Rise Up Into the Light

So, in my ever floundering efforts to try to and get myself writing more, I joined a Slack started by a Twitter friend that’s focused on writing. We chatter about all sorts of writing related things, and generally try to cheer on and help each other out. So far I’ve been less than pleased with my results, but it’s the fault of things outside this group such as work and life stress, and everyone’s been pretty awesome so far. One thing we’re going to try out is a weekly writing prompt to encourage the creative juices.

Prompt:
The 4am Breakthrough #162: A Car Wreck In Repose: Write a short scene that takes place entirely inside a vehicle that has been in a serious accident. Let there be a driver and two passengers. All are badly injured, but all are conscious. They cannot escape from the vehicle, but the vehicle is not about to explode. Still, things aren’t good. Write about their perceptions and their fractured conversation in the moments before rescue arrives. 500 words.


The tiger shark paused on the other side of the windshield and met Kathleen’s eye, and she held her breath until it swam off again. Wait, swam?

Drip.
Drip.
Drip.

She turned and looked at the window to her right and saw water pushing its way from under the weather strip she’d been telling Steve to replace for the last three years.

“Kath? Vic?” Steve reached over to lay a hand on Kathleen’s knee, and looked over his shoulder to the backseat. Victoria sat with her head back against her seat, staring up at the growing wet spot in the drooping headliner.

“What the fuck just happened?” The teen finally lifted her head, meeting her mother’s eye through the rear view mirror.

“Last thing I remember, something hit us. It was moving too fast, I only saw a blur and then we were through the guardrail on the side of the bridge.” Steve pushed aside the deflated airbag that covered the steering wheel, searching for the horn. When he found it, a sickly muffled meep was all the reward he got. “Hopefully someone saw us go.”

“Rescue equipment is going to take a while to get here, even if they did. How much air do we even have?” Kathleen unbuckled her seatbelt and pressed her face against the window trying to look up. A water drop hit her in the eye and she pulled away from the window with a start as she furiously blinked the brackish water out. “It’s not that deep here, is it? Couldn’t we just swim up?”

“Oh my gawd, Mom. Do you even know how much force that water will roll in here with if we open a window to get out? And we’ll lose all our air when we do it.” Victoria unbuckled her seatbelt and dug into her pocket to pull out her phone. She poked at the touchscreen for a long minute, flicking and biting her lip. “Fuck. No signal. Nothing.”

“We have to do something.” Steve jabbed the window controls, and there was a small jerk and then nothing. Water started to trickle through the top of his window as he unbuckled his seatbelt and leaned over to yank open the glove box. “Be ready to move, I’m going to break this window. Ready?” He pulled out an orange tool with a small cone shaped hammer top on one end.

“Right behind you, dear,” Kathleen said, leaning in to give Steve a kiss on the cheek.

WAIT!” Victoria yelled, throwing herself forward, grabbing her fathers arm. “We need to wait for someone to come get us. We won’t make it. We won’t.”

“It could take hours, and we probably don’t have that much air. Hush now, take deep breaths and be ready to go as soon as your father breaks the glass.” Kathleen gently pulled Victoria’s grip from Steve’s arm, awkwardly putting her arm around Victoria’s shoulder.

“On three…” Steve raised the tool as he turned towards the window. “One. Two.”

CRASH.

The water rushed in.