The sound that left her throat was part scream, part shout. Dan grabbed at the handle and pushed the shift into drive. She lifted her foot from the brake and the car shot forward. They brushed the bumper of the car parked in front of them and Sally wasn’t sure whether she had hit the tall gunman or whether he had leapt back in time to avoid her.
The Fiesta shot out into the carriageway and, overcompensating for the angle she swerved back and grazed the side of the other car. “Oh shit, sorry. Dan!”
“Just keep going Sal, don’t stop. Put your foot down. Keep going.”
“Who the hell was that, what’s happening? That was a gun, he had a gun.”
“Avilov, I think it was Avilov.” He twisted back now to peer out of the back window.
“He’s coming Sal, turn up ahead, go left.” She glanced in her driving mirror as she made the turn and saw the dark brute of a car, headlights flashing speeding behind them.
“He’s going to get us Dan, he’ll get us.”
“Keep going, take the next right.” Again she oversteered and collided with a parked mini , the rebound shot her over the centre of the narrow road into the path of a pair of cyclists, heads down, eyes lowered.
“Oh, God – No.” She swung the wheel back again and touched the brake. There was just time to see their shocked faces and hear the howls of outrage and Dan was yelling in her ear again.
“Don’t brake, don’t. Straight across the junction. Go now.”
“The lights are changing, it’s red.”
“Keep going, just keep going.”
They shot across the junction to the sound of squealing brakes and blaring horns and thundered down a road narrowed by cars parked on both sides.
“Watch out.” Dan grabbed the wheel and wrenched it right as an old lady pushing a shopping trolley stepped out from the pavement.
“Oh, shit shit. We have to stop Dan, we have to stop. I’m going to kill someone. Please let me stop.” Tears were flowing freely now down her face and she unlocked her hand from the wheel for a moment to wipe her eyes and clear her vision.
“Don’t stop Sal, he had a gun. You saw.”
“He’s coming, he jumped the lights, he’s coming. Dan we’re going to die.”
“No, no we’re not – just keep going. Take the next left.”
“He’s faster than we are, he’s getting closer. It’s no good.”
The lights of the other car flashed in her mirror again, she glanced up for a moment. When she flicked her eyes back the rear door of a delivery truck filled her vision. The driver strolled around and reached up to pull on the door. She banged the steering wheel, nothing happened. “The horn, Dan it’s not working, there’s no horn. She was upon him now, inches away. At the sound of the squealing tyres and the roaring engine, he spun and threw up his arms in horror as she swerved. Either fear or impact threw him sideways.
“I hit him, I think I hit him. I can’t do this Dan, I just can’t.”
“No, no you didn’t he jumped. He’s okay truly. Keep going, you have no choice.”
“Where the hell are we going, do you know where we’re heading?”
“Out to the motorway, there are cameras, the police will see.”
“Watch out, there’s a cyclist. Take the next right.”
She swerved round the bike and made a huge sweeping turn through the junction. “I’ve got it, I know where I am. He’s right on my bumper.”
“I know.” As Dan spoke the black car hit them for the first time, the thud catapulted them forward and Sally saw stars as her head bounced on the head rest.
“Oh my God.”
“He rammed us.” She was sobbing now, great gulps and her hands and arms shook with tension. “I don’t want to die Dan.”
“We’re not going to. Don’t slow down, don’t stop.”
Again the impact threw them forward but this time she was braced and the shock wave speared through her neck and shoulders. She heard Dan gasp as he was thrown against the seat back. “It’s okay. He can’t get past it’s not wide enough. There’s a roundabout up ahead.”
“I’m going too fast I’ll never make it round.”
“You will, you can do this.”
There were two other cars on the roundabout and Sally wrenched the wheel hard left, the tyres bumped the kerb and the graunch of metal made her scream again. The sound of angry horns followed while they sped on. As the centre of gravity shifted in the sharp turn she felt the tyres lose traction, the car skittered towards the inside kerb and she cried out in fear as she lost control. Instinctively she lifted her foot and when the rubber re-gripped tarmac they shot forward and she struggled with the steering wheel, desperately trying to straighten up. She was muttering continually now under her breath, prayers and pleadings that came from somewhere deep inside that she never accessed.
“Straight on Sal, take this exit.” His words were drowned in the squeal of brakes. Sally glanced into the mirror and time suspended as she watched the big car so close behind begin to tilt. She had a glimpse of the driver’s panicked face as his passenger leaned to grab at the wheel and then in slow motion it passed the tipping point. Her time lapsed brain snapped back to reality as sparks leaped across the roadway followed by the screaming thunder of two tons of steel rolling and bouncing along the tarmac.
“Oh no. He’s crashed, Dan he’s crashed. “She stopped and flung open her door before Dan could stop her. The whoosh of heat as the spilt petrol was ignited by sparking metal knocked her backwards. It was too much and as the black Range Rover was engulfed in flames she hid her head in her hands and sobbed.