10 Seconds

Submitted into Contest #74 in response to: Write a story that takes place across ten seconds.... view prompt

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Drama Fiction Sad

It is Christmas Eve, and Steven is driving on a secluded mountain road headed to his mother’s house to spend the holidays with her. The sun was just starting to set behind the trees. It would shine through them, hitting him in the eyes every now and then, causing temporary blindness causing him to struggled to focus on the road.

Steven had driven this old mountain road many times before. He was familiar with the several fatal car accidents from people going too fast for the conditions. Today, he felt the weather had held off enough to make driving more manageable than usual. It had not snowed in the mountains well over a week, and the roads were dry and clear. His thought was to get to his mother’s in time to enjoy the delicious prime rib she would cook every year. He never really knew why she would always buy such a large roast just for the two of them. He thought it could be out of habit. Ever since his dad died, and his sister died unexpectedly in a car accident, his mom never adjusted the amount of food she made.

As Steven was driving, he turned a blind corner and caught a glimpse of a family of deer off the side of the road. It was a sign to him to be on the lookout for animals – they could show up at any time and out of anywhere.

Steven turned another corner. This one was not as sharp as earlier. To his surprise, he ran directly into a family of deer that were crossing the road. The first deer he hit was the small spotted fawn. It bounced off his front bumper into her mother, who leaped up and smashed through the windshield of Steven’s car before running away. It happened so fast; he did not notice the buck on the other side of the doe. He plowed through the hansom four-pointer, who ended up on top of the hood of his car. Steven slammed on his breaks, causing the vehicle to slide on the pavement. Steven turned the wheel on his car too fast, causing an uncontrolled spin. The car busted through the barrier on the left side of the road. Steven found himself floating in his car as he watched trees fly by – his car was headed down a three-hundred-foot cliff towards the bottom of the valley floor.

During the three seconds it took to turn the corner on the road and drive over the cliff, Steven had enough time to ponder, “How fast was I going?” “Is the baby fawn okay?” “I better call mom to let her know I’ll be late.” “That was a huge buck.” “I wonder how far of a drop this is?”

The thoughts were varied and served no purpose to what was about to happen. Steven looked out his window on the left and saw stationary trees and rocks flying by his car at a hundred miles per hour. His thought processes took him to realize and to know he was going to die. “I’m going to die.” “How can I let my mom know I’ll miss her?” “Why didn’t my airbags deploy?” “No prime rib for me this year.”

When the car hit a large rock on the side of the cliff on the way down, Steven’s thoughts moved to pain. The collision caused his head to whip around and gave him a neck cracking jolt. “I think I just broke my neck,” he thought. The car started to roll before it hit the ground and did several flips when it finally hit, coming to a stop on its passenger side. Steven could not believe that he was still alive. He could tell from the pain that his left arm broke sometime on the way down and also felt like he had a knife sticking in the side of his rib cage. When he looked down, he saw it was the antler of the decapitated four-point buck that crashed through his window.

The next thought Steven had was how to escape and get help. He knew the road he had just driven off of was rarely used, especially on the holidays. With only his right arm, he tried to grab the sharp object piercing the left side of his ribcage. He could not reach it, no matter how hard he tried. He evaluated the situation when he saw a small rock hit his car. It had come loose when his vehicle struck the cliff. Steven knew if a small piece of the ridge could come loose, there could be more. He then looked out the driver’s side window to see a large boulder falling from the cliff and headed straight for him. With the first bounce of the boulder landing several feet away, Steven thought he would be in the clear. But the large rock had a different plan. It bounced off the valley floor and came to rest on the driver’s side of the car, instantly crushing Steven and killing him.

Steven’s last thought before dying was, “Tell my mom I love her.” Nobody was there to hear his request.

At approximately 4:48 PM, Mary, Steven’s mother, removed the prime rib roast from her oven. She placed it on the counter to settle. It had been several months since Mary had seen her son and was looking forward to the long-overdue visit. After putting the roast down, she turned to get something out of a drawer when she felt a sharp, stabbing pain on the left side of her chest. Her left arm went numb, and she fell to the floor in excruciating pain. It took only seconds for her heart to stop.

It was 8AM on Christmas morning when Steven’s car was finally discovered by a passer-by who noticed the broken guardrail. When the Sheriff arrived, he knew it would be a recovery effort and not a rescue. The tire tracks leading off the road were not fresh, and there was no sign of life at the bottom of the cliff.

The Sheriff showed up at Mary’s house to give her the bad news about her son and the accident. When there was no answer at the door, he looked through the windows to see if anyone was home. The Sheriff noticed two lifeless legs on the kitchen floor, called for assistance, and broke the front door to get inside. He could tell from the smell that she had been dead for some time. The coroner showed up and estimated her death around 4:50 PM the day before.

The Sheriff looked at the coroner with confused eyes. “Her son died about the same time last night when he drove off a cliff just east of here.”

It was believed that Mary’s connection with Steven was so strong that she died of a broken heart at the exact moment her son died.

The two of them were buried next to each other in the county graveyard.

December 26, 2020 14:11

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1 comment

Andie P
14:17 Apr 12, 2023

I really enjoyed your story very creative and i enjoyed your choice of words for the most part,only thing that really threw me off was your repeating of ¨causing¨. You repeated it four times run on within the first few paragraphs.Other than that this was a wonderful.Enjoyable story. Have a great day Mr.Morris -Andie Phill


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