One evening a man called James was on the road from Oxford to London. There weren’t many cars on the road because it was late. Suddenly in the lights of his car he saw a woman by the road – she was quite young and very pretty. ‘It’s dangerous to walk along the road when it’s dark and late,’ he thought. He stopped, opened the window and asked the young woman, ‘Where are you going? It’s dangerous to stand here at night… perhaps I can take you to London with me.’ The young woman didn’t answer but she opened the door of the car and got in.
James asked her e a lot of questions: ‘What’s your name? Where do you live? Why are you on the road at night? Is your family in London? Where are your friends? Have you got any money? Are you hungry?’ The young woman sat next to James but she said nothing. Not one word. She only looked at the road.
Soon James stopped asking questions and they drove along without talking. Coming into London there were more cars and James had to drive more slowly. Suddenly the young woman started to open the door so James stopped the car quickly. They were in front of a house on a long street. The woman opened the door and got out of the car, then she slowly walked up to the front door of the house. James watched her and thought angrily, ‘She didn’t say «Thank you».’
Three days later he opened the back door of his car and found a coat. ‘This isn’t my coat,’ he thought. Then he remembered the young woman. Perhaps it was her coat. He had to drive to London again that evening so he thought, ‘l’ll take her coat back. ..I remember the street and the house.’ He drove there, parked in front of the house and walked up to the door. An older woman answered.
‘Does a young woman live here?’ he asked’. l think this is her coat – she left it in my car three days ago.’
The woman looked at the coat and began to cry. ‘That was my daughter’s coat.. .’
‘Here, please give it back to her then,’ James said.
‘l can’t,’ the woman said. ‘She’s dead.’
‘Dead!’ said James.
‘Yes, she died five years ago.’
Five years ago?’ James asked quietly.
‘Yes, on the road between Oxford and London. .. in an accident,’ the woman said.