The hitchhiker swears in frustration as the car roars by, its tail-lights casting a mocking glow on his face.
It’s a cold November night, and the cruel winds are slicing though his clothes. He’s tired, hungry, and he’s lost count of the number of rides that have ignored his optimistic outstretched thumb. He only needs to go thirty miles. It’s not too much to ask, is it? He’d settle for just one, though- anything to get out of the cold.
A pair of lights sweeping over the hill snaps his attention back to the road. Hastily, he assumes the traditional position, displaying the on-coming car a tentative thumbs-up. He carries no sign, though. Perhaps it’s this that has dogged his luck thus far.
For a moment, he almost believes that the car has slowed down slightly as it passes- and then, incredibly, it stops. It takes him a few moments to register this, long enough for the driver to poke his head out of the window and call, ‘You getting in or not?’
Quickly, he flings the nearest door open and clambers into the back of the car.
‘Thank you,’ he gasps, sincere gratitude in his voice.
‘No trouble,’ the driver says, guardedly. He looks to be in his early forties; his hair is already greying slightly, and his eyes are suspicious and watchful, but kind. ‘You looked like you were freezing to death out there!’
‘It feels like it,’ the hitcher laughs.
The driver’s eyes go to the rear-view. ‘So, where’re you needing to go?’
‘Just up the road,’ he replies. ‘There’s a town called Ashbury…’
‘Oh, yeah? Yeah, I know Ashbury,’ the driver says.
‘It’s not too far out of your way?’
‘No. Actually I’m on my way to Snaresbrook. Ashbury’s on the way.’ And with that, the driver kicks the car into gear and sets off.