The worst day of your life can also be your last..
|It was raining, the norm for London, and an exhausting day at work had nearly left Jackson Warren lifeless. Working in a crowded, overheated building bustling with impatient press members and more deadlines than the number of people in the building was no job for a retired American author. Jack had been hired as an advice columnist, and Jack needed advice himself just to concentrate.
Leaving the front doors of the building wasn’t soothing for him either. The rain had started to fall in that annoying mixture between drizzle and shower, the streets were crowded, and the sound of honking and yelling seemed to engulf London.
On a sunny day, Jack would walk the twenty-two blocks from his office to his small, cramped apartment that he shared with his girlfriend, Charlotte Bradshaw. Today, that wasn’t going to happen. Jack sat under the poorly sheltered bus stop next to a portly woman and a young man smoking a cigar, needing a shave and a change of clothes.
The trolley was ten minutes late, causing the woman to become agitated. She wouldn’t stop complaining to Jack about how poor service was, which got the man flustered. He finally said, “Grace Tomlinson, will you close your mouth?!”
The trolley arrived, and the three of them entered. Like his office, his apartment, and everything else in his life, the trolley was overly crowded, dangerously over exceeding the limit posted by the fire marshal. The people were somber, the dreary day had a miserable effect on the population. Conversation was minimal.
Jack was stuck standing next to a petite young woman with auburn hair who was sitting. She was dressed nicely, so to make conversation, he asked her the time.
“Half and a quarter past six,” she said, and glanced up at him. “My, are you Jackson Warren, the author?”
Jack nodded. “Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Gwyneth Vaughn. I’ve read all your books, Pleasures, Hampton, Confessions. Loved all of them.”
Jack laughed. “Thank you, Ms. Vaughn.”
They sat in silence for a few moments, and the trolley began to cross a bridge. Gwyneth spoke again. “So, Mr. Warren, what brings you to London?”
Just as he was about to answer, the trolley hit a bump or something and shook dangerously. A few people screamed. Jack braced himself, and looked at Gwyneth Vaughn nervously. She turned to look out the window to see what had just happened, when it happened again. This time, Jack stumbled and fell into Gwyneth’s lap. “Sorry,” He said, and was just starting to get up when the trolley hit it again. This time was the hardest. The trolley tilted dangerously to the side, and Jack fell onto the floor.
“What the hell is going on?!” He yelled.
The portly woman, Grace Tomlinson, screamed, “the wheel!”
Everyone rushed to the side of the trolley to look out the window. Jack was pressed awkwardly against Gwyneth, however he could still see. One of the trolley tires had somehow detached from the axle when we had hit the first bump. The trolley was out of control. Jack felt blood drip down his forehead. That’s when he realized something was terribly wrong. The driver had hit his head on the steering wheel, and had been knocked unconscious. The remaining wheels of the trolley had turned to the right and was haphazardly edging right into the path of oncoming traffic. Cars were beginning to swerve, but an oncoming oil truck didn’t see them in time.
Nobody could do anything. The trolley was heading too fast. Jack began to pray for Charlotte and his life. He embraced Gwyneth, right as the smashed right into the side of oil truck. The explosion was deafening, yet silent. Jack was blasted with intense heat. Outside, all he could see was flames and fire, orange and white, as if the trolley had driven into hell itself. Then everything went black.
THE NEXT DAY
Tears rolled down Charlotte’s face as she read the morning paper. The headline: THIRTY KILLED IN TROLLEY ACCIDENT. She had been wondering why Jack hadn’t returned home last night. The trolley that had been in the accident was the 6:15 London-Fairway trolley. Jack’s trolley. She immediately tore through the paper to the advice column. She looked at his smiling face, and began to sob. How did he know that the job he hated would be his last?
There was a list of the deceased in the article, but Charlotte refused to look at it. She flew to her room and locked the door, sobbing for hours.
If only Charlotte had read the newspaper that day, she would have saved herself.
She would have realized that Jackson Warren was not on the list.