It had happened all too quickly. One moment the streets were filled with its usual silence and the next it was filled with that horrific sound. The woman had been on her normal afternoon walk. The sky was a summery blue, painted with soft, cotton-looking clouds and the occasional pigeons would swiftly fly by, their wings a whisper in the winds. Wraiths of the sky, a stranger once called them. The streets were empty with not a single being in sight, not even a single car. As if the whole world had been put on pause for her, so that she could peacefully go on her walk. A peaceful walk she very well deserved, she had believed, after a week of chaos and stress, she very much believed she deserved this walk. Somewhere nearby a café door rattled shut, its bell singing welcoming into the dead street. Beautiful cafes and shops lined the street, the smell of baked goods almost non-existent because of the black bags. The black bags of trash that littered the sidewalks as rats scurried on by. The smell at first had been nauseating to her but after years of living here she had grown accustomed to the putrid smell and most days didn’t notice it, the smell of gasoline a blanket over it. The woman also didn’t notice the two cars that had steered into the street. At very dangerous paces. And before she could process what was happening, a loud boom filled the air, shattering the infinite silence that lay here. Intruding. Unwelcoming. The two cars had collided into one another, a circle of fire surrounding them. Flames and curling smoke danced into the blue sky, causing the sky to go a light shade of orange, chasing the wraiths of the sky out of their comfort and home, disrupting their journey. The first car that had entered the street was a navy blue, nothing similar or significant about it. While the second car… it was a maroon car. Not the woman’s favourite colour. Painted on top of the maroon colour were a swirl of colourful, neon flowers, as if the owner of the car also hated the colour. But she didn’t have much time to think about it when the air was soon filled with the sound of sirens approaching and the sound of a woman shrieking.
Jessica’s bones immediately sighed in relief as she settled near one of the windows of the café. It was a snug place, the café. It was lit with bulbs dangling at random heights from the ceiling. How funky, Jessica thought at the sight, amused. The walls were simple bricks, decorated with frames filled with abstract pieces of art and chalk boards that listed the day’s options. Today’s were a simple croissant, blueberry or chocolate muffins, a slice of any flavour of cake the customer liked and a cup of warm tea or strong coffee. Even reading it all was enough to warm every chill in her body and make her cheeks go rosy. The smell of chocolate and coffee wrapped around her and pulled her into the café’s comforting, promising embrace. A promise of making any customer who entered the café leave feeling relaxed and hopeful. The two things Jessica needed and had sought for in coming here. Life had been… difficult recently for Jessica. It had been everything but peace or happiness. Her only source of happiness was her girlfriend, Jasmine, and even she was not here. She had left their house that morning dressed up and face covered in sparkling makeup, promising Jessica with a kiss that she’d be home before 6pm. And Jasmine always kept her promises, no matter how impossible or light they were, she always kept her promises. And now it was 7pm. She hadn’t returned. That had been her only thought as Jessica walked her way towards the café. Perhaps she was stuck in traffic, perhaps her friends had begged her to stay a little longer, perhaps she was in danger- Not danger, Jessica thought, her face going slightly pale, you’re being dramatic Jess, let her have a break. Jessica had simply ordered a cup of warm tea and a slice of chocolate cake, the tea to calm down her nerves now buzzing and bouncing off the walls of her heart, and the chocolate cake strong and to keep her trembling self from trembling. Even the poor boy who had taken her order had looked at her worriedly. Jessica only gave him a reassuring smile before she turned her head towards the window and stared off into the empty street. Save for the one lady who was on a walk, her nose red from the cold. Jessica closed her eyes and took deep breaths. In and out, in and out, in and out, Jessica thought. In and out, in and out, in and- A loud crashing sound shattered Jessica’s moment of peace, rattling her bones. Her eyes flew open as she searched for the monstrous, deathly sound. The world went still as Jessica took in the sight, her ears filling with a rushing sound. Cars. Two cars. Surrounded in flames. One car blue. The other car… Jessica was on her feet before the café’s inhabitants could start their gasping and shrieking. The other car… the other car was all too familiar. Maroon. Neon flowers painted onto it. That she had painted onto it. And to her dismay and horror, a too familiar someone lay on the windshield. Sprawled onto it as if she were some mere puppet. A doll. Her straight inky, black hair a curtain that covered her lifeless face. And blood, the blood was everywhere, everywhere Jessica looked- She didn’t bother to hide the cries and shrieks that emitted from her throat as she helplessly fell to the ground and felt her soul being ripped from her body. The last thing Jessica remembered hearing was the sound of cackling fires, cackling at her, before her world went dark and she was embraced into darkness’s claws. She didn’t fight it.
Jasmine knew at that moment that she should’ve listened to Jessica. Knew that she should’ve stayed home that morning and spent the rest of the day in bed, cuddling with her girlfriend. Knew that she should’ve been home by now and telling her girlfriend about how much fun she had had with her friends. How they had been preparing for her surprise proposal to Jessica, how they had picked out beautiful, pale white bridesmaid dresses. Exactly how she and Jessica had planned. She had even secretly snuck away from her friends and had chosen her engagement ring to Jessica; a simple band of silver adorned with a tear drop shaped diamond. Simple yet beautiful. And now she had ruined it, ruined everything and their plans. I’m sorry my love, Jasmine thought helplessly as tears began cascading down her cheeks. In those final moments, she closed her eyes and smiled, bracing herself for the excruciating impact, and the last thing Jasmine saw was the car that would end her fate before the blinding white light pulled her into its comforting arms.