I feel nothing as metal crumples around me. I hear only a shrill ring piercing my eardrums like scissors to paper. I haven’t caught up to reality as my head slams into the steering wheel; I can’t hear the horn. Is it broken, or have I gone deaf? Slowly, I feel an ominous chill sweep through my body. It takes over my senses, blocking my thoughts and forcing me into an unsettling tranquility. I feel nothing but cold. Bleak, unforgiving cold. Then, I hear a voice. It’s thousands of miles away but right against my eardrum, and it smells like sweet peaches and rotten flesh. I can taste a rich honey, overlapped by rusty iron. A freezing hand grabs mine and pulls, both gentle and painful at the same time. I pull back; part of me wants to give in, but the rest of me is screaming to get away immediately. I listen to my instincts, pulling back against the force. What feels like millions of the same cold hands grip onto my arm with deadly strength. My muscles relax as my senses are flooded with calamity, but I continue to fight back. “Fine,” says something, screaming and whispering all at once in a chorus of a thousand tortured voices. “Feel it. Feel what we were saving you from.” I am suddenly dropped back into the real world, the mist in my mind being blown away by a rush of intense pain. I scream, begging desperately to be saved, until my vocal chords rip themselves apart. Take me back, please, I plead, reaching out silently for the chilled hands of my only savior. I feel thin fingers curl around my hand. This time, I am easily stripped from my body, and the painless cold welcomes me back. I see a looming figure, made from nothing and everything staring back at me. I feel safe holding its hand as I examine the scene. My car, annihilated. The truck to the side of it, still nose-deep in my dashboard. The light above us, still red from when the driver ran through it. A man, unaware of what he did. I feel a rage bubbling inside of me; this man took away my mortality for the sake of a quick text. I storm over to him, letting my eyes pierce his soul. For a brief moment, our eyes meet, and then his gaze focuses on my car. He turns a sickly shade of green. He knows. A hand lays on my shoulder. I turn back to Death, smiling as serenity fills my mind. I smell sweet peaches and taste rich honey. Its voice sounds like a mother’s song now, gently coaxing me into a state of hypnotic rest. I can’t be mad anymore; he’ll punish himself plenty in the mortal world, this I know. My savior and I walk towards the darkness hand-in-hand, leaving behind my crushed human husk and the horrific collision which came with it. ~•~ The monotone voice of a news reporter filled the room. “There has been a horrible accident today at Harnily’s Crossing. There was one casualty: a young woman at the age of seventeen, killed briefly after impact, taken out by the truck driver in the criminal vehicle. Sources say the driver was looking down at his phone when he sped through a red light, colliding with the victim’s car. Please, be mindful of your driving, so we can avoid tragedies like this in the future. The phone can wait. Be safe, and drive responsibly.”
My friend was recently in an accident (a real accident, not a collision) while on the busy road around the mall on a Saturday, heading ot her sister’s house. She was doing everything right; she checked the mirrors, looked behind her, turned her blinkers on when she merged, etc. As she was looking back to check, though, traffic suddenly stopped in front of her. By the time her friend in the passenger seat looked up from his phone and she’d turned her attention back in front of her, it was too late. The impact reached a total of four cars including hers, all because of horrible timing. I really do believe, based on the description of the impacted people in fron of her, someone may have stopped to look at their phone, or traffic suddenly choked up, and her friend in the car was too busy looking at his phone to notice. Either way, her concussion and bruised ribs could’ve been avoided had everyone been paying attention. (I don’t blame him; one doesn’t exactly anticipate a sudden crash so easily, and she’s a very safe driver. I, unfortunately, would’ve probably been doing the same.) I kept wondering what would’ve happened if she’d died then. What would I feel if I lost my best friend to bad timing? It terrified me, and I tried to imagine myself in a fatal car crash. This is what I came up with. Please, please be mindful of the people around you. In just a few seconds, my friend could’ve died. It can and WILL happen to you if you’re not paying attention on the road, especially a busy one. Drive safe, and remember: it can wait.