Shou swerved his car to avoid the collision, narrowly missing the Honda Civic as it ricocheted off the Volvo Estate and onto the central reserve. Aaron was sat next to him in his booster seat, screaming. Shou inhaled sharply as his Range Rover came to a halt a foot away from the bumper of a heavy load lorry.
Aaron was still crying thunderously, his noise drowning out any of the volume from the disorder outside. Shou glanced over his shoulder, people were gathering around the two crumpled wrecks, signalling that the passengers within were still breathing; that the drivers were alive. He closed his eyes, said a silent prayer to ask for forgiveness, and then quickly reversed his vehicle and manoeuvred around the truck calmly. By the time the police arrived, Shou had left the scene and was continuing on his way to Aaron’s school.
It was an important event and Aaron could not be missing. There had been enough witnesses to the accident to verify the cause. Deer on the road were not that uncommon and the young buck had been lucky to escape. Shou relaxed as he tapped his foot on the accelerator. He and Aaron would arrive with time to spare, and Shou allowed himself a satisfactory grin.
Aaron stopped crying just as the tunnel came into view. Shou did not notice this sudden silence. Instead, Shou noticed the queue of traffic ahead of the tunnel. He noticed the police officer motioning for drivers to stop. He noticed the swift bow of this police officer as he spoke to the driver of every vehicle. He also noticed two cars on the hard shoulder, where another officer appeared to be taking details form miserable drivers with a stern expression. Shou began to sweat. He could feel his heart beating heavily, and see his fingers tapping the steering wheel with uncontrollable nervous energy. Aaron started to make gurgling noises, which sounded strangely like Shou’s guilty conscience. He could almost hear the accusations; how callous must a man be to leave the scene of an accident simply to ensure his child receives a rosette?
The Range Rover suddenly came to a standstill next to the policeman guarding the tunnel. Shou opened his window slowly, trying to delay the impending humiliation.
“Afternoon sir,” the officer stated wryly, “there was an accident a mile or so back, we’re looking for witnesses.” He paused, as if any more would be too much information.
Shou swallowed a lump in his throat and replied that he had not been involved, but that he did see some commotion in her rear view mirror. He prayed that would be enough to salvage his journey without having to lie any further.
“We’d appreciate the details if you have any.”
Shou stumbled over some words, explaining the inconvenience of recalling such a minor glance and the necessity of continuing his travel. To Shou’s amazed relief the officer nodded, thanked him and motioned for him to enter the tunnel. As Shou glided into the darkness he let out the breath he had been holding and dropped his tense shoulders. Aaron would be on time for his performance.