The rain pounded down in sheets cutting sideways against the windows. The Mini Cooper’s wipers pumped out a steady rhythm as Sarah Kenmore drove down Main Street to work. Working her minimum wage job at the library was simply a means to an end. She yawned so hard her eyes watered. Night shift, though grueling, was perfect for her antisocial needs. The energy of the town all sleeping, she felt safer, more able to be herself.
Her phone buzzed twice. Leaning down to grab her purse from the floor, she glanced up just in time and slammed her foot on the brakes.
Her hands started throbbing until she realized she had a stronghold on the wheel. There was no way around the car that was rocking on its roof in the middle of the street. Nice Kenmore. That’s the first thing you think of?
A mid-sized silver sedan swayed lazily on its top. There wasn’t any signs of an accident though. Just one car with a dent in the passenger side door. Her mind raced through possible scenarios before she realized that she needed to call for help.
Sarah got out and walked over to the car. The back wheels still spun in the air with the chrome of the hubcaps catching the light. Thin smoky tendrils rose from the engine like ghosts playing in the darkness.
People. There were people in the car. She ran back to the Mini and fumbled through her purse. The phone that had distracted her toppled out of her fingers and dropped with a thunk on the wet pavement. “Dammit!”
Wiping the moisture off on her jeans she nervously glanced into the car. The faint outline of a woman’s body in the deep shadows. Her arms limply dangling on the ceiling. The only thing keeping her suspended was the seat belt.. An alabaster freckled face, serene in the moonlight. She was close enough to make out the tracks of blood that were silently sliding down the corners of her eyes and mouth. Sarah turned away quickly and punched in the numbers.
“9 1 1 what is your emergency?”
“I’m at 21st and Main, there’s been an accident.” I –” Her voice shook. She took a breath and blew it out slowly into the speaker. Nurses wouldn’t lose their cool. She had to disconnect emotionally. This was the time she needed to embrace her dream and act like a nurse.
“There’s a car flipped over in the middle of the road with a woman inside. She’s hurt badly, I think!”
“Help is on its way. Try to remain calm.” The dispatcher clicked a few buttons that echoed into the phone.
Sarah found a good sized rock and headed back to the sedan. As she got closer, she could hear a baby crying in the back seat. Smoke and flames rose up from out of the engine. Slamming the rock against the windshield wasn’t working — she’d have to kick it out. Her foot went through on the fourth try.
The driver regained consciousness and noticed Sarah. “Save my baby!” She screamed hysterically before passing out again.
Sarah grabbed the woman by the arms, carefully dragging her through the jagged glass. Skin to skin brought images that abruptly flipped inside Sarah’s head in rapid succession. A tall dark man with a five o’clock shadow bared his teeth, the smell of alcohol and a woman’s sobs. They always played like a movie. One that took up the entirety of her vision. Her head swam and she let go, dropping the woman unceremoniously onto the pavement. Sarah shook her head to bring the real world back into focus.
Fumbling through the visions and the nausea, she hit her speaker button on her cellphone. It was difficult to do, but after a few blind stabs at the device, the operator’s voice boomed out. “Officer Allan Sumner has been dispatched to your location. Just hang on.”
Great, Sarah thought. Why did it have to be Allan? Anybody but Allan.
She managed to croak out an, “Okay.”
Allan’s presence would probably make matters worse. She was under enough stress already, but at this point she really didn’t care. It was better than being alone with a dead body.
Her stomach was so tight it felt ready to explode. Dealing with dead people wasn’t Sarah’s strong point, but then again, neither was dealing with the living.
Something made a noise inside the car. Shit! The baby! She dropped to her knees and felt the water seep into her jeans. She risked one last look down the street. Please! Someone! Anyone!
There wasn’t much time with the acrid smoke increasing and flames licking the tires. Her vision had started to clear in small dots. feeling her way by listening to the gulping sounds, almost like that of a suffocating fish, brought her closer to the vehicle.
She held her breath, praying that she could do this without seeing. Her hand reached in and braced herself for the battery of images. A flailing arm smacked her hand briefly and she caught it. No! Focus Kenmore!
Sarah couldn’t stop it. She was thrown into another world again. The little sight she had tunneled into small black dots that pepper her vision like fleas crawling through her brain. You will not pass out Kenmore! Clasping her hand to her mouth, she swallowed back the bile that threatened to choke her.
With the infant clutched tightly to her chest, she fought to wiggle backward from the window. Tires screeched very close to her head before she had reached the grassy bank. The red and blue kaleidoscope struck her lids in slow motion.
They always blinded her, the visions. This time she could see the car flipping over and over from the vantage point of the back seat. The screams from the woman were still reverberating so loudly in her head that she didn’t hear the officer calling to her.