She had almost reached the road when she heard the sound of a vehicle behind her. Twice in her haste she had fallen and grazed her knees, but now she ran even faster. It had to be Leon, it couldn’t be anyone else. Could it? Perhaps help was at hand.
Stumbling to a halt, Georgina turned. Through the windscreen of the approaching car she could see Leon’s shark-like grin. As she twisted away her heel caught in the uneven ground and with a cry she pitched forward right into his path. She could do nothing to stop herself. As if in slow motion she felt herself falling, saw Leon’s look of horror, and heard the tortured squeal of brakes.
How Leon missed her Georgina did not know. She lay there, paralysed with shock, waiting for the agonising impact, her whole body screaming out its fear, the screech of brakes sounding louder and louder until they almost deafened her. She actually felt the car’s frightening nearness, the rush of air as it skidded sickeningly, miraculously, past her, and the crashing of the undergrowth as it slewed off the road.
Still she could not move. Silence surrounded her now; the car’s engine had died, there was nothing but silence. Silence? Leon! What had happened to Leon?
She scrambled to her feet, charged with sudden, electric energy, and the scene that met her eyes brought fresh fear to her soul. The BMW had its nose buried in a tree-trunk and Leon was slumped, unconscious over the steering wheel.
Her trembling limbs were ice-cold as she waded through the bruised and broken bracken, following the path the car had taken. It was by her own stupidity that Leon was hurt. He could even be dead! Dead! The horrifying thought made her feel sick. Oh, God, she prayed silently, please don’t let him be dead. Please.
She reached the car but the door would not open, no matter how much she tugged and pulled. Through the window she could see blood trickling down Leon’s face. In a panic she clawed her way round to the other side and, relief, the door opened after a struggle.
“Leon! Leon!” No answer. She felt the pulse at his temple and it was strong. Relief flooded through her.
He was alive. Alive! She had to get help. She dared not move him in case anything was broken.
But as she backed out of the car he began to stir. He moved slowly, as though he were coming out of a deep, drugging sleep. His heavy lids lifted and his eyes tried to focus as he sat back in his seat and held a hand to his brow.
Then he saw her and she could see memory returning. “You damn fool!” he grated, and there was no weakness in his voice. “I could have killed you.”
And I could have killed you, she thought agonisingly.