A/N: If you're reading this, Mrs. Coleen Finlayson, I, Tom, am the author of this work. "Asylum of the Devitory" is just my screename.

To my casual readers, yes, this is a college assignment. And yeah that's right, Tom ismy real name. Big whup wanna fight about it?

The Accident

It was pretty dreary when I set out in my beat-up '94 Cadillac that day; there was not a speck of sunlight in the sky to be seen at all. I was cruising down a barren country road with no destination in mind, I just wanted to get away from it all. By "it" I mean everything- my crummy dead-end job, my ex-wife, the endless supply of overdue loan payment statements, and even though I could just barely afford this month's rent for my tiny little apartment, what little savings I did have were nowhere near the level of debt I was in. Giving up on life, wishing I could just wipe the slate clean and start all over again. But of course, that's not going to happen anytime soon, so for the time being, I'm stuck in the bottom of this pit that I've dug for myself. In all honesty, I was just about to give up. Give up on hope, life, everything. I rolled down the window and felt the cooling wind whip at my face, feeling a fleeting moment of relief as I roared down the dusty road. I knew that I eventually had to return and face all of my problems back home eventually, but for the time being at least, it felt great to be free.

There were quite a few deer in the area I was driving, and I could already smell the fresh sea breeze from the coast. The foothills of the coastal mountains should have been coming into view within ten minutes, and it was at that point that I had decided that I would turn around and head home. This little cruise of mine was so enjoyable that I thought about doing it again soon. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I felt completely calm and relaxed- who knew driving around aimlessly could be such a good stress outlet? Just as I had made my U-turn to barrel back down the opposite way, my cell phone began to ring. Fishing it out of my pocket with one hand on the wheel, I saw by the caller I.D. that it was my wife's lawyer calling me yet again. Rolling my eyes, I pressed the green phone button and sighed under me breath. "Hello?"

"Hello, Mr. Jerry Burak," came the automated voice on the other end of the line, "This is a message from the law firm of H. G. Devitt. We are calling to confirm your appointment at our offices is scheduled for Friday, April thirteenth."

I palmed my forehead in frustration. I don't know how many times I've told them that I won't be available that week.

"If you would like directions to our office, press one," the voice continued. I shifted my grip on the steering wheel with my free hand, and pressed the cell phone harder against my ear, trying to hear the quiet voice. "If you would like to arrange an additional meeting, press two. If you would like to reschedule your current meeting, press three."

Without hesitation, I punched in three, and waited anxiously. There was a brief pause.

"We're sorry, all of our operators are busy right now-"

I let out a roar of frustration and flipped the cell phone shut. I'll deal with that mess when I get back. After all, why let those bottom-feeding lawyers ruin a good joyride? I took my eyes off the road for a split-second to pocket my cell phone again, when a bump in the road made it jump out of my hands and onto the floor. Grumbling, I lurched down quickly to fetch it from underneath the passenger's seat, and looked ahead at the road again just in time to see a deer darting across the road right in front of me. Purely on instinct I swerved to the left as a jammed on my brakes, sending me into a field with a high-pitched shriek. I spun the wheel left and right frantically trying to regain control of my car again, but everything I did only seemed to make the swerving worse. Finally, I felt the right side of the vehicle tip up and over, and the last thing I remembered was being flipping upside down before everything went black.

I don't know how long I was out for, but it couldn't have been long. Only when I felt myself getting light-headed did I realize that I was now hanging upside-down, fastened to my seat by the seatbelt. A throbbing pain ran mercilessly though my temples, and hanging upside down only made the laceration above my right eye worse, as I could tell from what remained of the rear-view mirror. Great, this is the last thing I needed. Now I don't have a car. I was about to complain further when I moved my right shoulder, and suddenly felt like I had been stabbed. It was a pain unlike any other I had ever felt in my life, and to my horror I noticed that my shoulder had been rendered almost completely immobile. I wanted to scream, but nothing came out from my dry and raspy throat. Knowing that hanging like I was would only worsen my condition, I reached for the clasp to my seatbelt with me left hand. The moment I spread my fingers was the moment another sharp jolt of pain shot up my arm, and I knew immediately that I had broken my left hand in addition to dislocating my right shoulder. I knew that I needed help, and quickly. Grimacing and bearing the pain in my hand, I gingerly slipped my fingers into my pocket to retrieve my cell phone again, yet to my dismay, all I felt was the insides of my pocket. Where could it have possibly gone? Did I have it out when I rolled over? I slowly glanced to my left out of the window, and saw my opened cell phone, propped up like a tent, lying about ten or so feet away from me on a rocky patch of the field. Lucky for me the thin grass was yellowing and beginning to die, otherwise I don't think I would have been able to spot my phone. "Hey!" I called out, hoping someone was nearby. "Hey! Can anybody hear me?" I choked on the last word as I hacked and coughed; my parched throat would not permit me to yell very loud for very long. Eventually, I had to face the facts. I couldn't afford to sit and wait for help, I had to pull myself out of my car and call for it myself.

With my right hand unable to put any kind of pressure on it, I knew that I would not be able to unfasten my seatbelt- the clasp kept sticking, and only then did I immediately regret procrastinating to have it fixed for all those months. I needed something to cut through my seatbelt, but what? I glanced around the car, and found one large shard of glass from the passenger's window lying by my head on the ceiling. I reached up to grab it with my right hand, but all that got me was a wide cut on my finger and thumb. I cursed inwardly, and searched for something else I could cut with. I suddenly found myself looking at my car keys, still dangling in the ignition. Careful as to not disturb my injured shoulder, I reached across my chest and plucked the car keys from the steering column, seeing what I could work with. The ignition key was too smooth, and my car door key had only one little tooth near the base. But my room key, however, had two triangle-like points near the end of the key, and pressing it into my thumb confirmed that they were pretty sharp. With blood still rushing to my head, I doggedly set to work with my key, bit by steady bit sawing through the tough fabric across my shoulder.

About halfway through the shoulder strap, my right arm bent at the elbow, sending another jolt of pain through my body. Lucky for me, my right hand was hooked safely underneath my lap belt. I shuddered to imagine how much it would have hurt if my whole arm came flopping down. I began to drift in an out of a haze, and I knew that if I didn't saw through my bonds fast enough, I would pass out and probably be left for dead in the middle of this field. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, I cut through my shoulder strap, and with whatever strength I still had in my right hand, I clutched onto the lap belt to stop my dislocated shoulder from becoming even more damaged. Now that I had a little more mobility, the next task was to saw through my lap belt. Holding the key as tightly in my left hand as I could, I wound my arm back to my left hip, and began to rip away at the belt. With my elbow hitting the side of the car more than the key was touching the belt, I was intending to hold the key like a dagger, when my weakened hand clumsily dropped the keys, landing with a little pat on the windshield. I wanted to swear, but by this point my throat's aridness had gotten worse much. I gingerly reached up to grab my keys, but with my trembling, broken hand I could barely manage to hook the key ring in my pinkie finger before dropping them again. Well, I wasn't ready to give up just yet. I forced my hand to clench as tight as it could around the keys, no matter how much my body screamed in pain. Getting a firm enough grip on my room key again, I had only a quarter of seatbelt to go through when my right hand had finally had enough and went numb, dropping my keys back onto the windshield. As another red haze filled my head and my vision dimmed, I knew that the only tool I had left to break free from the seatbelt was my own body. I jerked my hips outward; hoping to sever whatever remained of the compromised seatbelt. At the instant I did, a blast of pain ripped through my body, freezing me in my seat. My shoulder didn't like that at all, and boy did it let me know. There had to be some other way to break the belt. After a few minutes of brainstorming, I was dismayed to come to the conclusion that there was no other way. I just had to keep pulling against my restraint, no matter how much it hurt. I jerked my hips again. The seatbelt tore a little bit, and my shoulder felt like it had been torn off. I jerked my hips a third time. The seatbelt tore a little more, and my shoulder screamed in pain, much more than I thought I could bear. Finally, a fourth tug tore the seatbelt in two with an audible pop, and so did my shoulder. I would have screamed in agony, but dropping from my seat and onto my head on the windshield knocked me too senseless. Lying on my back on the upholstered ceiling of my car, I knew that I was far from being out of the woods yet. Now I had to pull myself out of the car, and drag my battered body towards my cell phone in the field. With my left arm miraculously still able to move, I reached out of the open window, over the shattered glass, and dragged myself forward.

Suddenly, I felt a pop in my left ankle, and pain began tearing through my whole leg. I was also suddenly aware of a throbbing ache in my lower back as I reached to cradle my ankle. My shoe had to come off, or the swelling would cut off blood flow to my foot. But there was no space in the car to do so, so for the time being, I had to bear the pain in my foot and drag myself out into the field. Rolling over, I reached outside and anchored my elbow into the soft ground, and I felt little bits of jagged glass cutting into my arm over the shattered window frame, testing my will to survive. I bit my lip and pressed on, dragging my body halfway out of the car, pausing to rest a little bit over the broken glass before reaching up again and dragging myself out of the car. Now that I could sit up, I could finally get my shoe off. I dragged myself to the side of my overturned car, and propped my back up against the tire rim, taking a moment to soak in the cooling breeze. All the blood draining from my head felt nothing short of heavenly, and after a few deep breaths, I was ready to take that shoe off. Lurching forward, I gingerly pulled on the laces with my tingling left hand, slowly but surely loosening the knot. With my right foot I kicked off my shoe, and let my foot swell. As good as this felt right now, I knew I couldn't stay like I was. My cell phone was still on that rocky patch of ground, and only now did I realize how far it was. I took a deep sigh, and prepared myself for the worst part of my struggle. It was going to be a long dragging.

Sliding over onto my stomach again, I steadily crawled towards my phone, inch by painful inch. I would plant my elbow down on the ground, and use my good leg to push myself along the ground. My limp shoulder dragging behind me ached and throbbed with every little bump and jostle, but my resolve would not waiver. Finally, after dragging myself for what seemed to be miles, I laid my hand upon my cell phone and scooped it inward, hugging it tightly to my chest. Flipping it right-side up, I gingerly dialed 9-1-1 with my finger on my broken hand, and waited for a reply.

"This is 9-1-1," a calm operator on the other end answered.

"Send an ambulance," I wheezed weakly, trying not to cry with joy, "I've been in a rollover."

"Alright sir," said the operator with that ever-placid monotone, "Where are you?"

I groaned and rolled over onto my back, watching the bleak sky begin let loose little droplets of rain from the clouds. "156th street, between First and Second Avenue, in that big field by the coast. My car's rolled over upside-down, you can't miss it."

"Are you injured at all, sir?"

"I've broken my ankle, my hand, and I think I've dislocated my left shoulder."

"Anyone else with you?"

I took a deep breath. "No," said at length, "just me and my thoughts."

"Okay sir, an ambulance is on the way," said the ever-calm operator, "I'll need you to stay on the line."

Then he said a bunch of other stuff that I didn't pay attention to. All that mattered to me now was that I was still alive, and help was on the way. In the half-hour or so it took for the ambulance to arrive, I lay on my back in a motionless heap, wondering what would happen from here. And as the rain came pouring down upon me, I knew what I was going to do from now on. I would appreciate the fact that I had survived, and most importantly, for the first time in a long time, I would be thankful for being alive.