Prologue cont.

Whomp was the sound made as the bumpers touched. The jolt was minor, almost a relief. Then the truck increased its speed, and with it the speed of Dr. MacPherson. The road was too narrow to do anything but try to stay on it. He didn't even try the brakes because the road was so slick. Instead, he used the accelerator to attempt to get away.

The truck stayed with him until he hit 85 mph. Then he got away. The truck was still there, but not so close. He would have to keep speeding to avoid it. As long as the road didn't turn before the rain let up, he might be O.K.

That's what he was thinking when the steering wheel pulled sharply to the right as the right wheel popped from the axle. The car immediately crossed the narrow shoulder and plunged into the canal on the right side of the road. It started to sink.

MacPherson was not seriously injured. The car had planed across the water at first. The water had cushioned the impact. The seat belt had kept him in the car. Now he unfastened it. His chest hurt where he had hit the steering wheel. The adrenalin was making him function, despite his bruises and shock.

He grabbed his door handle --- and it came off in his hand. He looked at it in wonder for a moment, then dove across the seat for the passenger side door. Its handle came off too. He noted that the car was sinking front first from the weight of the engine. He pressed the window button, but soon realized that the electrical system was now short-circuited by the rising canal water.
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