TW: road traffic accident, graphic descriptions of injury and death
She hated it.
She hated the city. Everything about it.
She hated how bustling and cosmopolitan it looked on the surface. She hated how it felt homey and cosy; when underneath it was bleak. Nightmarish.
The vibrant things about Las Vegas were necessary; they were necessary to hide the ugly things that actually happened. And Lucinda Black knew of those things.
Her relationship with the town was complicated. She had grown up here, made friends here, gone to school here. She remembered chasing butterflies and feeding ducks. A part of her still loved Las Vegas. She had strolled through these streets, hand in hand with her mother, her best friend.
But Hate is stronger than Love.
Lucinda despised the city, and most of all, the people.
She despised the people who just watched.
She remembered the day as if it was yesterday.
Her mother was driving, talking about anything they could think of. Suddenly her mother's sharp eyesight saw a truck in the next lane. It was going fast, too fast then it should have. They both watched as the driver finally lost control of the truck, and suddenly changed lanes, and the next thing Cindy knew, the truck was barrelling towards them.
It was right next to their car. The metal rods in it were visible; positioned so that if the truck overturned, the bars would impale them.
In that moment, Cindy realised how it felt before dying. The fear is like icy acid filling their veins, turning their brain to mush. She felt blind terror, from the crown of her head to the soles of her shoes.
Her mother struggled to miss the truck, to hit ANYTHING except the truck. Not for herself, but for her daughter's life.
But what happened next was inevitable.
The truck slammed into their car. The rods impaled her mother, but by some miracle, missed Cindy. She wasn't left unscathed though. She was cut deeply in several places, and her pale yellow dress had turned maroon from all the blood. Her shoulder was cut the worst. But her pain all dissipated as she looked at her mother. She blanched, feeling a fresh wave of dread well up inside her. Many rods had stabbed her mother. But the most noticeable injury was the one in her chest. The edges of the wound were purple. It wasn't bleeding as badly as expected, but her mother was still turning paler by the minute. Blood oozed out of her mouth, her feet slapping against the seat.
Cindy knew what would happen next, but she didn't want to believe it. That would make it seem too real. The fear that she had felt before was nothing compared to the panic that was coursing through her veins right now. She tried to move but she couldn't. She was frozen to the spot, her body numb with shock. But the sight of her mother trying to breathe, taking short, rapid, raspy bursts of her air in her lungs, broke her out of her stupor. She got out of their car, rushing to her mother's side. Her time was running out. Cindy looked at the people around her, screaming for them to help her mother, to call an ambulance, to do anything, anything to save her mother.
And yet the people still watched.
Just watched as her mother put her hand on Cindy's cheek and said in a feeble voice, "Leave town. Go to your aunt's. Leave, and never come back."
And with that her mother released her last breath, and looked at the stars, the last ones she would ever see.
And nobody noticed as she looked at a man with caramel hair and pale, ghostly cheeks.
Green eyes, ones that would haunt her till her death, were focused on Poppy Black in terror. He got to his feet quietly, hoping nobody would see him as he fled the scene.
But Cindy did. And instead of feeling a thirst for vengeance, or rage, she felt nothing. She was numb with grief.
Everything after her mother's funeral was a blur. She lived with her aunt, and came back only on the day it had happened.
For two whole years.
Her routine was the same every day.
Wake-up. Eat. Walk. Breathe. Sleep.
Then do it all over again. And again. And again. And keep doing it till the day its not as painful anymore. Lucinda had yet to find that day. It still hurt just as horribly.
Cindy looked at herself in the mirror. Dull black hair and blank blue eyes greeted her. Maybe she should have worn sometching prettier, but she honestly didn't care. She didn't have her mother anymore. Nothing should look pretty, not even herself. Besides, she had too much misery in her life to worry about how she looked.
Her father had divorced her mother when she was five. Her younger brother lived with her dad. The continuos fights between their parents had driven the two siblings apart. She hadn't met her brother in the past ten years. Her mother had been with her through thick and thin. Naturally, she was the most important person in Cindy's life.
The city had taken away everyone she loved- her brother, her dad and her mom. Her aunt was very kind and easy to talk to, but she wasn't the same as Cindy's mom. There was a pit in her stomach that had once contained her mother's affection and care, but was now empty, and would never be filled.
" I am ready. Let's go, Aunt Cynthia."
Her pale hand was holding a bouquet of flowers, mostly poppies. Her mother loved poppies even more than roses. After about an hour later, she was sitting near her mother's grave, her feet ankle deep in the stream nearby, releasing the flowers in the water, talking about everything she felt. At least trying to. She would get choked up and leave a sentence in the middle, knowing that her mom would understand. She hoped that wherever her mother was, she was feeling happy.
By nightfall she thought she was ready to leave. To leave her heartbreak here. Tomorrow would be a new day. Tomorrow she would try to be herself.
Not forget. She could never forget. But for her mother's sake, she had to move on.
She watched as the last poppy floated out of sight.