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As Andrea turned off the motorway onto the road to Brockbourne, the small village in which she lived, it was four o’clock in the afternoon, but already the sun was falling behind the hills. At this time in December, it would be completely dark by five o’clock. Andrea shivered. The interior of the car was not cold, but the trees bending in the harsh wind and the patches of yesterday’s snow still heaped in the fields made her feel chilly inside. It was another ten miles’to the cottage where she lived with her husband Michael, and the dim light and wintry weather made her feel a little lonely.

She was just coming out of the little village of Mickley when she saw an old lady, standing by the road, with a crude hand-written sign saying ‘Brockbourne’ in her hand. Andrea was surprised. She had never seen an old lady hitchhiking before. However, the weather and the coming darkness made her feel sorry for the lady, waiting hopefully on a country road like this with little traffic. Normally, Andrea would never pick up a hitchhiker when she was alone, thinking it was too dangerous, but what was the harm in doing a favor for a little old lady like this? Andrea pulled up a little way down the road, and the lady, holding a big shopping bag, hurried over to climb in the door which Andrea had opened for her.

When she did get in, Andrea could see that she was not, in fact, so little. Broad and fat, the old lady had some difficulty climbing in through the car door, with her big bag, and when she had got in, she more than filled the seat next to Andrea. She wore a long, shabby old dress, and she had a yellow hat pulled down low over her eyes. Panting noisily from her effort, she pushed her big brown canvas shopping bag down onto the floor under her feet, and said in a voice which was almost a whisper, ‘Thank you dearie. I’m just going to Brockbourne.’

‘Do you live there?’ asked Andrea, thinking that she had never seen the old lady in the village in the four years she had lived there herself. ‘No, dearie,’ answered the passenger, in her soft voice, ‘I’m just going to visit a friend. He was supposed to meet me back there at Mickley, but his car won’t start, so I decided to hitchhike. I knew some kind soul would give me a lift.’

Something in the way the lady spoke, and the way she never turned her head, but stared continuously into the darkness ahead from under her old yellow hat, made Andrea uneasy about this strange hitchhiker. She didn’t know why, but she felt instinctively that there was something wrong, something odd, something … dangerous. But how could an old lady be dangerous? It was absurd. Careful not to turn her head, Andrea looked sideways at her passenger. She studied the hat, the dirty collar of the dress, the shapeless body, the arms with their thick black hairs… Thick black hairs? Hairy arms? Andrea’s blood froze. This wasn’t a woman. It was a man.

At first, she didn’t know what to do. Then suddenly, an idea came into her terrified brain. Swinging the wheel suddenly, she threw the car into a skid, and brought it to a halt. ‘My God!’ she shouted, ‘A child! Did you see the child? I think I hit her!’ The ‘old lady’ was clearly shaken by the sudden skid. ‘I didn’t see anything dearie,’ she said. ‘I don’t think you hit anything.’ ‘I’m sure it was a child!’ insisted Andrea. ‘Could you just get out and have a look? Just see if there’s anything on the road?’ She held her breath. Would her plan work?

It did. The passenger slowly opened the car door, leaving her bag inside, and climbed out to investigate. As soon as she was out of the vehicle, Andrea gunned the engine and soon she had put a good three miles between herself and the awful hitchhiker.

It was only then that she thought about the bag lying on the floor in front of her. Maybe the bag would provide some information about the real identity of the old woman who was actually not an old woman. Pulling into the side of the road, Andrea lifted the heavy bag onto her lap and opened it curiously. It contained only one item — a small hand axe, with a razor-sharp blade. The axe, and the inside of the bag, were covered with the dark red stains of dried blood. Andrea began to scream.

ВОПРОС 1 Andrea shivered because
1) the sun was falling behind the hills.
2) it was chilly inside the car.
3) it was snowing outside.
4) the weather was wintry.

ВОПРОС 2 Andrea decided to give the old woman a lift because
1) she normally picked up hitchhikers.
2) she didn’t think it was dangerous.
3) had never seen an old lady hitchhiking before.
4) she was alone.

ВОПРОС 3 The old lady seemed strange to Andrea since
1) she wore old shabby clothes.
2) her behaviour was unnatural.
3) she didn’t take off her yellow hat.
4) she had a big shopping bag.

ВОПРОС 4 Andrea suddenly stopped her car because
1) she thought she had hit a child.
2) the car skidded as there was ice on the road.
3) she wanted to make the passenger get out of the car.
4) she intended to frighten her passenger.

ВОПРОС 5 Andrea opened the bag because
1) she was going to find the address of ‘the old lady’.
2) she would like to use her things.
3) she intended to throw her things away.
4) she wanted to find out who the passenger was.

ВОПРОС 6 Andrea felt terrified because the hitchhiker turned out to be
1) a thief.
2) a smuggler.
3) a murderer.
4) a woodcutter.

ВОПРОС 7 According to the story, Andrea was
1) resourceful.
2) suspicious.
3) cold-hearted.
4) persistent.

ВОПРОС 1: – 4
ВОПРОС 2: – 2
ВОПРОС 3: – 2
ВОПРОС 4: – 3
ВОПРОС 5: – 4
ВОПРОС 6: – 3
ВОПРОС 7: – 1