Car 1

Mrs Minerva Nicholas

Outward appearance

An older woman, face creased by continual despair. She is too short for the seats -- the tips of her thick soft blue shoes only just reach the floor. She is an odd combination of the academic and the prosperous. A Silver eagle broach is pinned to her cloth coat, a Hermes scarf splashes pink and black across the collar. She looks as if she were hypnotized, concentric circles of flesh around her eyes.

Inside information

Lives in Marlow. Husband is a Head Teacher in High Wycombe. He takes the car; she has the commute, getting up at 6.00 every morning. The cushioned shoes help with the walk to the station. Works for a mental health charity in Lower Marsh.

What she is doing or thinking

She is remembering a dream from this morning. She dreamt that her house was in Bosnia. She was serving supper, carrying in a dish of Brussels sprouts, her husband sitting at the table.

Something was thrown through the window. In her dream she knew it was a bomb full of ball bearings. She flung herself back into the kitchen, there was a crackling of fireworks.

She can still hear the noises her husband made -- like cricket balls dropped into custard, and a horrible dog like yelp that rose to a squeal. The sudden silence afterwards told her that her unattractive but decent husband was dead.

That is what Bosnia is like. It is real. And now someone has threatened to knife the man sitting next to her. She feels delicate, shivery and wants to get off the train.

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