“Of course, this is a noted black spot for accidents,” the policewoman said with a sniff. “Famous for it.” She reached into the pocket of her luminous jacket and pulled out a tissue.
The couple standing behind the barrier watched her blow her nose and examine the contents of her paper handkerchief. They had been waiting for hours since the collision. They were lucky to have got out of the car; they knew that. But they weren’t talking about it. They stood shivering in the dark, silently thinking of anything other than their brush with mortality.
“There is a story,” the policewoman was suddenly inspired, “- you’ll like this. There is a story of how a couple, just like you, had a crash, bit like yours, on this very stretch of motorway. And when the recovery vehicle came and put their car on the back, they got in with the driver, but it was dark and foggy – bit like it is now – and they didn’t know there was roadworks ahead and they plunged right off the end of the elevated section, splat! Finito, over, done with, gone. Splat.”
The couple shivered – more from the chilly night air than the insensitive copper’s story.
At long last, flashing yellow lights signalled the arrival of their breakdown truck. The policewoman supervised the hauling of what was left of the crumpled car onto the back of the truck and helped the couple up into the driver’s cab. Minutes later, she was waving them off. Lucky, she considered. They could have been in a much worse mess.
“Recovery not here then?” Her colleague roused her from her musings.
“He’s just taken them,” she waved down the empty road.
“What are you talking about?” the other officer said. “They’re standing right there.”
The policewoman stared along the hard shoulder. Two shiny foil blankets were shimmering in the mist. “Er…”
“Here he is now,” the policeman waved down the recovery vehicle that had hove into view. He supervised the securing of the car wreck and the installation of the couple in the cab, while his colleague, dozy cow, stared blankly at the fog.
In the first truck, the driver asked his passengers how they were feeling. But when he received no answer he glanced to his left and saw the seats were empty.
Meanwhile, the second recovery vehicle hurtled on into the night. On the passenger seats, the couple screamed and begged the driver to slow down, their eyes widening and their terror mounting as the end of the road loomed ahead.