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halt in a drainage-ditch. Her body lurched forward, her seat belt bit into her, and then she was thrown back against her seat and headrest.

JEREMY SLEWED SIDEWAYS and felt simultaneously how wet the ground was along his right side, and how heavy the bike was as it weighed down on his left. His head came to rest in a clump of dripping dead nettles.

BILL TURNED OFF his ignition, and could hear only the deep sigh of his own out-breath, and then birdsong.

THEN ALL THREE heard an unlikely reggae beat, masking the engine of another vehicle. The music surged in volume as a cream-coloured camper van, shifting down into second gear, came round the corner with the presence of an ice-cream van entering a suburban estate. The van pulled over onto a patch of hard verge in front of a field gate, and the driver turned off his engine, leaving the music clear and bright.

Annie unfastened her seat belt, rolled her head, first clockwise then anticlockwise, then lifted and dropped each shoulder in turn before climbing out of the car. She was so surprised to find her body apparently in good working order, that she repeated the movements on the road, falling naturally into the rhythm of Pink Floyd‟s „Timefrom a cover version called „Dub Side of the Moon‟. Then she remembered there had been a cyclist, and with a sinking feeling in her stomach she ran to the blind side of the blue car, where a man was struggling to his feet, and righting his bike.

“Oh, it‟s you,” they both said. Then again, with perfect timing “Are you all right?” But then instead of laughing awkwardly at each other, Annie said seriously, “You‟re not wearing a helmet.” When he looked confused she said it again, louder over the music, then stood back, embarrassed at sounding so ridiculously like a big sister.

Jeremy rubbed the back of his head and inspected his hand. “No blood anyway,” he said cheerfully. “Not even a scrape. Just a bit wet.” He pulled his trouser-leg away from his skin and shook his leg.

They both turned to the blue car which had caused it all. The driver was slumped sadly over his wheel but seemed fully conscious. Annie opened his door.

“Have you broken down?” Jeremy asked loudly. Bill turned slowly to look at them. “Yes, that‟s it. I‟ve broken down.” A small, elderly, man appeared beside them just as „Timerolled into The Great Gig in the Sky. He was wearing brown moleskin trousers and a mustard-yellow corduroy jacket over a black tee shirt, with tennis shoes on his feet and grey dreadlocks on his head. He

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