Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Walking Away - Chapter 16: The Wreck

The rain has let up to a light drizzle and is the only sound when Donald regains consciousness. He opens his eyes and lets the world swim into focus though the images he sees doesn’t immediately make since. Everything was upside down. As he studies the debris lying around him, he realizes that the RV has come to a rest on its top and he was still suspended in his seat by his seatbelt. He stares in fascination at his hand and legs seeing no apparent damage though shards of glass and twisted metal were all around him. He flexes his hands and wiggles his toes not able to believe that he could survive such destruction. A feeling of elation started to fill his mind upon finding all digits and appendages still moved with no apparent injuries when one single thought filled his mind. Lydia!

He quickly fumbles up and to his right searching for the seatbelt release button, which he found and pressed. For a second he thought it had jammed but it released and he plunged head first into the debris below him. He had just enough time to stick one arm out before he hit the ceiling of the cab. This time however, he didn’t escape injury when his head slammed down sending stars shooting across his vision. When he sat up and felt his head, he felt a small cut in his scalp and there was some blood on his hand but he knew he hadn’t done anything serious. It was a long way from his heart he could hear his mom saying.

Donald scrambled to where he could look down what was now just a crawl space between the floor and the ceiling of the living quarters of the RV and called for his wife. A weak voice that sounded like his wife asked for help behind him somewhere outside. He crawled out of the RV through the shattered windshield on his hands and knees feeling shards of glass and metal cut into his palms and shins from the thick carpet of wet leaves all around. Standing up, he called his wife’s name again and peered into the darkness ahead.

He heard a groan coming from about fifteen feet away to his left and spotted his wife reclining against the trunk of a tree. He rushed over to her doing a visual inspection as he knelt down beside her. There was blood in her hair from a several gashes she had received when she flew through the windshield and her thighbone was obviously broken in a couple places but other than that she seemed intact.

Donald spent a couple minutes asking Lydia questions and diagnosing the extent of her injuries, which appeared to be just a broken leg and several cuts on her face and forehead. He also thought she may have a concussion but overall, she would live. He went back to the wreckage of the RV where he found a blanket, which he used to wrap around her to ward off the cold air. When she was comfortable, he set off through the broken underbrush following it to where the RV had left the road. Across the road, he saw the pickup that had ran into him in the opposite ditch with the front passenger side crumpled.

He walked around to the driver side of the vehicle and opened the door expecting the worst. At first, he thought the worst had happened when the man inside was slumped over the steering wheel but when he poked him, the man stirred slightly and mumbled something about letting him sleep. He pushed against the man’s shoulder and shook him but a loud snore was all that came from the man. Nothing but a damn drunk thought Donald as he reached over and extracted the keys from the still running ignition. All this because of a damn drunk.

Donald walked back across the road and crawled back into the wrecked RV searching among the debris for his cell phone, which he found after about ten minutes. He hit the talk button and to his surprise, the screen lit up and the signal strength showed all the bars. He punched in 911, told them where he was, that his wife needed an ambulance and a drunk needed to be thrown in jail. He said he didn’t need to stay on the line as nothing appeared life threatening but they should hurry just the same.

The rain had stopped and the sky was beginning to clear. He figured in another half hour the full moon would be visible but the thought wasn’t very cheering at the moment. He walked over to his wife where she was leaning against the tree, sat down beside her and put his arms around her shoulder. He said that the ambulance would be here in an hour or so and told her to hang on. The pain was beginning to register in her face but she was a trooper and he knew that she could do it. She leaner her head onto his shoulder and whispered something about missing the end of her show before mercifully passing out.

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