Headlights. Lips parted in a scream, a silent scream. Nothing came out. She heard nothing, just an eerie quiet and calm. Time slowed down to a halt.

...and it was like she felt infinite, almost.

And then she saw it all again, but in slow motion. Driving down the road, music blaring. Dark. Moonlight and headlights showing the way. She'd probably driven down the same road a hundred times, to the point where she could drive it backwards and in her sleep.

She stepped on the brake, just enough to safely round the turn. About seven more minutes and she would be safe at home. She looked down for a split second. And when she looked up...

Headlights. This was where it slowed down indefinitely; everything had happened so fast that she had barely any time to comprehend. But it was clear as day now... She glanced up to see another car, coming towards her...barreling around the turn...in her lane. She could feel her heart pounding, feel the gasping breath she attempted to make. Headlights. Brighter and brighter.

The scream never escaped her lips.

Back to infiniteness. She looked around and saw nothing but blinding white light. She felt peaceful, which scared her more than anything, because she felt as though she should be feeling some sort of panic or worry or utter franticness. It just...didn't come. She started to feel some sort of pressure, like the world was closing in on her. She didn't like it.

Couldn't breathe. It was too bright. She closed her eyes tight against the luminations.

And then...she heard a gasping sob. The only noise to fill a silent void. She realized that it was her, though she couldn't feel the tears, the tightening of the chest.

She'd always heard that it was like a movie playing in your head, split seconds of images of the most important moments of your life. The strongest, and at the very same time, most insignificant memories. Everything. And there it was.

Was that where the tears came from? Was this a realization?

She was trying to force herself out of it. But it didn't work. She had no time to question or second guess because she was thrown rather violently into it.

Fourth birthday. She got a dollhouse from her grandfather. Played with it for hours on end. When she turned nine, though, she became too cool for the dollhouse. She had more important things to do. Sold the dollhouse. Later that summer her grandfather died. She didn't quite comprehend the loss she'd just experienced, but she wished with all her might that she hadn't sold that dollhouse. Handmade, he'd put all this time and effort and love to it, and even at the age of nine, she knew that she'd regret it. She still regretted it.

Piano lessons. Playing scales until she wanted to scream. She got first place in the competition, though...came home with a trophy and a smile. She kept playing after that, but not to the same extent. It was a good way to de-stress, even though she rarely did it now. She still remembered that song, and could still play it.

Elementary and grade and middle school. She'd been a good student, had made a lot of friends. Lost some, too, but that's to be expected. She made her parents proud. She liked school. She started high school and, by natural instinct, wanted to rebel against everything she stood for. She managed to stay on track, though it was hard and she became tempted more often than not. In high school she was friends with everyone. She was the girl you went to if you had problems, because she would always lend a shoulder to cry on or a willing ear. She cried at graduation, because she knew the old saying was true: high school had probably been the best four years of her life. The ups, the downs...it was all worth it.

Her first, first kiss...Jimmy Holland in the first grade, sitting up on the monkey bars of the playground. All of her little boyfriends and crushes. You know, the ones that last for all of a day and then, just like that, there's another one. Cole Johnson, her first real kiss, the summer before she started high school. The summer before he moved away. Her boyfriends became more serious...

Spring of her senior year. Matthew Reese. The one she lost her virginity to. The one that broke her heart. The one she'd fallen so hard for, even though they were going their separate ways. She was in love with him. She would do anything for him. And just like that, it was over and she couldn't move, couldn't think, couldn't find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Of course, she got over it with time. Matthew Reese would always be her first true heartbreak.

She was in her older sister's wedding and became an aunt. She started college, majoring in history. Full ride in a big city. She knew what she wanted to do with her life. Life was good.

She met him, he changed her life...gave her direction. He made up for all the Matthew Reese's of this world. He was the real deal, and they both knew they needed each other. There was no doubt.

She graduated. Got a job. Loved her job. Moved into a small, but affordable, house. Kept in touch with her parents, those dear high school friends she still talked to. They were going to get married; she had found her soulmate. Just a small gathering, that was all they wanted. It would be enough. They were content with life. She was happy.

Then. That morning. She got out of bed, careful not to wake him. Showered. Got dressed, did hair and make-up. Made coffee. Read a little bit of the paper. Walked back into the bedroom, leaned against the doorframe, and just watched him. He was...perfect. Kissed him softly, watched him struggle with almost becoming conscious, then falling back into a peaceful repose. Left for work. Work was normal, like any other day. He was going to be putting in a late night at the office, so they met up for dinner. Their favorite restaurant, where he proposed, and where she tearfully said yes. They sat in one of the little corner booths, hands clasped over the table, eating and laughing and talking. They were always laughing. Dessert, and then, he had to be back at work. He'd be home before eleven. He wanted her to go home, take a nice, long bath, and then get in bed. Wait for him. She told him she would. She always would. Walked outside, arm in arm. Stood next to her car, and his arms slid around her waist and he pulled her in close and kissed her. She kissed him back. She still went weak in the knees at the feel of his lips. She didn't want to let go. But she did. Got in her car. Put a cd in the player, turned it up loud. Pulled out of the parking lot, feeling loved and content and happy. Thirteen minutes until she'd be home. Driving down almost deserted streets, singing along. Feeling...alive. Getting closer to home. Rounding the turns...stepping slightly on the brake. Glancing down at the clock. Glancing up. Headlights.

Headlights. And then...quiet. Silence. Infinite.

She didn't hear the crunch of metal on metal, didn't feel the turbulence as the car flipped over. And over. Didn't see the cracked windshield, the demolished front end on the other car. Didn't feel the weight of the car as it folded in on itself, like an accordion. Didn't hear the sirens, the hurried and horrified voices of passerby and paramedics. Didn't see the face of the other driver, stunned and too much in shock to comprehend what had just happened...the police officers, who cringed and whispered among themselves, trying to keep composed. She didn't feel the vibrating, hear the creaking of her car as the jaws of life strained to pull apart the wreckage.

She was already gone by then.

And she didn't hear his cries, near wails of anguish and anger and sorrow when the police officer arrived at the office to deliver the news. She didn't see how her family members more or less collapsed in on themselves. She didn't feel anything...someone who once felt everything...and now...nothing.


'Holland Park - A head-on collision has left one woman dead and another with minor injuries. Police reports indicate that around 7:40 PM Monday night, Lindsay McNames, 19, swerved into the westbound lane of Old Glory Road and struck the vehicle of Jane Ashton, 25. Ashton died at the scene, reportedly of head injuries, while McNames was taken to Memorial Hospital and released later that evening. According to Sheriff William Roberts, McNames was under the influence of alcohol and had a blood alcohol content considerably over the legal limit. McNames has been charged in this incident and is awaiting a trial. The visitation for Ashton will be Friday evening, with the funeral Saturday morning at Holland Park Methodist Church. Ashton is survived by her husband, parents, two older sisters, and younger brother.'