Derek had been driving all night, he crested the hill and swerved violently to avoid hitting the woman caught in the glare of his headlights. The Ford Taunus coupé crashed against a lamppost and curled itself around it like the lid of a sardine tin. It let out a series of hiccup noises and the tingling sound offalling glass, its last death spasms. Some moments of deep, painful silence followed before the remains of man and car exploded in a spouting fountain ofblazing scrap metal. The lampposts on either side of the street died out as if to pay tribute to the sight of the burning car.
Anna stood motionless in the middle of the road, absorbing the spectacle. She knew she had about sixty seconds to get away from the scene, away from Derek and his fading superiority but her brain had temporarily locked itself in nightmare mode. It
refused to give orders to her legs. Lights already flashed on in upstairs windows and two dogs were barking as if they had the scent of a burglar up their noses. Twenty seconds left. With Herculean power she tore the soles of her shoes free from the epoxy resin that paved the asphalt and moved up hill.
She had just vanished over the top when the first front-door opened and a fat,
pajamed man with wild grey hair stared at the burning wreckage, his face a grimace of horror. Short-sighted eyes searched the emergency numbers on his mobile phone.
It was 5 a.m. and the sun was about to announce another Saturday. The marching womanshivered in her thin trench coat. How could you plan such a thing and make it
actually happen? But it was done. Derek wouldn’t be playing the first violin at the London Symphony Orchestra tonight. Not again. Never. But she would.