The scene of the accident in Tangled Roots, my 2017 NaNo novel
“Shit!” he heard MJ scream. But he couldn’t stop to talk to him. The other people could be seriously hurt. “What the hell?” his friend yelled as Riley exited the vehicle, his right leg screaming in pain when he put weight on it. He tasted something salty. Blood was running from a cut somewhere on his head down into his mouth. His whole head hurt. When he stood, his legs were rubber, except that pain. The horrible pain. There were no other sounds. No birds chirping, not even a squirrel moving. It was dark, so dark. The streetlight at the intersection had been shot out last month and never repaired. MJ’s headlights were still lit, but they did nothing to illuminate the scene. The lights on the other car were out, but Riley caught a faint glow of the taillights.
He heard someone scream. Even in the dark he knew the accident was bad. The side of the Taurus was caved in completely, the front of MJ’s car where the driver should have been. The horn kept blaring. Riley just wished it would stop. He limped to the car, the smell of burnt rubber mixing with another sweet smell Riley assumed to be antifreeze. It must have been leaking out of MJ’s radiator. Then he smelled the gas.
“We need to get them out of there!” he heard himself yell, as if he was detached from his own body.
“Screw that,” MJ yelled back. “We need to get out of here!”
“Man, your car’s not going anywhere,” Riley shot back. The BWM was probably junk, he reasoned, with the amount of front-end damage. MJ had to be doing at least 50 on the 35-mph road. He could suddenly smell the alcohol on his own breath, sure MJ was having the same issue. He knew they were in trouble, but he had to get the people out of the other car. He started to pull on the back passenger’s door, where the screams were coming from. He soon realized it was locked and he would have to break a window. He heard the sound of wing-tips slap-sliding on the blacktop of the road, the echoes getting further and further away. MJ was ditching him.
“Get down!” he yelled to the kid in the back of the car. “I gotta break the window!” The kid didn’t move. He was frozen. But Riley knew the car could go up at any time.
“Holy crap! Is everyone okay? What happened?” A voice slurred from Flatline Road. It was Sandy Prescott, walking down the road in the dark. Riley didn’t take the time to try to figure out what he was doing all the way out here. He had no car, so who knew how he even got out here.
“Go to hell, you drunk,” Riley didn’t have time for this. He pulled off his t-shirt, wrapping it tightly around his hand. He hit the window as hard as he could. Nothing. Only pain in his knuckles. He thought he may have broken something. He felt something in his hand and his stomach turned. He twirled around and threw up in the bushes.
“Lemme help,” Sandy slurred again. He grabbed a rock and Riley heard glass shattering, followed by a scream from the kid in the car. He stood and took the kid as Sandy handed him over. He pulled the kid to the other side of the intersection, where he thought they would be safe. The smell of gas was getting stronger.
“Prescott, get away from there! It could go at any time,” he yelled. He and Prescott were not friends, for sure, but Prescott always had good dope, so he hung with him sometimes.
“There’s a lady in here, man,” Riley watched as Sandy broke the front passenger’s side window and dragged a woman in their direction. The boy screamed again and passed out. He had a nasty cut on his head, but he was not in near as bad of shape as the woman. Riley could smell the blood. He turned away, letting go of the boy, and vomited again.