Jody felt the seatbelt pull tight against his chest and hips. His body’s momentum continued forward against the belt; he heard a low scream as the car fell backward, the undercarriage scraping hard against the pavement.
His view of the road ahead tilted up, the car’s windshield framed the bright sun, surrounded by a few puffy clouds. Where’s the road? His mind fell just a beat behind reality.
He snapped back in his seat when the car’s tail hit the bottom of the hole. Jagged pavement, torn re-bar, and broken glass now framed the bright blue sky. Jody whipped his gaze to Jen, dozing in the passenger seat just seconds before. Now she stared toward him, eyes wide, breath frozen.
Feeling her panic, he fumbled with her seatbelt latch, releasing her, and them himself. Gravity held their bodies against the seat backs, and Jody struggled to pull himself up through the shattered windshield.
He climbed up the hot hood, and folded his waist over the car’s grill to lean down and reach for Jen’s hand, but she wasn’t reaching back. Her eyes flitted back and forth, struggling to make sense of what she couldn’t see. She tried to reach her hand out toward Jody’s distant voice, but her muscles didn’t respond.
Jody heard the sirens in the distance. It’s now or never, he thought. He looked at Jen and knew that she needed more help than he could give her. She would be better off if the paramedics found her. She clearly couldn’t run with him; she wouldn’t survive the night in the cold desert.
He scrambled back down to the bottom of the hole and pulled a backpack through the back window, stuffing as much as he could into its gaping mouth. He paused, leaning across the broken glass of Jen’s window, and kissed her on the forehead. “I’m sorry, babe. I can’t let them find me here, but they’ll take care of you…”
And then he ran.
Why is Jody running? And what will happen to Jen? Leave a comment…
Photo credit: Happy Days Photos and Art (creative commons)