George urged the car to go faster, pressing down his foot until the engine roared in protest and the hand of the rev counter twitched nervously. Somewhere far ahead of him where the earth and the sky met, the fire was dying to dull glow as deep inside his chest a hollow chasm gaped.

The girl woke and stretched her arms out in front of her, the smile emerging on her face, innocent and endearing.

“Where are we?” she yawned, peering out through windscreen at unfamiliar territory.

George closed his window and drove face forward, fingers pressed into the steering wheel at regulation ten to two.

“Do you know where we are?” she quizzed again, her voice slipping as she saw that George was trembling beneath his shirt. “Where are you taking me?” Her voice quivered, her arms reaching for her bag and pulling it into a protective bundle on her lap as she stared wide eyed pleading for an answer.