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have the energy to steer. He just aimed his vehicle at the middle of the lane round one bend after another as he gradually lost speed.

ANNIE MADE A QUICK CALCULATION and decided she could make a detour to drop her note at the lodge of Burnet Hall and still make her interview on time. She left the main road and accelerated along the country lane, distracted in her haste from noticing that the rain had stopped and her wipers were drying the last spray from the road into an opaque smear.

IT SEEMED LIKE YEARS since he‟d been on a bike, but Jeremy felt he got the swing of it pretty quickly, and as the rain petered out completely, he broke into a whistle. He sat up straight to fill his lungs and realised that he could just see over the hedges. He felt that he had instantly gained a new perspective on the trappings of his life.

BILL CAME TO A HALT. The road was level and the car moved neither forward nor back. It idled quietly, and he slumped over the wheel.

JEREMY HEARD A VEHICLE in the middle distance and was bringing his attention back to the task in hand as he glided round a gentle bend to find a shiny blue car facing him right in the middle of the road. He gripped both brake levers as hard as he could and the old rod brakes started the gradual process of reducing his momentum.

ANNIE TOOK A BEND faster than she should have done, and when she saw the back of a blue car, looming right in front of her as if it was hardly moving, she hit the brake pedal harder than she should have done, and felt herself sliding slowly sideways on the wet road. She eased off the brake and steered into the skid, then tapped on the brake gently and realised she wasn‟t going to stop before she reached the car, but that although it was bang in the middle of the road, there was a gap between the road and the hedge on the right that she might just make it through.

JEREMY HEARD THE MOVING CAR, coming towards the blue car and himself, and thought the safest place to be in the circumstances was off the road. He steered to the left, tilting his body, and as soon as the bike left the road for the soft verge he felt it tipping sideways.

ANNIE SAW BIKE WHEELS, tilting dramatically towards the horizontal. She swerved away aiming for the other side instead. She went straight off the road, felt the car tip as the passenger side sank into soft ground, and then again more dramatically as she came to a

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