I'm shivering. My clothes are soaking wet. I rub my arms with my hands trying to stay warm.
This is all dad's fault. He was the one who thought it was a great idea to go fishing at night, when it's dark, and you can't see anything. If he had waited until tomorrow morning, then I wouldn't have fallen into the lake. We're in the car now. Mom offered me her jacket so that I could stay warm. It's not much, but that's all we have right now.
"Sweetie, please! I said I'm sorry! But it's not really my fault, you know? You should be more careful." My dad tries to reason.
"Well, I wasn't the one who decided that nighttime was the best time for a fishing trip! How am I supposed to see anything? It's your fault I fell off the boat!"
"Honey, your father just thought that since we're having a picnic tomorrow, it would be nice to have something different to eat." Mom said. She leaned over a little closer to whisper something. "Besides, you know how much he likes to brag to his friends about all the fish he catches." She winked at me.
I sighted. I guess I could forgive dad. He looks satisfied with all the fish he caught. And I really was having fun, well, that is until I almost drowned in a dark lake. He offers me his jacket as well. It's much warmer than mom's. I put it around my shoulders and lean my head against the glass in the window.
Dad is driving and talking to mom about something. I don't know what it is since I'm not really paying attention. I'm looking at our surroundings through the window. For a while, all I can see is pine trees, which is not very strange in Canada. But later on, I see some lights. They're moving. They look like flashlights being held by someone. I only saw them for a split of a second, but it was enough to make me curious. My family comes to these woods every single summer. We spend our stay at my grandfather's house, which I'm not sure if it can exactly be considered a house. It's more like a hut. We've been coming here since I was born, and all this time, I thought the woods were deserted. Grandpa said the nearest house was 160 kilometers away.
I shake away my thoughts and try to sleep. I'm not shivering anymore, and my eyelids are starting to get heavier. And so, I close my eyes, and I get some rest.
I wake up with the sound of my parents screaming. I open my eyes, and I see a black van targeting towards our car, and before I know, it's crashing into us. For a second, there is no gravity. Nothing exists besides me and the clear, panicky thought: "we're going to die". I hit my head on the glass next to me, and after that, everything is a blur.
It's dawn. I finally manage to open my eyes. Even though I'm sure that they are open, all I can see is black. I smell smoke. The kind of smoke that itches the inside of your lungs and makes you cough. Something sharp jabs into my left side. I try to release myself from the seatbelt, but I can't. It's stuck. Maybe if I got something to cut it off with?
I look around. My vision is still blurry, but I can spot little things that are close to me. Glass. There's glass everywhere. I look ahead and I see the outline of my mother's body. But I can't see my father's. I try to reach my mom, but the seatbelt won't allow it, so I call her:
"Mom? Are you alright?"
Nothing. Panic starts to creep up on me. She isn't moving. I don't think she's breathing. But she has to. She has to. I scream:
"MOM! WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP, DIYA! PLEASE. MOM. WAKE UP!"
Tears are starting to fill my eyes, and I feel them running down my cheek. Where's dad? Where is he? Is he dead? Why did this happen? I have to get out of here.
I grab the biggest glass shard that I can reach and start to cut off the seatbelt that has been restraining me. It takes a while, but after a few minutes, I finally release myself.
I try to shake mom awake, but there's no response. Maybe I should check her pulse? Or breathing? I put a hand over her face expecting to feel some kind of breeze, and fortunately, I do. A soft, almost unnoticeable breath escapes her mouth. I sight in relieve. She's alive. But she still needs help. Now that I properly look at her, I notice the wound on her head. She must have banged it somewhere, just like I did.
I get out of the car using one of the broken windows, since I can't open the doors. The car is wreck. Absolutely destroyed. It looks as if someone just took pieces of steel and glass, and smashed them with a bat.
Now that I'm out, I can see my dad's body. I feel a sharp ache in my stomach. He got projected out of the car. He's covered in blood and glass on top of the other van. The one that hit us. There's so much blood. I get on my knees and I start to vomit. It burns, and the tears make it really difficult to breath. After I finish, I start sobbing. I should check if he's alive, just like I did with mom. But what if he's not? What do I do? I need to get help.
I try to go back to the car, but I feel an intense pain on my left side. I finally look down, and I realize that there's a sharp piece of glass buried on my skin. I ignore it. There's more important things on my mind.
Back at the car, I try to look for my mother's phone. She probably has it in her big purse. I find it on the back seat, and I search for my mother's small, grey, old phone. There's so much junk in her purse! I finally find it at the bottom of the bag, and try to call 911. The screen is black. That makes no sense. Since when does mom leave the house without her phone being fully charged? Something feels odd about the phone. It's a little too light. I remove the back part of the thing to reveal an empty space. Where is the battery? What the hell is going on here? What do I do?!
I throw the phone to the ground in frustration. It's useless. Why doesn't dad have a phone? How am I supposed to ask for help now?
My sobs are starting to get more and more frequent. I don't want my parents to die. The pain in my body is now stronger. I sit down to properly examine the wound. It hurts a lot, and it looks deep. There's so much blood. Why is there so much blood? Should I remove it? No, I think that's worse. When the help comes, they can remove it in a safe and proper way, can't they? But how am I gonna call for help?
Wait, maybe someone in the van has a phone.
I wipe my tears and I try to get on my feet. The pain on my side is starting to get unbearable. Nevertheless, I walk to van as fast as I can.
The black vehicle is pretty damaged too. I look inside and I see… nothing?
There's no one in the van. The seats are completely empty.
Maybe the blood loss is making me confused. I'm sure there was someone driving the van. Maybe they got up and went to get help. I should search inside. Maybe there's something I can use as a bandage to help with my wound. There's nothing on the front, so I decide to check the trunk.
Again, I walk as fast as it is possible for a 15 year old girl who is suffering from major blood loss. When I get to the trunk, I open it, and I'm contemplated by emptiness. There's nothing there. Absolutely nothing.
I fall to my knees once again. What the hell do I do? There's no phone that I can use. There's one around. The only hope I have is that driver of the black van managed to get some help. But what if they didn't? What if they got lost? If they did, then there's one I can rely on.
The sun is already high, and there's no help. But the crash happened several hours ago. It's very unlikely that they found anything. The van's glass is shattered. What if they're injured? I can't waste any more time. I have to find help by myself. Grandpa's house isn't so far away. But before I leave, I walk up to my dad. He hasn't moved since I woke. I noticed mom's chest moving a little, but there's no signs from dad. Hesitantly, I flip him over, and I put my head over his chest.
He's dead. Dad is dead. I lift up my head, and for a moment I just sit there looking at his face. He has a peaceful expression on his face. He must have died instantly. He probably didn't feel any pain.
I feel something heavy taking over my body. I can't move. I sit there and I look at my father's corpse. I don't know for how long I sat there. All I remember was the feeling of tears driping down my cheeks.
Finally, a loud sob escapes my throat. For a while, I do nothing but crying and shivering. Why did the van crash into us? Why is there no help? Why did this happen to dad?
A small voice breaks me from my train of thought. I look into the car and I see that mom's eyes are open. Her lips are moving too. She's trying to say something.
I get up and I rush in her direction, ignoring the agonizing pain on my left side.
"Reena..." she calls me with a low, croaky voice. Her face is very pale, and she has blood coming out of her head.
"Mom, are you ok?"
"Where are we? Where's your dad?" she asks
I feel a strong sting in my stomach. Should I tell her?
"Reena... get help" she whispers. And with that, she closes her eyes. I think she fell asleep. She probably has a broken skull or something. I try to softly shake her shoulder a couple of times, but nothing.
I need to get help. Grandpa's house isn't very far away. He has a phone in there. He can help us.
I turn around and I start walking away from the scene. The sun is already pretty long have I been here?
My steps are small and slow, but determined. If my calculations are right, it should take me about a half a day to reach grandpa's house. I wouldn't need to do this if dad wasn't so stubborn and got me a phone, like other kids have.
I stop walking. I shouldn't be thinking about that stuff. My father is a great man. Well... was. Just the thought of my dad being gone from this world forever brings water to my eyes once again.
I restart my pace, this time faster. Mom is still alive, and I need to help her.
As far away as I get, the more I beggin to focus on my own wounds. I look down. I'm still bleeding. I start believe that I might bleed to death. The thought sends shivers down my spine. I never really thought about dying before. It's a depressing subject to think about, but I can't push it away. It keeps invading my mind like a virus, and I can't help but notice how beautiful these woods look, and how it wouldn't be so bad if this was my final resting place.
My head hurts, and my vision is blurry. I haven't eaten anything since last night's dinner. My throat is dry like a desert. I wish it would rain, but the sky is completly clear, without a single cloud. My steps are getting slower and slower. This is it. I'm gonna die here. I didn't even managed to walk for 5 kilometers. Tears are starting to fill my eyes again. Man, I really am helpless, aren't I? I do nothing but crying. I'm so sorry, mom.
I'm hearing voices. Am I going insane? Is this what dying feels like?
The voices are a bit different from each other. One of them sounds a bit gruffy.
"What if she died?" it asked
"If she did, we'll go find another one." replied a man with a plummy voice.
It takes me while to realise that the voices aren't in my head. They're from real people, and they're coming from down the road. Suddently, all those thoughts about dying leave my head, and I start running, without even thinking about what the voices were saying, and without thinking about the pain on my left side. There is hope.
I can see them. There are three people sitting by a fancy red car.. One grown man with a long red coat, and two young boys.
"HELP!" I scream. They turn their heads in my direction and watch as I run towards them. The pain is too much, and I end up falling on the floor with a thud.
"Ilia, go help her" commanded the man
"Yes, Mr. Charles!" I lift up my head and I see one of the boys running towards me. He's wearing a jacket that is far too big for him. I'm not sure if I want him to help me. Something about the way that his chapped, pale lips curved into a huge smile when he was ordered to help me creeps me out. I have the feeling that this kid is not trust worthy. But right now, I'm in no condition to make demands. I'm just glad that I found help, and that everything is going to be okay.
He picks me up, and he carries me to the man that is aparently named Mr. Charles. The boy puts me down, and I immediatly cling to the man's coat.
"Please! You must help! There has been a car crash. My mother is injured, and my father is-"
"Calm down, dear." he interrupts me. "We'll help your parent's, but first, we have to help you. You seem in pain, darling. Are you injured?" he asks. His voice... is so soft. Am I really not dead? Is this person a real human?
"Yes. I've got a glass shard buried on my skin. It hurts a lo-"
"Don't worry, honey. You'll be alright. But it will take a while for the help to get here. Why don't you drink some water?"
Water. I'm still not completly convinced that I didn't die on the road. Right now, that tiny water bottle that the man has offered me looks like heaven. I take the bottle from his hand and I drink some.
It only takes me a fraction of second to realise that something is very wrong with the water. I try to spit it out, but I already swallowed a bit. I start feeling dizziness. I don't know what kind of drugs there were in the plastic bottle, but they are powerfull, and as soon as I know, I'm on lying on the road.
"Yoshio, put her in the car."
I feel the other boy picking me up. I try to fight, but my body doesn't obey me. I can't even scream. The only option I have is to look at the boy's face, hoping to see some kind of mercy. But I see none. His face is stone cold and he doesn't even look at me.
Despite all the eforts I'm making to keep my eyes open, they refuse to do so. The last thing I remember is boy putting me down on the back seat of the car, next to a couple of flash lights, and the man's plummy voice whispering: "Don't worry, dear. I'll take care of you."
AN: Sorce for the cover image goes to user Dark-Drac ( .com ). (She's really cool, go check her out!)