George wound down the car window and turned his cheek into the flow of cool passing air to ease the repetitive throb of a headache. The girl moaned in her sleep and dragged on her flimsy jacket, pulling it protectively closer to her throat. He felt the sudden urge to touch her, to press his lips against hers and suck out her essence. Imagining instead, that it was Marietta lying so close and so still by his side that he could run his finger over her cheek to feel the warmth of her skin without her ever knowing.

The sun had dropped, captured on the edge of the horizon a distant raging fire as the weight of exhaustion pressed against his eyelids. Somewhere along the way he had left civilisation behind him, the road cutting through vast rising hillsides and flying over deep valleys sprinkled with the lights of scattered houses.