Still I See Stars
My chest implodes and my rib cage rattles as it expands beyond my arm’s reach, I cannot catch them. The sound of stretched and torn bone is lost in the sonic boom that surrounds a sequence of timeless moments. I am deaf.
The spaces between my bones are veiled and transparent like a baptized bride.
There is no colour, just light. Pure, clear, colourless light which fills the space around and through me. I am pierced with this light.
My eyes are polished pearls. I hate pearls, but in the right untainted light you can see universes and galaxies. These eyes of mine have been stunned open and will not shut. I cannot rest again.
My hair has become roots spreading like forest to crown my dazed mind; soft, pale roots. My crown moves slowly in the flood.
My lips are red and chewed. Soft lips like patted down pillows, they are soft, but they cannot break my fall.
The universe shifts and grows. Everything has slowed and I watch the stars pass in front of me. Some so close I can feel them caress my skin. They are hot. Others so far away that I can count them all in one big picture. There are billions.
This universe is only the gap of air which surrounds me; a cool embrace. The initial thrust into dark oblivion which we call birth had faded long ago into a light that now streams in fractured angles and layers me in silky veils.
I reach again and cannot catch my body so instead I aim for the light, trying to bend it to my will. I cannot move.
Sound is born again and my ears feel retired. I do not like the sound after hearing the nothing for so long. I want to go back, I beg send me back.
My pure and clear light begins to fade. Tainted by colours, red and blue. I am being pulled away. Out of my universe the air is cold, it does not fill my lungs gently.
I miss my veiled body and pearled eyes, I miss my forest crowns and being deaf with sound, I miss red lips and dazed minds, but still I see the stars. My reflection in them is loud.
Old and dull, bald and wrinkled, thin and worried, deaf without sound, and so extremely small, but still I see stars.
They watch at a distance so far above me, they are not the same. I look back at my galaxy flipped upside down. Smashed, and crashed, burning on wet solid ground. It calls me and I want to stay.
I can feel pain, but I don’t want to go away.
Crash and Burn
For a moment, everything was silent.
Sparkles flew through the air, lights dazzled the windows and blinded my eyes, the air was still with expectation, and time seemed to stop.
For a moment, I was struck with the beauty of it.
But then the world exploded, and it all became ugly
Suddenly, the sparkles turned into window shards that pierced my skin, the lights were the other cars that were swerving to miss us, the air became heavy with the realization of what was happening, and time seemed to be moving faster and faster but I was frozen in place.
At last, it all stopped, and everything became silent once again.
“Help,” I called out feebly. I tried to move, but couldn’t find the strength to lift myself. I gripped the handle on the roof of the car, but only succeeded in letting out a gasp as pain exploded in my wrist.
I held my hand gingerly against my bruised side, and it was only then that I saw the mark I had left on the handle.
A perfect handprint, soaked in dark red blood.
I couldn’t hold back my whimper as I finally looked around the car.
So much blood.
It was everywhere.
On the dash, seats, steering wheel, seatbelts, and on the little pieces of glass. It was on my face, tightening up my skin as it dried; and in my hair, making it heavy and reeking with a smell that was making me sick.
“Please,” I croaked again. A scream was building in my chest as my hysteria grew but it somehow stayed lodged in my throat.
Rain and blood fell to the same beat, dripping down on every exposed surface. A sigh escaped my lips, turning into the gaspings of a sob.
I was going to die here; scared, cold, alone..
Was I alone?
Some hazy part of my mind could remember a hand gripping mine, moments before everything shattered.
I glanced over - and there they were; a shadowed form crumpled down in the driver's seat. I couldn't see their face and it was making my heart race once again.
Gritting my teeth, I gathered what was left of my fleeting strength to pull myself over to the form. I gripped a hand on their shoulder, already so cold to the touch, and turned them towards me.
Horror and bile rose up my throat as the face caught in the moonlight.
It was my own.
I’m Going Home
It’s late at night, Christmas eve. The sky is so clear and stark, you can see every tiny, little shining star, glimmering in the deep navy zenith. I breathe in the air, my lungs seizing slightly at the sheer cold. It’s beautiful.
We’re driving down to my family home. The presents have been loaded into the trunk, and the kids are bundled up and strapped in, almost ready to fall asleep.
This christmas is extra special; it’s the first christmas in almost ten years that we’re all going to be together. I feel like a child again, filled with anticipation, letting a small excited yelp escape my mouth every now and then.
The kids are worried that Santa won’t be able to find them. Charlie reasures them that Father Christmas knows where all the good children are, and they won’t be forgotten.
The exchange makes me smile a nostalgic grin, as I remember a similar moment from my childhood.
We do our final checks, and clamber in to the car, a flask of hot chocolate in hand.
I’ve hung mistletoe on the rear-view mirror, and lean in to kiss Charlie. He smiles, gives me a wink, reciprocating my kiss.
The car engine starts, I turn the heat up full blast, rubbing my hands on my legs furiously to heat up. The radio launches into action, full volume, making us all jump and laugh. I lower the volume, and ‘driving home for christmas’ starts playing. I gently sing along, thinking of how many other people are doing the same thing we’re doing right now.
I must fall asleep at some point, I could feel my eyelids closing earlier, so I must have succumbed. The girls are fast asleep. I ask charlie if he wants me to takeover driving for awhile, but being the gentleman that he is, he declines.
I pour us some hot chocolate, and add a little extra sprinkle from my secret stash of sprinkles I carry around in my bag. Placing my hand on charlie’s leg, I lean back and enjoy this feeling; this moment in time, where I couldn’t be anymore content.
I look in the wing mirror, and in the distance see some bright lights heading up behind us. I don’t think anything of it. My vision starts to wobble.
I think I might be feeling sleepy again. Then I realise, it’s not my eyes, but the lights which are wobbling.
They’re getting bigger, quite rapidly now. I ask charlie to slow down abit, he’s aware of the lights too. We realise it’s a lorry, and they appear to be losing control.
I’m getting scared now, as this great ominous truck is vearing and swerving, gaining on us. I want to pull over. Please Charlie, I almost beg. He says we’ll be fine, but seeing the panic on my face, pulls over. I grip harder on charlies leg, unsure of what we’re supposed to do. It’s in full view now, I can see just how big this lorry is.
I want to wake the kids up, get us all out of the car, but you’re not supposed to do that on a motorway. I’m panicing, my heart is racing, and the lovely warm feeling has left my belly, and I’m left with a sinking anxiety in my heart.
I scream, Charlie screams. What are we supposed to do!?
It comes crashing into us, launching us down the tarmac. We capsize, spinning round and round, as the lorry continues to career down the road.
I’m frozen in this moment. Everything has appeared to slow down. I’m so aware of everything that’s happening right now, but unable to do anything about it. I have no control. My head swings back and hits the dashboard, knocking me out.
I come to, and everything is silent. My head is pumping, I’m upside down.
My vision really is wobbling this time. I fumble around in the dark, calling for charlie and the girls. Nobody answers. I try to find my phone, or a light, anything to try and make sense of what is happening. We need help.
I can hear sirens now, and the darkness of the car is briefly lit up with flashes of blue.
Everytime the siren turns, I get another horrific glimpse of the inside of the car.
I’m sobbing, heart wrenching cries, knowing all I can do is wait.
People have arrived, but I can no longer hear anything going on around me.
I’m passing out again. I let the moment wash over me, I just can’t deal with this right now.
I awake, unsure of where i am, unsure if this was just all some horrible dream.
I’m in the hospital, my door is closed and I can hear the goings on outide my room.
‘Driving home for christmas’ is playing from the radio beside me.
I toss my legs over the side of the bed, trying to stand, my legs give way and I fall to the ground. I pull myself to the door, and start banging. A nurse rushes in, and calls for help. They tell me I need to get back into bed. They scoop me up, I’m sobbing again. Begging for information about my family.
They soothe me, and lay me down.
I can see the struggle in the sweet nurses face, as she tells me that I am the only survivor.
My family is gone, but my extended family has been told and are on their way.
It’s like somebody has stuck a dagger in my stomach, I can feel the sharp pierce and I’m winded, gasping for air. My brain complelty fails and I disconnect from the world around me.
All I can do is think. I think of all the happy memories, of all the moments I will never experiance again. I can’t deal with this. I make a choice.
I write a note to my parents, and the rest of my family.
It’s getting dark again, Christmas day is drawing to a close. I slip out of my room and wander up to the very top of the hospital, climbing weakly up the steps to the roof.
The sky is so clear and stark, you can see every tiny, little shining star, glimmering in the deep navy zenith. I breathe in the air, my lungs seizing slightly at the sheer cold. It’s beautiful.
I fill myself up, with my final gasps of air. Clambering up to the ledge, I turn around, and let myself fall.
I’m flying, my life flashing before my eyes. I’m so happy I get to see it all one more time.
And then, it’s all over.
I’m going home.
The Day I Died
I pointed two big ole thumbs at myself. Jonathan Jacobs is the name! Dying is the game!
But, actually though, less than two hours ago I was killed. Let me be the first to say, this kind of blows. The biggest bummer has to be not being able to join that Smash Tournament my friends and I were planning this weekend. I was so going to crush James.
What had happened was I was out in the forest with my little sister. She wanted to look for fairies and my mother was too tired from drinking to join her, forcing me to go instead. Lame.
Anyway, after she made it safely across the highway—by double checking both sides, the annoying little goodie two shoes she is—I followed. Only to get hit by a truck like some idiotic deer. Double lame.
Ah well, at least I won’t have to go to school anymore. Or work that part time job only to have my mother steal half my money. Or spend countless hours babysitting my obnoxious little sister.
She’s still there, by the way. Crouched over my bed body, sobbing uncontrollably and shaking my corpse like it'll wake me up. God, this is so irritating. The way she doesn’t accept things the way they are! The way she still cares! Grow up, Lily! The world doesn’t work like that! Mom is never going to be sober, no matter how many times you try to hide the liquor! Dad is never going to come back, no matter how clean you keep his room!
She’s still crying.
Why doesn’t she just get it already? I felt my hands tremble at my sides. I wanted to shout. To scream. To say something, anything that would get her to shut up and move on. My eyes slowly welled up.
I sucked in my breath. Only one question remained in my mind: can I do it over again?
Can I play the supportive brother? The one who helps his bothersome, hopeful, little sister?
Please, just one more chance?
A tear fell and flattened against the sidewalk.
She sobbed louder.
But life doesn't undo itself just because you made one dumb mistake. It never does.
Dream is Over
It’s ironic that Eric’s car radio was playing Lennon’s song, ‘#9 Dream,’ seconds before the two cars crashed, as all of the words filled the air. “So long ago. Was it in a dream, was it just a dream? I know, yes I know Seemed so very real, it seemed so real to me Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé, Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé, Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé.”
Same street, different day, and an eon of time seemingly passes through a mini-second of breathing. Right before your eyes, the world as you know it, channels through an upload of galaxies and every universe becomes a mirror to see into. Yet, it only takes a fast glance to see that all of the reflections have faded away. The dream is over.
Eric looked at his wrist watch and saw that it was morning, 9:09 a.m. and he intuitively knew he was soon to die. No sooner had the west bound pickup hit his southbound Chrysler, it was finished. Everything that could have been more than a mere living wish loses the flicker. A young boys life is abruptly put to an end.
The story has it that old McDonald didn’t have a farm or a tractor to plow. Folks in town said that the 89-year old man was a mystery soul and a quiet river. Yet, William was a lot like Eric Dundee, the 17-year old drummer boy, and their lives were parallel. Sadly, the old man wasn’t the only one on his way to his grave on that day and no one knows why.
For a few seconds longer, Lennon’s song played on, “On a river of sound Thru the mirror go round, round I thought I could feel (feel, feel, feel) Music touching my soul, something warm, sudden cold The spirit dance was unfolding.” Eric didn’t think to ask the spirit dancer to save him. The fact is, his last bit of thinking had everything to do with finding his mom.
No sooner had the music stopped that the dancers ascended into heaven, right along with Eric J. Dundee. No words were ever spoken between the young boy and the old man. William’s truck rammed into the passenger’s side of Eric’s vehicle and the two men were killed instantly. Both the vehicles had flipped over numerous times, landing in the front yard of strangers who weren’t even home. Was anyone ever at home anymore?
Same street, different day, and the clock reads 9:15 a.m., as a small crowd gathers
on 14th Street, somewhere in the heart of Philadelphia, as the deceased bodies are
looked at and examined. “They are both gone,” someone cries out, as the police are called in and life moves on. Yes, time moves on but the dream is completely over.
An eon of time seemingly passes through a mini-second of breath, inhaling and exhaling Lennon’s “#9 Dream,” coloring a billion moving pictures into the heart
of the world. The young boy’s mother left him years ago and the old man’s own son
had died without cause. It seems both the men were headed for answers on the very day that took their lives forever.
If only we would have left earlier. But no Brandi had to do one more lap in the pool. We were leaving the campus for the weekend going to town.
All bags packed and we were ready to go. My idea of the perfect weekend was going to be try on shoes and get my nails done. Us girls had been planning this for a while. It was the first break in the fall.
The idea was to go around the larger exists and use the smaller high ways . It seemed pretty simple. Brandi's car had just been to the shop for new tires. There wasn't any reason to think the vehicle had issues
So as we were going around and the winding curves and over the step hills. Suddenly we here a loud pop.
What was that? I asked not sure Brandi replies The pale face and stern look tells me she is not comfortable. At once the accelerater has a mind of its own and we are doing seventy five miles per hour.
Brandi is screaming we have to just bail open the doors and jump. Before we get the chance we are up behind another vehicle.
As we start honking to alert the driver he only gets angry with us. Starts swerving in front of us won't let us pass.
The only option we have now is to keep the car on the road away from other cars. The car in front of us has moved to one lane only to see another car coming our way.
Now we don't have any choice we can't hit the jerk in front of us we can't pass and hit the car towards us. So we look each other in the eye and say ok. Our choice is to go off the side of the road into the hill.
It was a split second decision that cost us our lives. It all could have been so different.
The pop. Was a noise unfamiliar to our driving experience. Turns out it was the line with the fluid to keep the accelerater in tune with the electric carberatoer. Brandi's face was pure fear as she realized the gas was pushing us to eighty miles per hour.
She started to make guteral noises. Like she was trying to scream but was to scared. She didn't know what to do.
I had my hand on the door knob my mind was to jump anything would be better than crashing into to hillside. That stupid guy in front of us was just going to have to watch us crash.
I wanted to leave my body right then and there. But nothing would happen. I knew crashing was going to hurt us bad I just wasn't sure how.
It was now Brandi's time to acknowledge that she was going to wreck us on purpose and what ever happened she was truly sorry. She licked her lips and rubbed her hands through her hair then jerked the steering wheel to the right. The car bounced off the side of the road flung itself to the right. Then smacked right into the side of a cliff. The weight of the vehicle pressed against us. We were trapped in the wrecked metal. The car seats shoved us into the dash. The dash was forced into the front hood. We were torn to shreds. Our bodies were kept me intact we didn't loose arms legs or our heads. But we were both dead at the scene. Both of us unconscious not able to move we died if our injuries. Bleed internally. The only thing I remember after or during the crash was looking at Brandi and thinking we had a good run didn't we. Good times alot of fun if I was going to have to die I'd rather do it with Brandi.
It came out in the news that her car had an immensions problems. The car company was looking into it.
The jerk in the vehicle in front of us tried to say our negligence caused the accident. When we flew off the hill we clipped his car and caused him to spin around. He landed on the side of the road able to get out of his car and walk to ours. The other vehicle that was coming towards us just sped past easily. She came back to help . The lady had her two kids in the car. She was so hurt by our decision. Because we saved her life but took our own. She was grateful but guilty. As far as wrecks go it was pretty cut and dry.
The boom that sounds around me shocks my eyes open. I'm tumbling around, hitting the siding of the brown box as it rolls. When everything stills I shove open my resting place and crawl across the broken glass scattered on the roof of the car and peek my head into the upside-down front seat.
The glass next to my head is shattered, the man in front of me is mumbling, his eyes closed tight and covered in blood and glass shards. The wooden box that held me in splintered and broken, the white dress I wear is smudged with blood and dirt and I can see myself in the reflection of the glass, my eyes foggy. The noises surrounding me are muffled, I can’t move my lips and my eyes struggle to stay open.
I feel heavy and wrong as I crawl from the mangled metal of the long black car. The man continues to mumble and a car races by before the human manning the machine slams on the brakes in a cloud of smoke and turns back around frantically, the woman driving looking fearful and worried. Her phone is to her ear as she clammers from her small white truck and runs to me and the black car, her eyes flashing panic and fear. Her hands close over mine as she begins talking.
“Yes, there’s a wreck, there’s a girl who appears unhurt but alarmed, I don’t know if there is anyone else in the car... Yes, I can check. Will you be ok dear?” I nod as she slips between me and the car and looks inside. Her frantic voice picks up again. “Yes, he looks about middle age, he’s hanging upside down, he’s covered in blood I think it’s his. Oh, um... I-44 East? Yes, right between the mile 23 and 24 signs. Ok, thank you so much!” She turns to me with a smile and reaches for my hand. “Oh dear, you’re freezing, what’s your name?” I try to open my mouth and speak but I can’t, I can feel something tearing inside my mouth as I do try. “Dear?” The sirens distract her and me from the thought of my muteness. Panic sears through me like a knife. I start shaking and my lips shiver, I back away from the woman and mumble as much as possible.
“Mh, mh, mh.” My head shakes back and forth faster and faster, my toes curl and my fingers shift to a position like claws, my eyes darting like a cornered animal. I don’t know why but all I can think is that they’ll put me back, they’ll put me back into the brown box and lock me away forever. The woman tries to comfort me by stepping closer and wrapping a blanket around me, but I shake it off. Her scream sounds sharp and loud, the skin on my arm is purple and black, the makeup rubbed off by my struggle against the blanket.
“That’s... That’s Patrick’s hearse... You’re Betsy Adams. No, no, you’re dead. That’s not possible you were murdered.” My mumbles grow louder, I’m not dead, no, no, no, no, no, I am not dead, I’m only 17, I was just swimming at the lake, it was only noon, then they appeared out of nowhere, but they didn’t drown me... I passed out but woke up under a white sheet and I couldn’t move but I wasn’t dead. NO NO NO NO. I wasn’t dead when he stapled my mouth shut.
“NOO,” the scream that breaks from my lips shatters the staples, but the scream doesn’t cease, it just keeps coming and coming and coming. Until the woman passes out and I run into the woods, never to be seen again except by the people who did this.
“Mrs. Adam, I’m afraid on the way to the service Mr. Patrick got into a car accident and Ms. Betsy’s body seems to have burned in the fire, another woman was found dead near the scene as well, Mrs. Barabara Wright, a retired paramedic, heart attack, probably from the shot of the accident.” The officer speaks solemnly to the Adams family but they aren’t paying attention.
“She got out” Mrs. Adams whispers to her husband.
“She’s coming” He replies solemnly.
“We’ll have to find her before she finds us and finish the job you were too weak to.”