Prompt: Out of the Fog Winner
|Rounding the corner, I plunge into another thick wall of white. Dammit, I hate night driving and patchy fog is the worst. I dip my lights and ease up on the accelerator; the crappy little lanes round Saska’s are lethal at the best of times. Tall and narrow, they’re lined with hedgerows of solid earth and stone. No more than dirt tracks in places, how she can stand to live out here is anyone’s guess.
I turn up the radio for company – some lame local station hosting a ring-in quiz. I could flip through the channels, find something less dreary, but I should be at Saska’s by then. I frikkin’ hope.
The lane rambles on, long and bleak, as the fog lifts again. Between patches, I catch glimpses of night sky above the road. In the clear black, stars shine down like diamonds – cold and hard. And then I’m back in deep, wrapped in thick, wet air.
I swerve to miss a lump of granite. The rains last week caused bits of hedgerow to collapse, and I hear the scrape as my nearside wheel-trim hits the other side of the sodding road. Y’know, the sooner Saska moves into mine, the better.
The sudden impact slams me into the steering column and presses my wordless shout into a gasping choke.
Before I can register anything other than shock, the seatbelt yanks me back and I feel a sickening crunch in my neck as I snap under the whiplash. I groan; try to move my head. Okay, neck not broken, I reassure myself as – in that instant – my eyes focus on the spider’s web of cracks in the windscreen.
The glass is buckling under weight and there’s the shadow of what might be a limb staining the light red.
I throw up.
My stomach gives a violent heave and I jerk forward, spewing all over the steering wheel. Da’fuck have I hit? I’ve hit something, something I didn’t see in all this shitting fog.
I can’t see what it is. Please let it be a deer. Or a dog. Yes! Let it be someone’s dog that’s got loose, I pray, my mind jittery in hysteria. Not a person.
Please. Not. A. Person.
I’m shaking and, when I fumble for the belt clasp, I can’t make my fingers obey; they slip and slide, and feel all tingly. Like they’re not really attached to me anymore.
I feel cool splashes on them and jerk my head up, terrified it’s blood from the… the thing on the windscreen. But it’s only water, teardrops. I’m crying. Funny – the tears felt hot, burning hot, running down my face; but they’re cool on my hands.
I try and focus on that thought. Anything to blot out the horror. Let it be an animal, I keep whispering. Out loud now, as though that will give the sentence power. It’s not a person. It’s not a person. It’s not a person.
But animals don’t wear pearly pink nail polish and they certainly don’t wear engagement rings like the one I gave Saska last summer.