Wednesday, 2 August 2006

the road to ......

It was clear that something had happened but it took us a few moments to establish exactly what.

There was a long queue of traffic. The sign up ahead flashed 40 mph, 40mph, 40mph.

James groaned ‘we’re going to be stuck here for ages.’

As we joined the queue we realised it was not stationary. It was actually moving very, very, slowly.

‘Everyone’s slowed down to look at something.’

I scanned the area.

There was no traffic moving in the opposite direction. What ever had happened had completely blocked the other side of the motorway.

‘There must have been an accident.’

James and I recalled an unspecified emergency vehicle that had passed us, sirens blazing, 5 minutes earlier. I spotted and air ambulance hovering in a field to the side of us.

‘Looks like it was a bad one.’

I started to panic a little.

We could see debris in the partition down the middle of the motorway. The prospect of the battered bumper and burnt out exhaust pipe that lay there being connected to this incident chilled me to the bone. Could there have been a collision so forceful that debris had made it this far away from the point of impact?

It felt like we were caught up in some kind of morbid, voyeuristic procession. My mind's eye conjured up images of a pile up, and flesh and blood, and dazed, screaming people.

I had witnessed a nasty accident six months previous to this and had been disturbed by it. I knew that looking at what ever had happened here would have the same effect. I glanced over briefly but the twisted metal that I saw was sufficient to fill me with fear and I hung my head as we passed by.

Yesterday I was late for the dentist and James was late for work. James put his foot down to try and speed up the journey.

‘Don’t bother’ I had said ‘it’s not worth it.’

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