The Shoulder:

By, G.D. Winters:

Author's Note:

This story is based on somebody whom I knew, who was in a violent car was involved. Everybody in my friend's car, died. Aside from her. The accident cost her sight. And, the crash killed the couple in the other car. Orphaning their kids. So, please, please, please! whatever your situation, think before drinking and, driving. It's your responsibility to think.

If teens are reading this, two things you must remember. One, get consent before having sex, and do not drive drunk. If you do, either way, you are going to ruin lives. Theirs, yours. If you are suicidal, don't use a car and, alcohol or, drugs. Please see help. I am asking people, don't regret rule your life. Survivor's guilt is one of the worst fates to be visited upon a human being. You don't want that. I have seen what that does. It lead my friend down the path which lead to eventual, successful, suicide. I won't forget.

You shouldn't either. Please, do not drink and, drive. This story has a bit of embellishment in it. I don't know what went through these people's minds. But, I think it's close.

Names were altered, as were places. Because, I don't want to disrespect the families involved. And, this is extremely personal. I am sure you understand that.

Thanks!

DEDICATION:

To Derrick, Doug, Jo, Cat and, Baby. I love you all, you are great friends. To Travis and, his family. To my readers and, to Katapillliar. I miss you, sweetheart! Wish you were hear, girl!

CONTENT WARNING:

Hello. The following story may contain some materiel which may seem overwhelming for some readers. I strongly recommend consumer desecration. thank you. Otherwise, enjoy.

Chapter 1: In The Wake Of Judgement:

Darkness pervaded over the small town of Wellington new Hampshire. Cold, dark. The least vestiges of the winter and, spring months, fading slowly. It was always like that in New England. the weather. It was the final hour of Ronald Nelson Plat, a Deputy Sheriff, sitting on the should of route three. This road lead in and out of town. but, this time of night, things were as slow as the weather. Ron could not wait to unfold his six foot two frame out of the cruiser and go the fuck home for the night. He was so tired, he didn't think he could even make love to his wife, Amy. their four kids would be asleep by now. He Watching a jeep grand Cherokee trundle sedately past his front bumper. Ron yawned.

"Unit three, come in, unit three." The cruiser's radio beckoned.

Yawning, Ron picked up for the radio receiver. "Unit three here." he said, his words slurring sightly. Great. now Wallace barns, the Sheriff himself, was going to think he'd been drinking on the job. His mushy brain thought. He vowed then and there that this would be the final time he would cover for Will Darling. Well, it had been the one time due to his kid being born, still. It was just too much. A triple was just too damned much. Especially when he'd dealt with a high-speed chase, two naked drunks and, a dead kitchen skunk

"Unit three, I am unclear on the term, kitchen skunk. That's what you put in the report. I know what you meant but, you do understand that other people are going to have to read this right? A judge for instance." Wallace's deep voice crackled over the radio. Sheriff Barns had been ruling the local roost for almost thirty years. "Ron?" Silence. "HEY, RON!"

"Whuh?" Ron ejaculated thickly in pure reaction. Wallace's shout had distorted the frequency something fierce. "A what? A skunk...whaah?" He asked fuzzily. Then he realized, he nearly nodded off. Well, that wasn't his fault. If you had to chase a drunk, naked, couple through a strip mall, maintain a speed trap for fourteen hours, anybody would be tired.

"Go home, Ron." Wallace replied much more quietly.

"No. I can answer. A kitchen skunk, that's what you asked me?"

"Yes." Wallace's response was slow in returning. Obviously, he didn't want to give Ron an excuse to stay up any later than he had been. but, Ron was both an adult and, a stickler.

"Oh! that's simple. I responded to a call of a possible domestic and, it turned out that old man Dodds had discharged a fire arm, shotgun, at a skunk in his kitchen. He killed it."

"Was it a skunk this time? Because, it'd be bad if it was another of his next door neighbor's cats."

"Well...it was kind of all over the place but, I did pick up some bits and pieces of striped black and white fur. It stank. Smelled like musk."

"Hmph. Okay. Go get some rest. Workin a triple's no joke. See you tomorrow afternoon." They disconnected.

When his shift was was over, Ron did go home nad, he found that Amy was waiting for him. Making love to her took all he had left. Of his fourth wind. Across town, a conversation that would bind Ron's fait with a strangers was taking place. Though, he would not know this for twenty two hours. The next night, he went to work, blissfully ignorant.

"So...subject change...can you come out tomorrow night?"

"Mmm...I dunno..."

"Oh, come on! Ya gotta!"

"Why?"

"It's Garret's eighteenth birthday party. You only turn eighteen once. He's got permission to use the family stretch limo on our, date. And, it's our one year anniversary. Big rave."

"Maybe." Kathy hedged. Kathleen Olivia Ilene Wells lay on her belly, here feet swinging behind her, a bowl of oranges in front of her, along with a history book. A warm breeze brushed her hair along her back, tickling her slightly. She ignored it, so engrossed with the conversation with her best friend was she. Kathy and, Colleen and her had been kindergarten project partners. They were both now juniors in high-school. Currently, Colleen was attempting to get Kathy to out for her boyfriend's birthday party. "Mom and Dad-"

"What? They said no? Come on. You don really care about that, do you? Just slip out your window. It never latch right." Colleen protested. Colleen was very persuasive. "Matt means-"

"Means the world to you, I know, I know. I'm not a fisherman." Kathy said, rolling her eyes. Silence. She could all but feel the confusion over the phone.

"Uh...what?"

"Call, I'm not a fisherman."

"I know you're my best friend who-"

"Who, after the pregnancy scare with Owen, needs to keep her head down. My house is still a battlefield. Like I said, not a fisherman. So, stop trying to sell me fish. You could. That's how you normally are. At convincing me to do something dumb." Colleen laughed at this. It was true. colleen did the talking, Kathy...got caught. It'd been like that forever. She was so good, that Colleen could sell fish to a fisherman, even while the fisherman was fishing. that was how she always thought of Colleen. Such a great speaker.

"But that was a month ago!"

"They grounded me for three months. I can't go anywhere or, it could be six, they said."

"How did they know you would try to sneak out?"

"Oh, no. That's not what I meant. I meant that, if I try to sneak out, or do anything else wrong...they said I'd be stuck in my room for six months. Besides, I feel bad. I hated disappointing them." The fight that'd followed had been terrible. As was the fallout. They couldn't believe that their little girl could be out doing such things. "I won't go, Call. Sorry."

"BARK, BARK, BARK...GRRRR...BARK, BARK,..GRRR...BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK!"

"Hang on, Cali." Kathy said, turning the phone over so Colleen couldn't hear what she was about to do. "Smeegle, SHUT UP!" She flipped the phone back over. "Sorry bout that."

"Forgiven. Twice." Colleen sounded dejected.

Kathy could hear it in Colleen's voice. "I'll see what I can do. but I won't sneak out." Kathy warned. She had to hold the phone away from her ear as Colleen squeed. "Hey!"

"I know, I know. You probably won't be able to but, least you're gonna try, right?"

There came a knock on Kathy's door. "Kat, time for bed." Kathy's Father called.

"Oh, damn! Call, I gotta go."

"Okay. Talk soon."

"For sure." They exchanged goodbyes and, hung up. Kathy checked her pale blue blue glowing alarm clock. Eleven thirty. Kathy winced. "Sorry, Dad," Kathy said as she opened the door. Her Father smiled. Oliver William Wells owned his own law firm, based in Concord. Kathy worshiped her Dad. And, her Mom, Tamera Sophia Wells. Concord General's head nurse. Her Brother, Patrick Daniel Wells must have been in his room. He wanted to be a video game designer. Given the state of his grades, Kathy had her doubts.

"Colleen, eh?"

"Yeah. We lost track of time, sorry."

Kat, it's okay. But, it is late. Six thirty comes early. Just a warning."

"I know, Dad." Her Dad was about six feet tall, curly blonde hair cut in a short business like cut. His eyes, like her brothers, were green. Kathy's eyes were blue. She was five ten but, her Mom was five four. Her Mom had blue eyes, brown hair, her brother had brown hair, green eyes. He stood six one. It was a crazy mix of genetic makeup. Least t Kathy dashed into the bathroom did her nightly business and, went back into her room, as her Dad had gone back to his room. She fell asleep, wondering how to ask the dreaded question, how to ask for one night of freedom from her incarceration. The stupid alarm clock woke her up way too early. She grumbled to herself. Then rose, groaning.

A knock interrupted her grumbles. "Kathy, are you up, hon?"

As Kathy opened her door, from somewhere downstairs, within the confines of this large house, Raven, the family nanny, yelled, "Tamara! Your dog's trying to hump the dumplings again!" Kathy heard her Mother sigh and call the dog to her. And, she heard her say she was lettling him stay outside tonight. Smeegle was Kathy's brothers pit bull.

It was her Mom. "I'm u- OW! I'm up!" She called, barking her left big toe on metal desk chair leg. Wondering how she'd pluck up the courage to ask. She went to the bathroom. There wasn't anything better than taking a nice, long, hot shower. She loved her house, always had. her parents too. Even if they could be a pain sometimes. After using the toilet, brushing her teeth, shaving and, otherwise primping for the day, she put on her favorite light blue blouse, white dress pants and, matching shoes, plating her hair in her usual high french braid, and, putting some light makeup on, she came out of the bathroom to find her Brother. "All yours." Kathy chirped, beaming. She flounced downstairs.

"Damn it, Kathy. Why can't you put your wet towel in the hamper?"

ignoring her two years younger Brother's exasperation, Kathy went down the large spiral staircase, greeting her and her Brother's Nanny on the way by. "Good morning, Raven."

"Well, aren't you chipper." Raven, a stocky woman in her fifties, grinned as Kathy turning into the long, rectangular dinning room.

"Well, as the cheer leading Captain of the yellow birds, not to mention the girlfriend of the football captain of the same team, I gotta have plenty of...pep." Kathy said over her shoulder as she waled into the large room, where her Dad sat at the head of the table that seated a dozen. He was in his work clothes. A black three piece suit and, dark red tie.

"Morning, Kathy."

"Morning, Dad, Kathy smiled as she seated herself at her Dad's elbow. She loved this room. A high dark wood ceiling, three crystal and iron chandeliers, hung from the selling, dark paneled wooden walls, a large river stone fireplace was set into the wall farthest to the left of the room. It was the best room in the house. Each of the chairs had a dark red cushion on both the seats and, the backs. She loved the wood paneled floor, which matched the walls. The great silver swan in the middle of the long table was so pretty too. Raven came in and placed her breakfast down in front of her. Eggs, toast, orange juice and, two strips of bacon. The eggs were over easy. Her favorite. She smiled up at Raven. "Thanks, Raven. I appreciate it." As she looked up at the oil painting of her own Mother, hanging over the fireplace, then out at the rose bushes through the large picture window at the head of the room, Kathy tried to gather her courage to ask her Dad if she could go to the party. She ate first then, asked, "Dad? can I ask you a question?"

A thin, golden eyebrow lifted over the rim of his coffee coup. "Another one you mean?"

Kathy smiled nervously. Did he have to be the lawyer, the word player, all the time? Every time? She deliberated then, she went for broke. "Dad, can you tal to Mom?" She asked.

"About?"

"Well, I know that my pregnancy scare was-"

"Morning, Dad." Kathy's Brother said, breezing in and sitting down on Kathy opposite side of the table. She glared across the table at him. He just looked confused.

"Here you go." Raven said, coming in with a strawberry smooth and, a few slices of french toast. as he poured syrup on the slices, Kathy's Mother waked into the dining room.

"Glad you got up, Kat." Smeegle whom walked downstairs with Kathy's Mother and, went into the living room. On the way to his food dish in the kitchen, he lifted his tail and, farted.

"Kathy wanted me to talk to you, dear." Kathy's Father interjected. He looked mildly interested.

"About what?" Kathy's Mother asked, the same expression on her face. Though, it was also obvious that she knew why.

"I don't know, dear. I heard something about a pregnancy scare. Then, everybody made with a family reunion."

"Oh?"

Kathy rolled her sky blue eyes. "Well, it's been almost two months since I was grounded."

"And the agreement was three." Her Dad said.

"Instead of what I wanted, six."

"MOM! Com on. I've learned my lesson after two. Please. I wanted to go to the party tonight." This last just spilled out of her mouth in a mad rush. Like a stampede of scared cattle.

"Party?" Kathy's Mom asked. Somewhere far in the living room of the house, the dog farted. Everybody both heard and, ignored it.

"Party?" Kathy's Brother asked.

"Oh yeah. She mentioned a party of some sort too." Kathy's Dad mused, folding his nwspaper in half. He lay it on the tabletop. That meant, he was getting ready for a fight. "Continue."

"I just think...I've learned my lesson." Kathy muttered. She knew that she couldn't win a reasoned debate She had never been able to.

"No."

"I agree, Tamara. the agreement of the punishment was three months, rather than six. I know you have learned your lesson however...we can't trust that right now."

"Fine!" Kathy snapped and dashed out of the dining room. She snatched her jacket, her backpack and, went to wait for the bus. They knew she'd wanted something. Stupid Mom, saying no like that. When the bus pulled up, Kathy boarded it. She found Colleen making out with Garret in the back and, sat in the seat in front of them. "They said no."

"There was a sucking sound then, "Really, Kath?"

"Yeah." Kathy grumbled, not turning to face Colleen.

"Hey, so what. Just sneak out." Garrett said, grinning. Kathy put her book bag on the seat next to her and, folder her arms over her stomach. "I'd be grounded for a year. Idiot."

The bus stopped at a house and, Own Raymond Blackstone got on, Kathy waved him over to her. Own was a six foot two dark haired, hazel eyed hunk. He gave his winning smiled and strode over. As he sat, he reached behind him nad, bumped fists with his line backer. "How are ya, Garrett? Sup, Call, Kat? What's up? You look pissed. Parents again?"

"Mom's being a bitch. But, what do you expect."

"she's pissed...and so am I...that she can't come to the party tonight."

"Oh, that's not a problem. They invented windows for a reason." Own smiled. For Kathy, his smile was always infectious. She smiled back helplessly.

"Own, you know I can't do that. I told you."

"Yeah, they'd ground you until you're eighteen."

"Owen, I got my Dad's vintage viper." Garrett grinned.

"I thought you said you got us a limo."

"About that...I...uh-"

"Oh, here it comes. Again." Colleen's dark hair danced in front of her gray eyes as she turned her head at top speed to glare at Garrett, rather than towards Kathy. "You're a tease!"

"Oh, I forgot to mention that my Dad needs it tonight. He has to drive the Kings down to some fancy ass thing in Boston. Whatever."

"It'll be fine. A viper's just a good. Garr, I can't believe you guys finished it." Owen grinned eagerly.

"It's been over two months. And, there wasn't much to do to it when we bought it from the salvage yard in Norris."

"You went to Vermont without me?" Colleen pouted.

"Only for a Sunday drive with Dad, yeah. We'll still go."

"Fine." Colleen pouted. "First my friend can't come now, no limo."

"I'll make it up to you." Garrett said, smiling in his lop sided way. Charmed, in spite of herself, they started making out again. Afterwards, Colleen turn back to Kathy. "It's alright."

"I'm really sorry." Kathy felt like dog shit, squished under a motorcycle boot.

"I still say you should sneak out. I went through that window. You can." Owen beamed.

"That's why I got into trouble in the first place." But, Kathy was only teasing. Her outrage over the event had cooled by now. That had been replaced with depression over disappointing her friends. The school bus ambled over hte roads and, finally into the high school's parking lot. Kathy jind the milling mass as they walked into the school together.

"Please, Kat? Sneak out." Colleen tried once more at lunch.

Kathy felt like her brain had been rung out like a sopping sponge. "I told you that I can't. I hate disappointing you but, I don't want to risk being grounded anymore than I am."

"But-"

"Call, I lvoe you but, I can't. please drop it."

"Okay." They got their food, and, sat down. A couple mintues later, Owen and, garret, still chatting excitedly about the viper, sat with them. "Hey, Kat, you in? Sneaking out yet"

"Drop it, Garrett." Colleen said, sullenly. Kathy gave her another apologetic look, which Colleen ignored.

Kathy went through the rest of the day with a dead weight in her heart. Cheering practice went well though. She kicked Kelly off of the team. She'd sneezed, tumbling the pyramid. As dusk took over the day, she got off of the late bus, and walked back up her front walk. She still felt bad. What would she do? If she ninja-ed out, she'd be grounded. If she didn't, Colleen might not ever forgive her. She could tell Colleen was pissed. Though, she wouldn't say it. As she went into her large square home, she pondered. She waved at Raven's greeting and, turned down a snack. She went to her room. Sitting in there, on her bed, she came to a decision. "Fuck it." She muttered. I would.

"Kathy!" Raven's voice.

She looked at her clock. Six forty five. Well, oops. It was already dinner time. "Coming!" Kathy called. Other than some small talk, dinner was virtually silent. Kathy's Mother tried to make conversation and, apologize for keeping to her guns. but, Kathy was the one who violated the house rules. Kathy just focused on her fried chicken and, scalloped potatoes. After the dinner was eaten, Kathy returned to her room. Her guts were jumping up and, down. Writhing like electrified snakes. She shouldn't do this. When everybody was in bed, she carefully opened her window and, ducked through it. She climbed down the tree outside her window and, sprinted across the yard. She'd kept the clothes she'd worn that day on. Mostly, because, she'd not planned to actually do this. Her cell vibrated just then. Luckily, it was in her jacket pocket. And, not buzzing away on her night stand. Her Dad or, Mom might have gotten suspicious over why somebody was calling her while she was supposedly asleep. Or, doing homework. "what?"

"You did it?" Colleen asked happily, upon Kathy's answering her cell.

"Yeah. I hate myself for doing this." Kathy hissed as she jogged down the block.

"where are you?"

"Past the Watson house."

"We'll get you." Colleen replied.

"Call?" She'd hung up already. Soon, headlights bloomed in front of her. It was a vintage viper. Midnight blue and, Kathy had to admit, re modeled beautifully. Owen opened the rear most door and, Kathy got in. They slowly turned around in the Brown's yard and, coasted down the street. "Oooh...fuck. I can't believe I did that, Call." Kathy almost groaned.

"Come on! We're on our way to a party!" Garrett laughed, turning to face Kathy. This would be an issue, aside from that fact that Garrett was the one driving.

"Watch the road, dumb ass!" Colleen yelled in panic. She was not good with real fear, as she called it.

It turned out that there was a party. Jack Peterson, the son of a local foreman for Greenwood. A construction company, which had several bases all over the U.S. Kathy didn't have much fun at the party at first, until somebody gave her a fruity tasting drink. After two more of the drinks, she realized...she was buzzed. Holy shit. This party had alcohol. Cool, she thought. Before she knew it she was dancing with her shirt off and, several others at the party were having just as good of a time indulging in many similar behaviors. Then, Owen had a great idea. Kathy didn't hear what it was. The music was speaking to her. And, it was loud. She wondered back over and curled around Owen. Grinning.

"Yeah, man, lets open it up. See what it can do!" Garrett was yelling over the music.

"Right!" Owen yelled back. "Wanna go for a ride, babe?"

"NO! I wanna stay." Colleen protested.

"What's going on?" Kathy asked over the music in her turn.

"They want to go for a ride, even though they have had enough booze to float a barge!" Colleen screamed over the throbbing beat.

"Ridding sounds fun." And, Kathy tugged on Owen's belt. Colleen grabbed her wrist.

"How bout we stay away from the public nudity for now?" Colleen asked sardonically.

"Awww, come on, Babe! Loosen up a little bit more." Garrett passed Colleen another red plastic cup.

"Yeah! This IS a party!" Owen said. He started to move to the music.

"Well, I guess your'e right." Colleen said. She down the contents of the cup. After another hour of hanging out, Kathy started to get a head ache. She grabbed her head, wincing.

"Woah! Incoming vomit comet!" jack warned. Jack's girlfriend giggled.

Sure enough, Kathy puked all over the couch. Everybody cheered. Somebody gave her another drink. "No, no. I just wanna go home. She said. Colleen staggered over toward Kathy and, hugged her. Kathy patted her awkwardly on the top of her head. "Can we just go home now. I had fun. But, it's time to go." Kathy mumbled, her words sloppy. "food?"

"Alright. Get her home. Hell, I was wondering, if you could take George over there too." Owen finally nodded.

They carried a passed out George to the car, folded him in the middle of the back seat, followed by Colleen, then, Kathy. Another guy asked, "Uh...hey, catch a rid with you, dude?"

"Who are you?" Owen asked.

"Tyler. I need a ride." Garrett nodded, before getting in the car. Tyler climbed into the back stet, This put Kathy folded up on the floor of the car. between the front and, back seat. When Owen and, Garrett got in, they pealed out of Jack's driveway. "Viper, eh? Ya know what I say? Lets open her up, man." Tyler howled. Garrett grinned drunkenly. Grinning.

"Oh FUCK YEAH!." As the girls exchanged, what would have been nervous looks had they been sober, they giggled in unison. Own laughed wildly. Garrett stamped hard on the gas.

Ron was back on the shoulder of the road. Sleep had done him good. Compared to last night, now, he was bright eyed and, bushy tailed. It was forty three minutes into his shift when his car shook at the impact of a car. It hadn't hit him, it went by so fast that he could barely see it. And, it'd rocked his cruiser. "Holy fuck!" He exclaimed. he snatched up his radio. "Unit three to unit one? I repeat, unit three to unit one." He bellowed into his radio as he gave chase to the car. They had to be doing triple digits. "Holy shit."

"This is unit two, unit three. Unit one can't come to the mic right now, far as I know. He's arresting a crazy who pissed in somebody rose garden. Come back."

"Tell him I need him to set up a roadblock or, something. There's a car full of kids travelling at high speed down route four. If they ain't stopped, they will kill somebody."

"Be advised, unit one will be informed, unit three."

Angela Haney, and her two kids, were coming back into New Hampshire after a day of visiting with her Mother. Her husband Malcolm, was still at work. He owned his own comic book store and, wrote them also. She was thinking what a genius he is and, how she could not wait to get her three and, six year old to bed. So her and, Mal could have some alone time. Suddenly, she peered harder out of the minivan's wind shield. Were those...lights? The kids were fine strapped in. If they were, she wondered what those lights were. Not a police cruiser. Well, if it did turn out that they were lights, she just swerve and, avoid them The kids would be safe. Though, what if some one needed help?

"Man, I'm getting a little light headed. Starting to effect me, dude." Owen complained.

"Here all ya gotta do is drink more." Garrett smiled, pulling out a flask, taking a pull then, passing it over to Owen.

"Isn't this great, Kat!?" colleen laughed. "Yeah!The highway is open to us!" Then, she rolled down the window and, hung her head out of it, like a dog in heat. "WOOO!" She screamed.

Ron watched as girl suddenly pop out of the car he was currently chasing, and flashed the highway. Well, good, he decided. At least I can nail them now on a D.U.I and, indecent exposure. Out of nothing though, he saw light coming straight at the car he was pursuing. All of his blood fell out of his face, in tandem with he heart settling some place around his ball sack. "Oh dear god." He breathed. It was a car coming from the other way. Ron hadn't noticed then but, both he and, the offending vehicle were driving on the wrong side of the road. Another thing Ron noted, it was lucky that, at this time of night, this part of the highway was mostly quiet. Because, that viper was fucking omnipresent.

Angela watched a girl popped out of hte back window of the car, she could clearly see it was a car at this close distance, and flashed the highway. The car was all over the road too. Every time Angela tried to evade the speeding car, it'd come back on her side. meanwhile they were getting closer, and closer. Panic began to fill her mind. She tried slowing.

Normally, Ron loved to scare kids whom got drunk and drove or, sped by just following them ohm to their parents house and, issuing them a ticket i their front yard. Not tonight. He turned on his bar lights and, picked up his radio receiver. he turned it on intercom. It projected his voice over a loud speaker so he could speak to the speeding car directly.

Angela heard a voice speaking to the car weaving all over he road.

Garrett took another drag off of the flask as they all heard a voice.

Ron was getting closer to the car now. They must have been moving upwards of ninety. He was too late. As he went to speak to the offending car, it reached the mini van. All hell broke loose. The viper slammed into the mini van with explosive force. The sounds of ripping metal, screams, shattering glass and, sundering families rent the night. Ron knew, KNEW he should have gotten here faster than this. Forgetting he was still on the intercom, he started bellowing into the his receiver, as he stopped his cruiser. "WE NEED THE WORKS DOWN HERE!" Realizing he was projecting to the highway, he switched to radio only and, spoke again. ""This is unit three, dispatch. I have been witness to a horrific car crash out here. We need it all. I repeat, send the works. Jaws of life, ambulances, fire crews, possibly even medi-vac. Also, I need back up. All of you." Ron's cruiser had skidded to a haul just yards from the collision. He would hear flames snapping up from underneath the minivan, and kids waling. Ominously, that was all. He ran over.

"MOMMY!"

"MOMMY!"

"Help!"

The kids. Ron dashed, first, over to the car. The girl whom had been hanging out of the window, flailed her arm out of the wreck. He grasped it and, the other arm cam out, he grasped that also. The girl came out of the hte back of the car car utterly untouched. Besides a small scrape on her pale cheek. though, he reflected, you really could not call it a car anymore. He tugged gently on the girl, nothing happened. She was stuck fast. "Let me get you under the arms." he said, grunting with effort as he adjusted himself.

"Okay." The girl said dazedly. She reeked of vodka. There was something else under the smell. but, Ron didn't know what it was. The smell of gas was so strong. He had to get these kids free yesterday. Applying careful pressure, Ron began extricating girl out of the vehicle. He stumbled back abruptly, she came free unexpectedly. "Woah! The fuck!?"

Colleen looked into the officer's kind, kind eyes for a few moments. She didn't remember what she said but, suddenly, she was sleepy. She wanted a nap. she closed her eyes and, drifted off to dreamland. She dreampt of the great time she had with Kathy. Kathy was her best friend. She loved Kathy. She tried to love everybody. Finally she drifted deeper.

The girl had closed her eyes. Utterly confused, he realized that she'd gone to sleep. Before she had though he thought she'd said, "Where's the rest of me, Officer?" Puzzled, he looked and, regretted it. From just below the girl's breasts, there was no more girl. Just a long, thick, wet rope of grey and purple intestine. Her legs were still in the car wreck.

From a long distance away, he could hear the sirens approaching. Ron's training kicked in. He lay the top half of the girl down and, went to check on the kids. They were badly injured too and, their Mother...he checked for a pulse...dead. That was obvious, due to the steering wheel that had been caving in her chest cavity. One of the kids had a broken arm and collar bone. The other had strawberry milkshake in her hair and, was knocked out cold. head injury then. They were both cut badly by broken glass. But, they'd survive. How they'd cope, loosing their Mom...he had no clue one. As people began to arrive, and, swarm in on the totaled car, he pointed out the kids and began helping on road flair duty. he did not want to see what was in that car. Not after what he had already seen. Shockingly, a girl was brought out of the mess having a massive seizure..

"Ron, what happened here?" Wallace wanted to know.

"I uh...the viper was speeding and, the minivan-"

"Ron, you need to go home. Don't tell me anything. just write up a report and, i'll see you tomorrow. This is not your fault. Certainly nothing to eat your gun over."

That was their code for you need to see a shrink, man. Ron nodded and, let unit two's deputy Hornblower take him home. For that girl in the car, it'd be rough. Life. He began crying.

Tamara was sick and tired of people being sick and tired. That's all anybody ever was in a hospital. Sick, those were the patience, and tired. The staff. She was just filling some paper work when a disaster call came in on the E.R radio. "Concord General, we have a disater one, I repeat a disaster priority level one. M.V.A with catastrophic injuries."

Tamara ran over to the radio, getting there before another nurse, Nona White, could and hit the green answer button. "E.T.A?" She asked urgently..

"Eight. Number of victims, also eight."

A priority one was normally reserved for something like a huge chemical spill, around here. Or, a massive gas leak. Like the time the sewer exploded. What could be priority one about a car crash? Did a tanker roll over? No. They would have to report a chemical spill. Even from a tanker. Then, it hit her. Human waste. As in body parts and, other things. Blood and organs. They wouldn't know if the people were H.I.V so, they would have to warn the hospital about an accident that'd involved dismemberment of any kind.

"Tamara?" Nora asked.

"Okay..." Tamara replied slowly. I hope you have not had dinner, people. We have a crash coming in which involves human waste. Lets move! Gear up!" The whole E.R did. When those doors flew open, Tamara was not prepared for what she saw. they brought Kathy in first. her Daughter, having a wild seizure. Bucking and hitching and kicking. that was bad. That meant a severe head injury. Just about as bad as you could go. Then, they brought Colleen in. In two separate pieces. Her lower half had been totally crushed. Then, two boy Tamara had not met face to face before. She knew them by name though. George and, Tyler. D.O.A. then, Garrett, D.O.A. finally they brought in Owen. Most of his skull was missing. D.O.A. A woman was brought in, her chest had been crushed by a steering wheel. And, two injured kids. They were walking wounded. But, putting up a fuss about wanting their mommy. Kathy. Covered in blood and glass. Her little girl. They had to life flight her to Boston. She under went over dozen facial and brain surgeries. Tamara went with her after her s seventeenth operation, to M.A Eye And Ear Infirmary. That was when Tamara and, Oliver were told. Kathy was totally blind.

It had been gradual but, Kathy kept complain that she could not see or, that it was dark when it hadn't been. Then she'd lost her sight all together. No light. nothing. The specialist at Eye And Ear had told Kathy's parents that it would not ever return, her sight. Kathy wanted to know, how she'd survived when everybody else in the car, her boyfriend, her best friend nad, her other friends, had all been killed. Not to mention that poor Mother. Apparently, like you would under water, Kathy was in the right spot and, was in an area right in the center of the car, on the floor. When the car had hit the mini van, it curled around Kathy like a cocoon. Killing the others but, preserving her own life. The kids in the other car, the minivan, had a rare feature o said minivan protecting them. Air bags. Installed in the backs of the front seats. Their Mother's did not deploy in time. it had happened too fast. Kathy listened to her Mother telling her all of this as she lay in her hospital bed in Boston. Utterly numb. She wondered, why her? Why'd she survived?

The time passed and, Kathy was able to go home, finally. When she got there, she told her Mother that she wanted to go see her friends. Their resting places. Reluctantly Tamara agree. The whole family went. Kathy just stared at the graves of her friends. Wondering why? I didn't hit her until she got home, and, called Colleen. Her Mother answered. "Oh, I'm sorry to bother you Ms Brown but, uh...is Colleen available?" But, Ms. Brown told her no. She wasn't. in. "Oh, she's probably out with Garrett. Tell her I called?"

"Honey," Ms Brown began then, stopped. "Yes, I;'ll tell her." They hung up.

The next day, Kathy wondered why her Mom felt the need to hold her hand and guide her all over. She could walk. She went to the store and, got some chocolate milk for Colleen. Suddenly though, the world seemed to swirl around her. She fell right there in the fridge isle of the Super-Mart and, started sobbing uncontrollably. Not know why she did.

It sounded like Kathy was just screaming at first then, Tamara got it. She would never forget those screams. "Mam, can I help you?" A fussy clerk demanded of Tamara.

"My Daughter just lost her friends in a car crash. leave us alone!" Tamara snapped. Tamara turned back to her screaming Daughter. She wouldn't forget those words either.

"COLLEEN! COLLEEN! COLLEEN! WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME! COLLEEN, COLLEEN, COLLEEN! OH, GOD! WHAT DID I DO!? COME BACK! I'M SO SORRY! COLLEEN! COLLEEN! COLLEEN!"

Tamara knelt in the puddle of milk. Hugging Kathy to her. "Oh, honey. Shsh...shshs...it's okay. You're alright now. Tamara began to cry too. As she and her Daughter sat in a puddle of milk at the Super-Mart. A few weeks after that, the news was brought to a barely functioning, nearly suicidal, Kathy. She'd be attending Perkins School For The Blind.

Arrangements had been made. Pebble was on her way.