When Reality Makes You Go Blind

(Inspired by the fortune 'Don't let unexpected situations throw you')

"Darn it! I'm going to be late again!" a brunet yelled out with a slice of toast hanging out of his mouth, as he ran out to his car.

Worksheets and papers from his notebooks and binders flew out of place as he fumbled with the car keys. The wind blew a mighty gust, picking up the dried, discolored leaves into the unusually crisp, Florida air. The sun was rising into the sky, which had the texture and look of blue and pink cotton candy. Opening the car, the sixteen-year old threw his books and school materials in the backseat. His emerald colored eyes made their way to his loosely worn watch. '6:56' it read. The teen ran his hand over his spiky hair in frustration, as he got into the car and pulled away from the driveway.

"I should've studied last night, but no, I just had to go to that party," he murmured to himself sarcastically, taking a bite of his minute breakfast. "Curse you, finals."

Not wanting to be late again, he slammed his foot on the gas. His window whirred as he let some of the cool, winter air in. Though the radio was at its minimum, a loud cacophony in his head annoyed the boy as he drove, making his head throb. He wondered if he would be able to concentrate on the exams with such an agonizing headache. Without even thinking, he ran right past a stop sign, forcing all the other cars come to a screeching halt. The people honked their horns and cursed out their windows, but he didn't notice.

Turning another street corner, he saw his friend, J.R., on his driveway. He looked angry, not to mention disappointed, for his tardiness. He pulled into the driveway and unlocked the door to the passenger side.

"Did you oversleep, Fender?" J.R. asked as he set his books and binders on the dashboard, so he could close the door. Looking at his friend's stressed look, he smirked. "Daxter, Daxter, Daxter. I told you to leave that lame party early so you could study."

"I know, but I just lost track of time." As he waited for his friend to get in the car, Daxter took his watch and set an alarm on for 7:10, so he wouldn't have to pay attention to the clock the whole ride. After he heard the seatbelt click, Daxter turned around and looked for any cars, as he backed out of the driveway.

J.R. raised an eyebrow, and just shook his head. "Whatever." He opened his binder and took out his study sheet for English class. "I'll help you study on the way to school, okay?" He took off his glasses, tinted a light blue to match his eyes, and rubbed off the fine fingerprints with his shirt.

"Thanks, dude," Daxter replied, as he leaned forward, accelerating the speed of the car again.

J.R. looked at the speedometer. He began to fiddle with his neatly combed and gelled, bleach blonde hair on a nervous impulse. "Dax, I think you should slow down a bit. You're over the speed limit."

"I can't slow down. We're going to be late for school."

As they drove past an array of trees, J.R. looked out the window and saw a lot of other cars on the road. "What if you hit one of the cars in front of us?" He started to tense up.

"Stop being such a worry-wart," Daxter noted, in between laughs.

J.R. let out an exasperated groan. He glanced at his paper again and sighed. "I'm going to ignore your last statement. Tell me what an allegory is."

Daxter took a fleeting look at J.R. with a surprised look. "That's not on the test, is it?"

"We've had this word since the ninth grade, Dax." J.R. banged his head against the seat. "It's a symbolic representation of something political, spiritual, or moral with a deep meaning."

Daxter's mouth hung open. "Um, okay, next question."

"I want you to slow down before I ask you the next question." J.R. looked at the road again, and saw that there were no cars within a quarter of mile around them. "Never mind. Okay, in what form was ancient Egyptian literature written?"

"Poetry! That's a no-brainer," he yelled out, starting to loosen up a little.

"That was only one question out of one hundred…" J.R. mentioned, tilting his head forward to avoid the glare from his glasses. He looked at his paper again. "What is a pun?"

"A play on words," Dax answered, as he took a glance at the clock. '7:04' blinked with a bright, digital, bold, green glow, as another minute passed. "We're going to be really late."

"As long as we get there in one piece, I don't care if we're late," J.R. replied. "Okay, here's a Confucius quote. 'Don't let unexpected situations throw you.' Try and interpret that."

"What?" Daxter snatched the study guide away from J.R. and looked at it.

"What are you doing? You're going to get us killed! Watch the road!" J.R. exclaimed, grasping his seatbelt, feeling suffocated from it.

Concentrating on the paper, Daxter was oblivious the road. The car faltered, as they began driving on an unusually, rough surface. "Don't let unexpected situations throw you. What the heck is that supposed to mean?"

"THAT!" J.R. screamed, pointing out in front of him.

Daxter looked up from the paper, and his eyes widened at what he saw. The car was on the wet grass with a large, pale melaleuca tree standing before them, mighty and powerful. The two sixteen-year olds screamed in horror, as the speeding car crashed into the tree, like a dart making a bull's eye on a dartboard. Flakes of paper-like tree bark drifted down on to the smoking car. The hood was ajar, bent in several places, with steam rising on one side. The car was no more than a piece of fragile metal, crunched by the force of the hit.

In the car, two limp bodies sat in the front seats. One with its head resting on the steering wheel, and the other one hanging forward, still held up by the seat belt. Cracked glasses with a mangled frame fell off J.R.'s face. Dark, red blood trickled down the steering wheel and dripped onto the floor of the car. Erratic, labored breaths were heard, as the bodies quivered.

Moments later, a very faint beep was heard, which grew louder with every other pulse. Daxter's watch lay on the floor, beeping loudly with the numbers '7:10,' blinking simultaneously. The reverberation faded; the sound became scratchy and lowered in pitch, while the numbers faded. It stopped and the screen went blank in the absolute silence.