One Moment

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It had been a last minute decision that changed our lives forever. Getting into my car, I watched from the rear view mirror as my wife checked our ten year old twins were strapped into the back of her car. Then she walked around and got behind the wheel.

Starting my car’s engine, I glanced at my fourteen year old son, sat now in the passenger seat on his phone. He had been the trouble of all this and the reason why we now had to take two cars on holiday instead of one.

Sighing and partly blaming myself, I drove off. For years, my wife had been trying to get us to buy a bigger car but we couldn’t offered it, unless we got rid of both smaller cars and that would have meant one of us taking the train to work. Getting those thoughts out of my head as I reached the motorway, I tried to think of everything we had to look forward to.

The six hour journey to Cornwall always felt like forever. I found my driving quieter though as the twins weren’t bugging me and my son was too busy on his phone or playing games. I put the radio on and let the rhythm of the music mix with the steady engine.

After stopping at a services and having a quick meet up, we carried on the last leg of the drive. It was a few miles before the turn off,  that I checked my mirrors and saw a lorry swerve lanes and plough side on into the car behind me. My heart stopped and I couldn’t breath but then I had to focus. I slowed and pulled over, praying that car hadn’t been my wife’s.

Yelling at my son to stay, I dashed out and ran to the scene of the wreckage. The car had spun off the hard shoulder and was laying in a tangle remains of trees and undergrowth. I didn’t even look at the lorry as I pulled open the driver’s door. And even though I knew, I was still fighting for it not to be true.

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Wind Back Time

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Hanging upside down and trying to control her breathing as panic floored her, Lisa tried to think about something else. Shutting her eyes which was easy enough to do because she suddenly felt sleepy, she began listing off everything she had had been heading to the shops to buy.

Tea bags, milk, sugar, bread, cheese, fruit and veg….chocolate biscuits, Lisa thought.

A fire engine siren whipped through the air, causing Lisa to open her eyes and stop the list. From her upside view she couldn’t see the red truck but she knew it was there now. Blending on with the other emergency vehicle at the scene.

Her hair felt wet and she hoped it was only sweat. Wiggling, she tried to see if she could get out, but her hand didn’t want to reach down and undo the seat belt. Dragging in a deep breath, she watched the blur of people standing outside her car. Lisa tried to count them, but the figures seemed to become one.

‘Help,’ she cried weakly. Not sure what else to do.

‘It’s okay, Miss,’ a too young looking ambulance man said.

Lisa turned her head to look at him.

‘Please don’t move,’ he added.

‘Ok,’ she mumbled.

Lisa shut her eyes again. The ambulance man was saying something else but she didn’t hear him.

How had this happened? she wondered.

One moment she had been driving along the motorway the next another car had ploughed into her side and she had spun and flipped. At least that’s how it had seemed to her. Perhaps, that was just her mind thinking of it like a movie.

She wished she could rewind this back like a movie. At least then she might try to do something differently. Maybe more lanes or slow down, just something that might have made a difference.

‘We are going to cut you out now. Please stay still,’ the ambulance man said.

Lisa took a few deep breaths and focused her mind winding back time. However, nothing she could do would change what had happened.

Dear Diary #24

Dear Diary,

It seems the year is almost over and what have I got to show for it? I still haven’t been able to face driving again, though my enjoyment of it feels so strong still. It has gotten easier, I’m not panicking every time I see a car and taking the bus is fine. I know driving again will help, but I’m just not sure.

Maybe I need to take a few lessons again? Perhaps that’d help.

Everyone says it’s all in my mind though and it’ll soon go, but I don’t really believe them. They didn’t hit a child.

Going through the whole it wasn’t my fault because the child lock wasn’t on the door and his father hadn’t strapped his two year old son in, still isn’t helping. I was the one driving the car behind, shuffling my iPod from my ex’s favorite song that had suddenly come on. My eyes had been down for a few seconds then back up to see the car door swinging up, something blue and pink tumbling towards me and the flash of red brake lights.

They say it was luckily I was only doing twenty odd and not on a motorway or a country road. I get that. But a boy still died. His injures from hitting the road where the resulted, I just made it worse.

I don’t know why I’m writing about this again. I have pages and pages of the event now. All of them read the same, though sometimes I put in the title of the song, or the afterwards with all the flashing lights and the people and the hospital. It’s all here. In the first every diary of my life.

At least the dreams have gotten better and I’m no longer seeing things. It doesn’t mean normal has arrived. I think that’s still far away. Some days I feel like a robot, empty of thoughts and feelings, just getting on with my tasks. Once in awhile, I’ll have a break down though. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve cried on the bus. As of yet, no one has asked me what’s wrong.

Perhaps, if they did I might feel better.

Hallucinating

He lay on the bed in crippling pain. He wet his lips and dropping his gaze from the ceiling, to the closed door diagonally across.

‘Nurse?’ he crocked, ‘nurse!’

He put his chin to the top of his chest and squeezed his eyes shut. His ears zoomed in on the machines beeping around him and his heavy breathing. He tried to relax, but his whole body was tense with the pain. He bent his fingers, curling them against his palm then uncurling them. He breathed deeply, imagining each exhale taking some of the pain away with it.

The door opened and shuffling footsteps made his eyes crack open. A short nurse had appeared at the foot of his bed. She was wearing a small white hat with a red cross on it, under which her hair was neatly curled. Her dress was a blood red colour and there was a white pinafore over it with a red cross dripping on the front. She picked up his notes and studied them.

‘Are you new?’ he whispered.

‘No, dear,’ she muttered.

As she placed the notes back and came over to him, he noticed her too red blushed cheeks and long black eyelashes. Her skin was pale and tried, though she looked to be in mid-twenties. She checked his drip and he noticed a wedding ring on her finger.

‘Can’t you give me something for the pain?’ he asked, motioning with his left hand his broken legs and right arm.

‘Of course,’ she said and with a smile left the room.

He rested back on the pillow and shut his eyes again. The pain in shot around his legs and he gritted his teeth. He heard the door open again and the same shuffling footsteps. He lay still and just listened to the nurse rattling around. In a few minutes he knew he’d be feeling fine again, perhaps even high.

‘Done. I’ll be back soon.’

He nodded and heard her leave the room. He drifted, dozing but not falling asleep. His right foot itched and he wiggled his toes in the cast. The blackness before his eyes changed to grey then to a bloom of colour. He sighed and fell into the pools of rainbow.

‘Hi, how you feeling?’ a voice called out.

He opened his heavy eyes and a nurse he recognized was before him.

‘I’m fine. That other nurse helped me.’

‘Other nurse?’

‘The one in the red dress and white pinafore.’

‘There’s no nurse like that.’

He opened his eyes wider and stared at her.

‘And no one was due to check on you until now,’ she added.

‘But, she was here! She had a hat and an…accent, old English,’ he stated then frowned at his own words.

‘Are you feeling okay?’

The nurse stepped over and began checking him out.

‘I saw her,’ he muttered, ‘I know I did.’

‘It’s okay. It was probably the pain relief. Maybe you should get some sleep now?’

‘Alright,’ he responded.

The nurse smiled and left.

He shut his eyes and began dozing.

‘There you’re feeling better now, aren’t you?’

He snapped open his eyes and looked up into the face of the old nurse.

Fall

When he fell off the ladder, he thought he was going to die. Luckily, he walked away with only breaks and bruises.

Crash

The air tasted like dust and her feet were killing her, yet Sam still pressed on. All around she could hear voices shouting and crying, though some were echoes that had travelled. She reached out a hand in the darkness and found the brick wall next to her. It was still trembling like the rest of the tunnel was.

She leant against the wall, suddenly feeling like she couldn’t go on. In flashes the events of the last two hours played in her mind like a skipping DVD. She had gotten the train like normal from work, only she’d been more tried and upset tonight. All the carriages had been packed out, but luckily someone had given her a seat. She’d had an energy bar and shut her eyes, more to stop herself from crying then to actually go to sleep.

The train rocking underneath her had felt soothing and the twenty-minute journey should have passed calmly. However, the second they had hit the tunnel something had felt wrong. Maybe it had been the speed or the sound of the engine? Whatever it was became a factor in the accident which had led to Sam being where she was now.

Taking in a few deep breaths, she gingerly rubbed her bulging stomach. The cramp swirling inside of there was making her feel sick and dizzy. Digging her nails into the wall, Sam bent over and took a few more deep breaths. She had read somewhere that doing so could help. Trying to wet her mouth and lips with a half dust covered tongue, she wondered if she should have just stayed.

It had been bad back there though with the dead, the dying and the seemly never-ending screams of the trapped, injured people, who were desperate for help. Those able had been helping and one of them had pulled Sam out of a broken window. He had told her to sit down with the injured people next to the wall and she had for a little while.

She had been feeling fine and had agreed to go with a group to get help. Then the cramps had come and she had encouraged them to leave her behind. Making large circles with her hand, she stood up and slowly began walking. She felt the baby kick and had to pause again.

The shock and stress had clearly affected him and Sam hoped nothing was wrong. Struggling on, she realised that was the reason she wanted to get out quickly. Though, as the tunnel and darkness stretched out, her mind was changing fast. Still, how many times had she been in here on the train? Enough, to know my way and how long it takes, she thought and then noticed that if it took a train eight minutes, it would probably take her longer, especially in the dark.

Biting her lip and feeling more determined, she pressed on. A yellow light seemed to be glowing ahead, but she couldn’t be sure this was the way out. What if it was another train? Or someone carrying a torch? Fighting back any fears, she convinced herself it was the exist and still couldn’t believe it as she stepped outside and into more chaos.