You know how it is, you’re sitting at the lights waiting for the green, and everything is calm around you.
It’s a warm day, the sun is out, the sky is blue, and because they’re taking so long to change, you’re almost drifting off, somewhere else than in traffic.
That awful sound of two metal cars crashing, short, sharp, incisive, intruding.
Lights changed, driver next to me, in a lane that ends on the other side of the intersection, pushes his foot to the floor, trying to get in front. Another driver running a red light hits him.
I sit in stunned silence before moments after the scene bursts into life, people getting out of cars to help.
My eyes are on the car than ran the red light. The door slowly opens, and a person is getting out. I look closer, it’s a woman, bright red hair, and blood running down her face.
She is standing, stunned, looking around, then sees a man coming towards her.
Is that panic. She looks in my direction, our eyes meeting for a brief second, then she’s running.
Towards my car.
Seconds later the door opens, she gets in, and the door slams shut.
Two men are now running towards my car.
“Drive,” she yells.
“You’re injured, you should wait for …”
“Drive, now, or I’ll shoot you.”
I see the gun, now pointing at me.
One of the men is pounding on her door, which I noticed she’d locked.
I did, pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor.
The two men were now running towards another car, reaching it before I’d got more than 50 yards. My car was tired, old, and not very quick in a standing 100.
I didn’t tell her she’d picked the wrong car and driver if she hoped to make a getaway.
Before I made a 100 yards, there was a large black 4×4 hurtling towards us.
“Turn left here,” she commanded, pushing the barrel of the gun into my side for emphasis.
I did, nearly losing the rear end of the car in a slide towards the curb, just touching it before moving forward.
My heart was now in my mouth and pounding.
Death by a bullet or an accident, both were high probabilities.
Who was this woman, now indistinguishable because her face was covered in blood. She should be bleeding out. Perhaps she might, and that would save me from an ignominious death.
I could see the 4×4 closing the distance between us quickly.
Perhaps there was another way to die.
Another swerving turn.
“Left,” she yelled almost instantly after the last order.
A few seconds later, “Right”. Then another “left, then floor it.”
The wrong car, I muttered under my breath.
No sign of the 4×4. Had we lost it?
At intersection coming up, one I recognized. The railway station.
“Don’t slow down, straight across.”
“Are you mad?”
Apparently so, and with a death wish.
The front of the car crunched on the driveway, as I hit it at speed, the slammed my foot on the brake. A train was waiting at the platform.
She was out and gone before the car had stopped, and the doors of the carriage had closed, all just before the 4×4 pulled into the station carpark.
Tap, tap, tap.
I looked over at the passenger side and saw my granddaughter looking in.
“Have you been daydreaming again, Poppy?”
© Charles Heath 2018