The Passenger (Rewrite)

This is an edit/rewrite of a short story I threw together earlier today


I take the slip road onto the motorway checking my mirrors as I merge into the first lane. A heavy bass line from the radio is trying my concentration so I turn it off.  The road is empty except for two or three cars so I hit the accelerator and move into the middle lane. Keeping one eye on the tarmac and one on my mirrors I consider my next move. If I get this wrong it will be all over and I will be back to where I started.

We have been on the road for over an hour and the sun is starting to rise. The young woman next to me is silent and staring out of the passenger window. It was 4am when woke her up, told her to get in the car and keep calm. So far she has been obedient and I am grateful. I hate giving orders. I’m not very good at it but it’s a crucial part of my job. I glance over at her again and notice that she is crying quietly with the occasional delicate sniff. I extend my arm and offer her a tissue from my chest pocket but she ignores me.

Without exchanging a word we drive north past Birmingham, Stoke on Trent and a few hours later we crawl through Manchester. There is still 50 miles of our journey to complete and I was hoping that the car would make it before the flashing red light reminded me to fill up on fuel. I know I must stop but the risk of the plan falling apart is greater this way. Cursing myself for not thinking this through I reluctantly turn off at the next service station. I breathe a sigh of relief when I see ‘pay at the pump’. Logic tells me that it wouldn’t be possible for her to make a run for it however I feel more at ease knowing that I am only feet away.

To my surprise she doesn’t try to escape although I know I still can’t trust her. Not yet. For the entire journey she has stayed in the same position, not even moving to look out of the windscreen. I’m almost disappointed and wonder how she gave up the fight so easily.  She is not the girl I used to know and for a brief moment I question whether I am doing the right thing.

I consider removing the ties from her wrists and ankles but my boss warned me against doing so. Before we left I switched off her mobile phone and placed it in my pocket. Then I got a blanket from the boot of the car and wrapped it round her to conceal the restraints. She looked quite snug and hoped that it would provide some comfort for the long journey.

She starts to shuffle in her seat and it makes me nervous. I am travelling at 90mph and it would be suicide to jump out of a moving vehicle at that speed. Looking over in my direction but not making eye contact she tells me she needs to go to the toilet.

“You can’t. We can’t stop”

“I have been in this car for nearly five hours. Please, I won’t try anything funny. I just need to go.”

We are now travelling over the top of the Yorkshire Moors and places to pull over are sparse. The baron and imposing landscapes sends a shiver down my spine. My better judgment tells me this is a classic sign that she is planning an escape but also I don’t fancy cleaning the car afterwards if she is wrong.

“I will get off at the next junction and will find somewhere for you to go. If you are thinking of trying anything though, just remember I have a shotgun in the boot.”

She nods then whispers “thank you” before returning back to her position and staring out of the window.


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