The impact begins an earthquake in his body. It creates a fissure in his thigh and releases a river which runs down over his knee and darkens the asphalt. While his brain tries to make sense of the violent tremors, his arms rise in front of his face, fending off a sight that his eyelids have already taken care of. His brain shuts down and his arms collapse to his sides before his body crumbles, his fingers twitching with the aftershock.


86 Seeing Red

Desire is a red sports car; "If we didn't...

Red sports car (Photo credit: Wonderlane)

He sees red on the hood of the car which is alright, the car is supposed to be red. It is supposed to look fast. It is so low that when driving it, one is practically lying down with ones rear end only inches from the asphalt speeding away below.

He sees red on her dress and that is alright too. Her dress was always red and much too tight across her chest. He is still waiting for the day it bursts open. He is sure she knows that.

However, he also sees red on the leather seats and that is not alright. It is not alright at all. She leans closer to him.

‘Are you alright?’ she asks. Her voice is weak behind the sound of the blood rushing in his ears. How dare she get anything on the seats? It was the first rule. The only rule that he could not forgive her breaking.

‘Get out,’ he says.

‘I think, I’m fine,’ she says, ‘but we should go to the hospital and have you looked at.’ The rushing in his ears is building.

‘Get out!’ he shouts.
‘Now!’ He can barely drown it out.

She purses her lips and makes a swallowing motion. Then she gets out of the car, her glittering handbag under one arm.

He slams the door after her and starts the motor. It seems to work fine, but the hood will need a good deal of fixing after its meeting with the crash barrier and he will need a new headlight. As the word headlight goes through his brain he realizes that there is also a rather bad pain going through it. He backs the car out onto the motorway and is mildly puzzled that the road also looks red. He moves a hair away from his forehead and his fingers come away sticky. As he wipes his hand off in his trousers, darkness creeps in from the corners of his eyes.

The Accident


I really shouldn’t have, but I bought eleven Mars bars from my local Kiosk that day. As I stepped outside, I felt more disgusting than ever. Even though my arms are skeletal thin, it still looks like I’m hiding a football under my t-shirt.

Nausea crept in on me as I thought of the Mars bars in the bag, the cheap chocolate, the sickly sweetness, and I was afraid that I’d vomit then and there. I stood still for a while on the pavement, focusing on my breathing.

In, a long pause, out, in.

It was stupid this, I didn’t even want them. Why did I keep buying them? I clenched my hands around the plastic bag and twisted it as if I was twisting the neck of a chicken that had done me some great evil.

No, not today, the Mars bars would not get me today, and I flung out my arm to toss the bag away, but regret struck me at once and I tried to close my fingers around the handle, but it was already flying out onto the road and I followed it already thinking: ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it Mars bars,’ and as I ended on my knees on the road a car veered around me and collided with a young girl on a bicycle, the yellow dress of the girl billowing as she fell through the air.

Then she lay very still on the asphalt.

Then I fled with the Mars bars clutched to my chest.

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