Drama Fiction

Life can hinge on one moment. 

I felt the noise of the speeding red car before I saw it from the corner of my eye. The tranquil spring morning was shattered. 

Straight away I knew something was wrong. As I watched open mouthed, the car mounted the pavement without slowing, the over revved engine roaring, smoke streaming from squealing, complaining tyres. The momentum was finally ended by the family run florists shop front, their ornate plate glass window bursting upon impact, shards scattering across the lovingly created display of flowers. 

I froze, unsure of what had just happened. I couldn't move, couldn't react.

Finally the engine noise was silenced. Only to be replaced by screams. Firstly from the small old lady pulling her bag out of the corner shop doorway. Secondly, from the two teenage girls sat at the bus stop that was still shaking from the force of the impact. And finally from the young mother holding the handle of a pram.

I realised then that time can speed up and slow down. 

This was a moment when the world appeared to halt. Figures in slow motion ran from every direction, each one appearing in sharp focus. Cars slammed on brakes, the air visibly holding them back. The remaining jagged glass pieces from the shop front swung and fell, bouncing across the crumpled bonnet, impaling buckets of roses and carnations.

The screaming mother still held the pram handle, even as two men reached her, the first gathering her up in his arms, the second pulling them both back away from the wreckage. 

Smoke still rose from the car, as another man wrenched open the drivers door. There a young woman sat dazed, her hands still in the ten to two, face covered with powder from the now deflated airbag. A true crime podcast was still blaring from the stereo.

“I didn't see, I lost control, I didn't see, I hit them didn't I? This is all my fault” she repeated over and over, gripping the steering wheel ever more tightly as she spoke.

Even from the door of the bank across the street I could just about see her confession. She was scared, questioning, unsure of what had happened. In the still slow world,  could see her lips move. I could see every word being formed, see the sound carry on the air. I watched as the sentences flew up to the sky, mingling with the screams and shouts from the other actors in this drama, all jumbled and distorted to my eyes. They burst in a cascade of colours, showering everyone with a cacophony of sounds.

My legs were still refusing to work, the pavement on my side of the road seemingly having turned sticky and resistant to me pulling free. I forced myself to break free of the paralysis, clutching the wall of the bank to push off, trying to step out across the road. Mind and body were not acting as one.

“I didn't mean to, but I did, didn't I? How are they, what is happening?” the driver still asked.

By now the young mother was sat on a bench, still clutching the pram handles. A woman put a coat around her shoulders, a ridiculous big thick puffa jacket for a sunny day like today. It really didn't suit her.

The men were gathered around the shop front, staring at something under the front grill of the car. Two of them were helping the driver get out of the car, but her legs didnt seem to work either. She fell, another scream to add to the mix. Her ankle moved in a direction it wasnt designed to, and she had to be helped to a different bench. 

I managed another step, this time walking as though I had pins and needles, my feet buzzing with every step. I could hear another scream and cry as I crossed the road. 

Half way across was when time decided to speed up again. My feet now worked properly, and I could run across the remainder of the street. However, my sudden momentum made me trip on the damaged curb, banging the side of my head, knocking my hearing aid out and making me drop my phone. The cover flew off into the collection of glass shards. 

It landed with my family photo facing upwards. My wife and the twins.

“Where are they” screamed the broken figure in the puffa jacket. 

The adrenaline had now run out, and she dropped the pram handles. She pushed herself up from her sitting position, and threw off the coat, making for the car. Luckily a group of people grabbed her.

“Its not safe, you might be injured”

“But where are they, wheres my husband”

She looked around frantically, seeing my phone cover picture. She started, but then sirens split the air, causing everyone to look up.

I pulled myself up onto badly grazed knees, blood dripping down one shin. My palms were cut as well, small pieces of glass and gravel embedded under the skin. The side of my face throbbed.

The police car mounted the pavement next to us.

“Where are they” the shout came again.

“I didn't see anything, but I did…” sobbed the other womans' voice, the two sounds now starting to merge into one.

Eye contact between the women completed the merger.

“You bitch” shouted other, before a super human strength rocketed her at the driver. It was all the policeman could do to hold her back from killing the other woman.

“Stay back maam, stay back. Someone help her to that bench” he cried, struggling against the wounded and upset woman.

“Where are they, that bitch has hit them” she screamed, and this caught the second policemans' attention.

He ran across to the group by the front of the car, kneeling under the twisted and broken front grill. His radio crackled, and another siren, different in tone, now sounded across the road.

Firemen poured out of the cab, equipment pulled from the trailer. 

“Stand back, let us by”

“Might be a pram under the front of the car”

“Did anyone see it? Has anyone definitely seen it?”

The jack started, pulling the car back from the shop, more crashing as glass and woodwork fell away.

“Where are they, where are they?” screams continued, while the driver was now quiet, silently sobbing into a blanket.

“Get back please. Sarge can you see anything?”

“Something under the car sir, we need to be careful”

The crashed vehicle slowly pulled backwards, a terrible scraping sound. And yet more cries as the onlookers saw the true impact.

A crowd had gathered by me, and with my bleeding knees, someone had helped me to a chair outside a cafe, away from the main action unfolding. 

“Are you alright? Did you get hit”

“He looks dazed. Are you OK?”

I shook my head, and reached up to put the hearing aid back into my ear properly.

“He cant hear. ARE YOU OK?.”

I nodded, the world now back in stereo. I rubbed my knee, and looked up. 

“Get him a tea someone”

I couldnt respond, but sat up, despite the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. There was a horrible sickly weight in my stomach.

I had to get up. My wife had been pushing our twins in the pram before I entered the bank.

September 29, 2022 21:49

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