It was just supposed to be another Tuesday. When I got up that morning, I had no clue what was going to happen. My wife Maria was up, way before me, as usual. She had already made me my cup of coffee, adding my two sugars one cream. She smiles at me, the same smile she'd always had. She brings me my coffee and my eggs, kisses me on the head, and then says, "Gotta go get the girls up."
I hear a few groans from upstairs, and then my two girls come down. One's nine, the other seven. They both have my curly, brown hair that will never stay down. At the moment, they are both yawning, ruffling their hair. You shouldn't do that, I almost say, it'll just make it worse.
Instead, I just say, "Come here and give Daddy a good morning kiss." The both run over, and jump, landing, one on each leg. I grunt. They're getting big. Daddy's girls are growing up.
I give them each a kiss. Then I leave for work. As I'm walking out the door, I turn to look at my family. For a second. Only a second. Maria's cooking more eggs, cracking jokes as she cracks opens eggs.
I smile. I love my family.
I get into the car, start the engine, and head off into what should have been another ordinary ay.
It happens when I turn onto Route 27. There's been a little snow, I note. A pity that we live in another county, or my girls wouldn't have had school. That would have made them happy. I'm driving, quietly humming along to the radio.
That's when it all falls apart. Suddenly, right in front of me, a car swerves. I try-hell, I don't know what I try. Breakfast that morning flashes before my eyes. My family. God, am I gonna die? It's chaos. I hear, and least I think I hear, the screech of tires. Was that me? I hear metal ripping. Chaos. Then the truck stops. I'm safe. I feel a trickle of something and reach up. Blood. But I'm not in that much pain.
I get out of my truck. I think that I'm lucky. The accident must not have been that bad. Probably not any worse for the other guy. I'm already reaching for my wallet, for my insurance card, when I actually look around. I almost throw up. Because before me is a woman. She's staring up at nothing; her lips are blue; her eyes are red. She's dead. Did I do this? How? How? What did I—did I swerve right when I should've swerved left? I look over. And there's a man. He's dressed like a professor, with a pipe and everything. Except his head is split open. His-his-his-brains are scattered all over the pavement. I lose the breakfast Maria cooked me at that moment.
A little bit of reason suddenly hits me. I dial 911-the operator picks up.
"911, what's your emergency?"
I stammer, "Car. Car crash. Route 27." She asks something else, I think asking if I'm okay, but I don't hear her that well. Because my eye has seen another body. A little one. I drop my phone on the pavement. It clatters on the ground, next to a piece of the poor man's brain.
I walk, as if in a trance. I stare down at a little boy. He can't be older that eight or nine, ten tops. He had headphones on. Irrationally, randomly, I wonder what he's listening too. What he was listening too. Because he looks dead. He has blood around him, lot's of blood. Like a halo, surrounding his entire body.
His arm, oh God, oh Jesus, his arm looks like it's been destroyed, pummeled. It's bent at an angle that impossible, in several places. I can't look at this. He's around the age of my girls. This could be them. I just can't. No, no, no.
I thought I'd lost all my breakfast, but I haven't. Because I suddenly bend over, coughing up even more. Tears are streaming down my eyes. I look over to my left, and there's-there's a girl lying in the ditch. She had dark hair, unlike the rest of the people in this crash, this nightmare, this hell.
This girl is probably around 18. She's so young. I've killed her, I've killed her family. There's blood pooling across her chest. She was wearing some nice sweater. Blue. My younger girl loves blue.
There blood staining her skirt. Her leg, oh sweet Jesus, her leg. I can see bone.
There's blood everywhere. It paints the little snow on the ground a brilliant shade of crimson. I don't want to see this, any of it. It's a nightmare. Or did I die in the crash, and this is hell? It has to be, because nothing like this, sick sick nightmare, could occur in real life. Not when my wife and kids were laughing this morning, and I was eating eggs, and drinking coffee. Shouldn't I have known that I was going to kill four people? Shouldn't I have woken up this morning, with a premonition to stay home? Have the girls stay home, and my wife, and we could've just spent the day together? And why haven't we ever done that before?
I hear sirens in the distance. I look up, and then I look down. The ambulance, I see it out of the corner of my eye. And then I see the girl's chest move. She's alive. I fall to my knees. I do the only thing I can do. Pray.
Dear God, if You have any mercy left, please save her. I will give up anything, everything, just save this girl. I don't know her name; I don't know anything about her. But please, save her. Amen.