Here’s another installment from my 2006 NaNoWriMo project.
I have comments turned off, not because I don’t want your feedback, but because I can’t afford to think about revising at this point – I hope you understand. 🙂
Please remember, this is straight from my rough draft – I’ve done virtually no editing. 🙂
Thanks for reading and KEEP WRITING!
She sighed. “They were in a car accident.” She closed her eyes and relived the memory as she spoke. “It was late, around 1:00 in the morning, I believe. We were coming from dad’s retirement party. It had been great,” she turned and smiled at Dalton. “The associates at Liberty really went all out. They had rented a huge auditorium at the Plaza Hotel, champagne flowed, I remember there was a lot of laughter. Everyone had pitched in and bought him a really nice silver watch AND,” she held up two fingers, “two tickets for a Caribbean cruise.” She smiled at the memory. “They were so surprised! And very excited. My father was sort of a workaholic – he would never take vacations even though mom begged him to. This cruise would have been perfect for them.” Her face fell. “They never had a chance to go.” A white hot stab of grief sliced through her heart and tears began to pool in her eyes. “I … I had been following them. We were going back to their house to wind down and just … celebrate, as a family.” She sniffed, a lone tear followed the gentle swell of her cheek.
Dalton reached for a tissue and handed it to her. She took it and blew her nose.
“I saw it happen,” her voice was so low Dalton had to lean forward in order to hear her. “A drunk driver crossed the medium and hit them. The police told me he had to be going 80 or 90 miles per hour. My folks … never … had a … chance.”
She swallowed and continued softly, her voice breaking at irregular intervals. “I watched them die.” She lifted moist, glassy eyes to him. “I slammed on my brakes and almost rear-ended them. I swerved and ran off the road. I got out of my car so fast I tripped and twisted my ankle. But I didn’t notice. All I could do was pray that my parents were okay. That they somehow survived.” She crossed back over to the bar stools and sat down. She grabbed another tissue and blew her nose again.
There was a long pause. Brenna could hear the soft rustling of leaves outside, a distant police siren, the steady tick, tick, ticking of the wall clock. “I reached the car.” She breathed in deeply. She shredded the tissue as she spoke. She could see it all so clearly. It had happened right next to a streetlight. Her parents’ car was bathed in soft blue light. She approached the vehicle from the rear. It was in perfect condition. She had almost convinced herself it had all been a bad dream until she walked around to the passenger side door and saw the shattered windshield. She hadn’t wanted to look inside the car, but she had to. If she could somehow save her parents, she had to try.
“I yanked on the passenger door. I could see my mother. Her head was resting on the headrest. Her face …” she swallowed, “her face, neck and chest were covered in blood.” She sobbed, grabbed another tissue and buried her face in it.
Dalton clasped his hands between his legs, lowered his head and sighed. “I’m so sorry, Brenna.” He didn’t offer more. There was nothing he could say that would make her feel better.
She didn’t hear him. All she could see was her mother, lying prone on the seat, her beautiful lavender silk blouse soaked in blood. She wasn’t breathing.
“I knew she was dead,” she continued, her voice toneless, dead. “I ran to the driver’s side. I could see my father slumped over the steering wheel. His head was resting on his right hand, his left hand was on the dashboard, as if he were still bracing for impact. He wasn’t bleeding, at least on the outside,” she added, almost as an afterthought. “His eyelids fluttered. I think I screamed, ‘DAD!’ though I can’t be sure. All I remember was trying to frantically get his door open. It was crumbled inward. I pulled so hard I dislocated my right shoulder. But I didn’t know that until later.” She stated matter of factly.
“I opened the car door behind him and crawled into the back seat. I scrambled to reach him, desperate to save him.
“He was breathing, but only barely. I could hear a soft wheeze with each labored breath. I gently touched his shoulder as I leaned in between them.
‘Dad,’ I said. ‘Help is on the way. Hang on, please hang on.’ I couldn’t see his face very clearly, he had it turned toward the window, but I could hear something, a raspy whispering, as if he were trying to talk to me. I stopped breathing and listened.
‘Is she dead?’ I wasn’t sure what to tell him. My parents have always had a sixth sense when it came to each other. They were so in love you see,” she sputtered an exasperated, desperate chuckle. “I knew he would know if I lied. But I tried, I honestly tried.
‘I think she’s okay, unconscious, but okay.’ He didn’t believe me. ‘She’s dead, isn’t she.’ What could I say? So I said nothing. ‘You’re going to be okay, dad. Just please, hang on. Some other cars have stopped. I’m sure someone has called 911.’ I can’t be sure of this part,” she paused and tilted her head toward the ceiling as if studying the tiles would somehow confirm her doubts, “but I think he chuckled. ‘You could never lie to me, Bren. I know she’s gone. I can’t feel her presence anymore.’ He said. I began to cry. I couldn’t handle this, I couldn’t handle watching him die. I could hear sirens in the background, help was coming. ‘Dad, do you hear that? They’re coming, hang on. Please, dear God, don’t leave me.
I love you, Brenna’ he had said. And I knew. I knew as soon as he heard mom was dead he was going to give up. His soul mate, his lover, his best friend was gone. There was simply nothing left for him to live for. I stroked his hair. I kept talking to him. I kept fooling myself into thinking he was still breathing and trying to cling to life.
He was dead before the ambulance reached us.”