Chapter Forty-Four – Waking Up

Nick didn't know how long he had been out for, but it couldn't have been more than a few minutes, because when he came to, they were still alone in the car, no sign of red and blue ZPD lights or voices offering assistance.

His mind was slow and muddled, in a fog of shock, and he took a moment to get his bearings.

I'm in my car, he squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head, trying to regain a semblance of cognizant thought. I went and visited Mom. Stayed later than I meant to, had to see more pictures, stupid scouts – We went upstairs… We—! Nick whipped his head over, spying a small gray form beside him, eyes closed and blood staining the fur at her forehead.

"Judy!" He croaked, immediately reaching over, only to be pulled back by his seized seatbelt. "JUDY!" His voice rose in pitch, broaching on a yell.

The bunny didn't stir; her head hung limply on her shoulder, ears dangling in the air, suspended by gravity.

Nick took stock of the situation, forcing his mind to clear. The Mustang was on its side, leaking a dangerous smell of gasoline and smoke, with Judy separated from the sidewalk only by a mangled door and a smeared mess of upended tupperware and spilled food.

He reached down, fumbling for his seatbelt buckle. I've got to get her out of here, his brain urged. It's dangerous to stay like this. His fingers pressed the clasp without considering the ramifications. It clicked free, and he flew from his seat, landing on the gearshift with a painful jolt. Nick gasped for breath, fighting the punch to his chest.

"Judy," he reached for the rabbit, groping for her own seatbelt.

A soft moan answered, and he redoubled his efforts.

"It's okay," he mumbled, unhitching her and grabbing her before she fell. "I've got you," he pulled her up towards the gear shift, wrapping his arms around her side and legs.

Judy made no move she had heard, her head still at her shoulder, heavy and unresponsive.

Nick looked around the cab, seeing the wide, open expanse where the windshield had once been. Shifting the rabbit to one arm, he grabbed the glass-covered dash with the other, hauling them both up.

Though she was lighter than he'd expected, it was still a strain on his battered frame, and he gritted his teeth, forcing his muscles to comply. Groping for purchase, he heaved them through the opening, pushing against his seat and scrambling out onto the car's hood, nearly unrecognizable in its rippled, crushed state.

A cool breeze ruffled his fur as Nick freed Judy's feet from the cab, grabbing her up in a grip that shook with exertion.

"Help!" He shouted hoarsely, leaping from the car and landing beside the lamppost. "Someone, help!"

The street was deserted, the road marred only by skid marks and bits of metal. Nick looked to the bunny he cradled, feeling new panic rise as the blood oozing down her face matted fur all the way to her chin.

"Please!" He cried, oblivious to the waver in his voice. "HELP!"