-controlled vehicles that apparently move with no human to keep them in check. I'm sure Christine has a lot to do with this fear. She was alive...

The year I read Christine, I was working two jobs, one of them cleaning a supermarket car park. It was an early shift- 5am to 7am- but it suited me as my other job started at 8am and I've always quite liked the peace of dawn when no one else is around yet. The first Monday after the clocks changed in March, I got up, got dressed and set off to work as normal at 4:40am. Now, I'd been used to the sun starting to show itself as I walked to work, down a lane next to the railway track before crossing over the bridge and continuing on the other side but, this morning, I walked it in near-darkness.

"The car sat at the curb facing him, engine growling softly. It was impossible to tell who, if anyone, was behind the wheel; it was parked directly beneath one of the streetlights, and the orange globe burned across the glass of the unmarred windshield like a waterproof jack-o'-lantern seen deep down in dark water."

The sky was a little grey, but the sun was nowhere near ready to appear yet. It was so eerie and, suddenly, I was afraid. The hush, which I'd always found peaceful, now seemed threatening. The lack of humans, previously a sacred few minutes of me-time, felt isolating. It occurred to me how vulnerable I was, walking down this lane alone, and I found myself nervously looking over my shoulder every couple of steps. What was I looking for? A mugger? A rapist? A wild animal?


With a prickle of fear, I realised I was looking for Christine. I could imagine her so vividly, lights glaring, engine snarling; I could hear the squeal of tyres as she raced towards me down the lane, my only hope of escape being to reach the bridge and climb the steps before she smashed me into a bloody pulp-

I ran. And, if you've read Christine, I bet you would've too.


  1. I haven't read or seen Christine in like 20 years. I should revisit that book.

    1. This challenge is a lovely trip down memory lane for all the characters and books I've loved. I think Christine stands the test of time : )

  2. I haven't read this book but I should definitely put it on my list. I'm also terrified of machines coming to life!

    1. Oh my! Be prepared for nightmares... Good luck xxx


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