We have just come over the pass and we are going down into Scarpedale. Everything is very picture-skew, but I can’t look, I’m driving. I’ll stop at the top of the next pass and we can all look at the view.
It’s great driving the bus – it’s got all the features – the media call it the Wonder Bus and the girls call me Motor-Mo. I share the driving with Jimmie, but he’s not on this trip. Just us girls on this trip – us 9gals! and the girl we kidnapped at the seaside. Perhaps we’ll sing at the next stop.
It’s steep, but the bus is real safe, it’s just the other idiots on the road. That truck behind us is getting too close. I switch the screen to the rear-facing cameras at the back of the bus – the truck driver looks blanko blanko – I sound the air-horn – he does not react – his truck is getting closer – perhaps he’s had a heart attack.
CRASH! BANG! SMASH! CRUMP!
The truck has hit the back of our bus – I’m braking the bus hard to slow both us and the truck. Will the brakes hold? “Everyone into their seats! Seat belts on! We gonna crash!”
I think that the truck has joined itself to our bus – I have lost control of everything at the back of the bus, including the motor.
The red wig wag has come down – that means that the air pressure for the brakes is very low. The electric retarder is functioning, but our speed is gradually increasing. Most of the instruments are at zero. All the screens and the warning lamps are out, apart from the flashing “no water in the lavatory”. I think the motor has stopped. Where is that escape lane I was promised?
I look in the mirror – I can see Jolly with the kidnapped girl – I can see everyone – I want them all to live – all to survive – I love them all.
We are going too fast.
Finally there it is – the escape lane – I carefully steer the bus to the side of the highway and into the escape lane, a big, long, gravel-filled trench. Keep the wheels straight. A thought goes through my head that I’m breaking the law by being in charge of a vehicle, namely a bus-truck, which is longer than the legal limit.
It is loud – the bus stops very quickly – everything goes white outside – a dust cloud.
It is quiet – nothing moves – the dust cloud clears – I can smell diesel – fuel is leaking.
“Eloise, Enrica and Enda, grab your things and pull the driver out of his truck! Mary and Margaret, find a good hotel for us nearby! Book us in and order three taxis to take us there! Everyone grab their things and get out now!”
“Get away from the bus – fuel is leaking out.”
The truck driver doesn’t look too good, the girls put him into the stable-side position on the ridge behind the escape lane, he is still breathing. I call emergency services, I explain the situation and ask for an ambulance for the truck driver. The girls are all very quiet – none of them is hurt.
Just Jenny and Jo and me are left. An ambulance has taken the driver away, two taxis have driven most of the girls away, the guys from Highway Maintenance are about to tow the truck away, the police have not yet arrived, we are waiting for the last taxi.
I suddenly realise what I have done.
I have almost killed the ones I love.
I have destroyed our wonderful bus.
My knees give way.
Jenny and Jo catch me and hold me close.
I wet myself.