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[CCHWC] Alive

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posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 08:22 PM
The car had come off the road in near whiteout conditions twelve kilometres northeast of Fort William. The bend in the road had looked seductively easy to navigate and thus the driver had not seen the granite boulder, buried just under deep snow close to the side of the road. The car had skidded as it took the bend, striking the obstruction dead centre, impact sending it air born. It had come from a slight mistake in cornering that should not have been of such consequence but the combination of over speed, wide angle of approach because of the rear end sliding out, shared laughter between driver and passenger had proven to be a fatal mix of combinations.

A trivial mistake on the winding roads of the Scottish highlands in winter could often prove fatal.

The following three seconds consisted of the car windows exploding; a female squeal of stomach born horror and disbelief, a frantic battle with the brakes and steering wheel, and finally the unmistakable shriek of tearing metal and then more crunching glass as the car violently struck Terre firma, coming to rest in a snow blanketed field. The car had rolled over twice and then spun several times, stopping finally at a ninety-degree angle to the way it had come, driver’s side toward the incline… Then pain, searing and unrelenting with a penetrating intensity that went beyond anything previously experienced. It was a hurt to blaze through all human senses.

A young woman’s voice, beautiful as a ballad insistently repeating drifted soothingly, was lilting between undulating waves of sensory overload.

‘Wake up John, wake up now’.

He was dreaming of laughter of holding his wife and their two daughters under a hot summer’s sky, scorching sunlight on a South American holiday a year ago. His wife was fair haired, petite and slender barely five feet three inches and yet a dynamo of vigour, matched easily by his commitment to her, an unstoppable power he revelled in. ‘Oh god, wake up. I need you’. The voice was hers. It was edgy, insistent, and desperately foreign. The tone frightened him as years of life together; dealing proactively with upsets; the most distressing a near fatal bout of viral meningitis in a young daughter had proven her the cool one under pressure. He cherished Dominique for that and more. He was the proven hothead aircraft technician as she was a serene minded medical professional.

John opened his eyes and in that moment a terrible pain knifed at him, an acidic embrace that raged over a field of shredded nerve endings. He shrieked and bucked with the shock of it but was so unprepared for the intensity that the anguish caught in his throat. Thick fluid, sickly and metallic collected in his mouth and he choked. It was blood and the thought of internal bleeding, bubbling up his throat brought a sense of dread he had never felt before. Death smiled and bowed deeply before him from the periphery of his mind, pleased to have recognition, content to accept the invitation.

John groaned in his mind at this horrible vision and twisted his head to his left, struggling to gain control mentally and physically and noticed his wife glaring at him. Bright green eyes locked into his, curly golden hair cascading down her shoulders, partially obscuring a swollen and bruised face spattered with blood. Normally he loved to marvel at her face. Even after ten years, he would still catch himself looking attentively at the beauty of intense green eyes, high cheekbones, and delicate features. The damage of the crash done to her now forced John to refocus his mind, manifesting as a profound sadness. The horror of her injuries, seeing them lessening the searing nature of his own and thus he found the strength to speak.

‘What happened?’

Her eyes narrowed sternly into twin slits of glistening green, her stare becoming an accusing glare. ‘Do you remember that bend in the road I warned you about before we set off?’ You know the one, the one I pointed out to you on the sat-nav?’
‘Aye'. He remembered clearly. They had been sitting in front of an open fire laughing. He had kissed her.

‘Well honey you took that bend a little too wide, crashed the car into something hard and bounced us down here.’ The words brought him back from swirling recollections of love and heat, entering full consciousness. He looked around and noticed twisted car wreckage for the first time and a malicious highland chill. The roof had caved in. The end of one particularly invasive dent ended just inches from the left side of his head; a collapsed door column and then things went from horrible to abysmal. The windscreen was missing and the windows on the left side of the car smashed. The dashboard draped with white was a strangely comforting sight to know at least that the airbags had fired and deflated, job done. However, the passenger side airbag glistened with clear fluid and smeared blood.

Looking to the right, trying to grasp what had befallen them John realised then that there would be no help coming as the car had hurtled twenty metres down an embankment and already heavy snowfall was starting to cover the gouges in the frozen earth. The only sign of the cars last fateful journey. ‘You don’t do things by half John do you?’ She continued to stare at him, a frosty expression moving across her blood-streaked face as he struggled to assess the situation they had found themselves in due to his blunder. Returning her gaze added to the excruciating scream from his wounds. He felt tears start at his eyes, stream down his face; he did not attempt to stop them. His left arm was broken at the wrist and the other was throbbing urgently, probably broken too he surmised grimly. He tried hard not to focus on the fleshy pink nub of bone protruding from his left arm just above the outside of his wrist.

The car listed at a ten-degree angle toward the left and beyond Dominique was a narrow stream barely fifteen metres away. A thirst the like of which he had never known before welled up in him as he gazed into the shallow, slightly peaty water. Dominique’s eyes never left his, her gaze softening.

‘Babe you’re hurt!’

Her voice broke, trailed off. In that moment an abrupt pain in his legs, gripped John in a steel bear trap of agony, causing him to snap his head back against the headrest as wet heat flooded up into his stomach and chest.


[edit on 31-10-2009 by SmokeJaguar67]

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 08:22 PM
Though the outside temperature was sub zero, he was drenched in sweat thus reluctantly, guessing what he would find he followed his wife’s gloomy gaze down into the driver’s foot well. The surprise of fluid colour he saw there caused his vision to spool. To his astonishment and horror, the engine block had torn through the firewall and supports. The dislodged mass of metal had struck his legs just below the knees, driving them back, pulverising them into his seat. Shiny aluminium streaked with black oil and his torn flesh, crushed bone a grim verification of the severity of their situation. He had become a caterpillar, impaled and smeared by the cruel hand of fate. In that moment he assumed he was dying, a groan of utter torment hissed between clenched teeth.

Summarising his predicament he acknowledged that his legs were still there somewhere but they were smashed to useless pulp, and likely candidates for amputation. He could feel them abstractly as a swarm of pain gnawed undyingly at his mind, causing him to cry out occasionally and flex in his seat like a puppet. Having his injuries all but pointed out to him had not helped him to control or at least subdue the relentless throbbing. He began to sob, mourning with total abjection the death of his legs and inevitably, as hope and light faded, the cold air submerged him in a steely embrace he succumbed mercifully at last to unconsciousness.

‘Wake up. Death is tired of waiting. It’s coming love.’

John opened his eyes with a start, inhaling hard, knifing pain coming back as vision and hearing came back, related now, a dancing razor edged thing, cutting and dicing the corners of his mind with malicious abandon. It was evening, darkening and he was freezing. His body was broken and his mind was not far behind as it rode the spears of suffering from his feet to his chest. Up and down, he crested the waves of pain like a surfer, knowing if he fell; the agony would consume and devour him. He also knew that if he slipped into unconsciousness again there would be no further awakening just deaths icy, ultimate kiss, a kiss with a smile and a pat on the back for a job well done, two birds with one stone. Mentally John cursed the illusion as it formed in his mind, flicking it an illusory middle finger, rage welling up within him.

He looked to his left and Dominique was staring ahead over the twisted bonnet of their five series BMW. Her normally slightly tanned face was now so pale there was a bluish tinge to her skin, waxen. She looked to all intents and purposes, dead and John felt a surge of anguish take him with such force that his physical pain was so much more preferable to this sudden sense of total loss. Dominique his dearly loved wife of ten years and gorgeous mother to his seven-year-old twin daughters Alexandria and Cassandra whom they had left with Dominique’s parents down in Edinburgh. They had intended to spend a weekend in a highland log cabin in romantic and awe inspiring surroundings. ‘Don’t baby. I’m sorry, stay with me please’, he implored with a broken voice. ‘I did a bad thing I know it. I screwed up sure but please. I love you. I can’t be without you now, not now, not ever.’ The effort of words wracked him, caught in his throat, he forced them out.

He reached toward her with his left hand and found the movement clumsy and without coordination. His wrist bumped the gear stick and he paid the toll by having to suffer the vengeful complaints of his badly broken arm for what seemed like an eternity. He whispered her name and in that moment, she turned her face toward him, looked straight at him. The glow her gaze normally exuded had dimmed; her stare vaguely out of focus but John exhaled hard with relief and then wished he had not as his broken body was not prepared for it. The movement of relief that life still burned within Dominique caused sharp edged bone to rub against ruptured flesh. John gagged, inadvertently crunching molars down onto his tongue and he nearly passed out again.

‘You have to get help,’ Dominique gasped. ‘Once night comes, the temperature will drop like a stone and we won’t last much longer after that happens. The temperature is already below freezing as it is so the odds are already stacked against us.’ Her voice dropped into a throaty whisper and blood welled up at the corners of her mouth. She looked past him, indicated up the way they had come with a reverse nod of her head. Her eyes focusing on the near obscured tracks the car had made. Nobody would see them from the road and by the time, someone up on the road did notice them they would be dead from the cold, shock, or loss of blood. ‘I can’t even move, my legs are mashed, I’m pretty much trapped to boot,’ John protested. ‘If I move I think I might die’. The possibilities of biological toxins released from abruptly decompressed injuries were sudden nagging thoughts in his mind.

Dominique’s response was an abrupt and surprising flash of anger, her mouth twisting into a contemptuous sneer. She hissed with shocking vehemence, ‘If you try aye you might die sure, but if you don’t try you will definitely die and our children will be left without a father.’

‘Nique, I’m sorry I don’t know if I can’, John exclaimed wretchedly. I can’t remember where I stashed my damned phone. Where is yours?’

‘Outside I think along with nearly everything else that was in the car at the time you planted us in this field. No time to go looking now love.’ Irritation gave a hard and uncompromising edge to her voice. The tone intended to force John back to constructive thought. Her anger however fed his desolation instead, heaping itself on top of his excruciating injuries and he unexpectedly started to sob, his head dipping down onto his chest, hope lost, all but succumbing to relentless pain.

Dominique’s eyes gleamed, blinking in distress and her annoyance faded, eyes softening, fresh tears welling she focused with unbreakable force into his eyes, and then said flatly, almost matter of fact ’John my back is broken just below my shoulder blades. I can feel vertebrae grate every time I talk to you. The pain is much less then I would have expected. I think the cold is anesthetising me but I can’t move.’ She winced, breathed out hard, a frozen cloud of carbon dioxide breaching the space between them. ‘You have to do this or we leave our children orphaned’.

She stared harder into his eyes, nodding slightly by way of emphasis, directing a reassuring smile. There was no blame, no animosity just an unbending will to get at least one of them back to their daughters. She had already assumed it would not be her. John read a sense of grim acceptance in her smile.

‘Are you sure your back is broken?’ The question ended with a stream of blood and saliva spurting from his nose and mouth. He was fast running out of time.

‘I’m a surgeon honey, I’m not one hundred percent certain of course, but I’m pretty sure’. John locked her eyes with his and something primal passed between them; a mutual determination that they would fight, not to let this blackest of experiences go unchallenged. One of them would have to explain to the children how this event had unfolded. John knew he would have to live with the liability that it was his fault.

‘Give me a second love’, he groused, already digging deep into himself to muster the strength he would need to wage war against the waves of agony that would assault him once he started to move. His body had started to shut down after suffering for so many hours in bone numbing temperatures; it would not take his struggle to remain conscious very kindly.
‘I’m going to get the kitchen sink thrown at me; I hope my heart can take it. What do you reckon to my chances?’

Dominique simply looked at him her face angled down and to her right, golden curls, half covering her face one eye looking at him. In the fading light, John could see glistening tears at her cheek, drifting over caked blood. ‘You can do this, if you could have put up with my mood swings for so many years then see this is just a passing moment in time; A glitch in the matrix as they say.’
‘At last an apt time to use that very irritating Cohen brother’s catchphrase,’ John teased gently.
‘It had to come sometime you know.’ She beamed, gleaming teeth. ‘It was inevitable.’

He smiled back at her, though a smile devoid of any vestiges of humour. ‘I always love your many and varied moods Nique. I choose to see them as precious stones living in a velvet bag so hold onto that thought as I tear myself apart getting out of this damn car.’ He stopped, turned his head to her, and leaned slightly closer as far as he dared without incurring the wrath of his injured body. ‘You are right of course; we can’t stay here any longer.’

Dominique was chuckling softly under her breath. She abruptly coughed, winced, and repeated with incredulity, ‘precious stones living in a velvet bag. What a crazy man I married.’
‘You’ve seen nothing yet, Want to see crazy well baby watch this.’

The night peace was shattered as John howled in abject agony. He hurled himself sideways against the door and swore profusely, raged as the door refused to move. It seemed to be jammed as tightly as his legs were jammed by the section of engine wreckage. He elbowed the handle in frustration, felt broken bone give way under his skin and searing, indescribable pain race up his arm into his neck and shoulder to slice at his mind. Vision swam and he saw lights coalescing around him as he fought to stay conscious. He screamed and then vomited blood, but he would not, could not stop. He slammed the door several more times and maniacal laughter escaped him as the reviled obstruction made a metallic crunching sound before falling open. The gap was a beautiful, snowy thing. Heavens gates could not have looked more beautiful.

‘I love you Nique, I will get help you can count on it, wait here’,
‘Not going anywhere, silly man,’ an exasperated rolling of eyes her response.
‘Sorry’, John replied, his breath coming in ragged gasps. ‘By the way… I think I crapped myself. I couldn’t help it. Yep I definitely did.’

‘Always the sweet talker,’ Dominique whispered hoarsely, a smirk fleeting. John was at the final impasse, his legs. Here was where the pain, the great obstacle to freedom from their shattered prison would rake at his mind with acid blades, where the effort of physical movement could actually kill him but there was no turning back now. In his mind’s eye he could see his daughters, could see them all together. It would be a rough time when he and his wife would recover in wheel chairs, then on crutches and then to a time of rebuilding shattered bodies. He could see it all as he gathered his strength for the effort of tearing himself free from the accursed metal that had transfixed him for so long. In his mind, death laughed and cruelly ridiculed the notion with a dance, pointed to the severity of their situation, their brutal injuries.

‘Damn you, bring it,’ john hissed, his mind a stone.

John looked over his shoulder one last time as he angled himself for the assault and Dominique was smiling strangely at him. Even in the snow-shrouded gloom, he could see her eyes. They were proud and full of expectation, her skin lustrous, and teeth gleaming. Even so injured he noted that she was the most beautiful being on god’s earth. He beamed a broad smile back at her and then without another word or another moment’s hesitation, declared total war on the snow, his terrible agony, and the twenty metres of incline to the road above.

It took an hour to pull himself from the car. He had sacrificed himself, as he had to leave his legs behind, the effort of tearing himself from the wreckage, the defining moment of his whole life. His mind would never be the same again. The moment his legs had come apart from the car, breaking apart, tendons and ligaments popping like wet bacon, shattered bone separating from mangled connective tissue had been the moment something inside him had snapped. The snow had been a godsend, soothing a ferocious thirst. The snow, its icy embrace as he had fallen into it instantly soothed his misery but with every wrenching movement, he made with his wrecked arms to haul himself up the embankment he died a little. Climbing like a giant crushed insect up into bright moving light, he had promised her and he was a man of his word no matter the level of suffering. He would make amends for the mistake that had sent them hurtling off the road. He would be a better man, husband to her, and father to their children.

There was movement up there, headlights flashing above him periodically from right to left, the drones of car engines and splashing snow coming closer and then going away. Deep within John worried that another vehicle would make the same mistake he had made and come barrelling down the embankment and thus end him and his wife’s hopes. He struggled to keep this at the back of his mind as he dragged himself up to the crest of the embankment, eyes wide with expectation, mind awash with a new sense of hope that he would be rescued from this hell.
The moment he saw headlights blinding him, he experienced a near mystical level of rapture, a blast of relief of such magnitude he wept with the joy of it. Headlights flashed like suns coalescing, giving the illusion of heat to a man so sapped of his. Car doors opened, slammed shut, shadows moved towards him… John let a cry of sheer exhilaration escape him and then fell into oblivion, headlights transforming into sunlight that caressed his skin, sunlight blazing down from azure South American skies.

He opened his eyes as he felt index finger and thumb crushing his right ear lobe between them. A paramedic in green and yellow was looking down at him. She had friendly eyes, a concerned though reassuring look to her. ‘My wife, she’s still trapped in the car,’ John groaned. The medic looked away briefly as someone out of sight spoke to her. She returned her gaze back down to John, draped something over him. Others were coming up the embankment but he could not see details. His vision was blurred, his senses dulled and he assumed shock and loss of blood was having a detrimental effect on him.

He felt a sense of worry eat at him at the thought of it. ‘My wife; Will she be ok? He tried to focus his eyes but they had lost all sense of direction. The medic glanced away briefly. When she looked back, John knew something dreadful was coming his way. He did not need to focus his eyes to be able to read the body language of someone about to impart bad news. ‘Your wife was killed instantly. Her seatbelt, she was not strapped in, she went through the windshield on impact, I am so sorry’.

The words were hammer blows that reverberated through him like a vibration from a giant church bell, made his head feel like it would burst wide open.

‘No, no that can’t be. She was sitting next to me in the car. I was talking to her. She talked to me… Where is she?’ John lurched upward, using the last of his waning strength to attempt to wring the truth from deceiving lips and discovered to his disgust and disappointment that he was as feeble as a lamb. He screamed at the medic as he buckled, ‘you are lying, DONT LIE!’

The snow-capped world fell away around him, vision, and sound becoming fluid and disjointed, becoming one and nothing as pain faded, replaced by the black certainty of a mind bankrupted by grief. A world crushed by a sense of impossibility, of precious life, timeless love lost ultimately to blame and fatal error, morphine’s kiss a gracious release for a short time only. The future was suddenly a cavernous maw devoid of meaning or mercy, an eater of all wants, of all hopes. At the centre, death his mind-crafted illusion an unwelcome voyeur, a sadistic conductor of the game of games threw back a hooded head and laughed pure vitriol, total victory.

John recoiled, continued to withdraw further into his mind, a chimera of foetal positions and thumb sucking tumbling around his mind’s eye. The only certainty in a dark new world was his children’s love, all that was left of her. Darkness swarmed down on him, enveloped him and in the distance he could hear a helicopter coming closer, and then words, Dominique’s words came to him softly like a warm summer breeze through dazzling white linen, uplifting his spirit.

‘I love you. You did great, I’ll be waiting.’

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 03:02 AM
Wow this story is great !!!! I would vote this a winner. Good luck in the contest. I really loved this story. Magatice

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 06:12 AM
Thank you very much for your comment. I have to admit to feeling quite nervous about showing off one of my babies

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 08:45 AM
reply to post by SmokeJaguar67

OMG the pain! I could almost feel it, and I loved the ending, having started suspecting this was the case somewhere along the way.

Good entry. Fascinating story.

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 10:37 AM
Thank you. I was trying to keep the twist hidden for as long as possible but it became a bloated thing that became harder and harder to hide. it just would not stay under the manhole

I loved your own story BTW because I have a "thing" for the indigo theory

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 10:41 AM
reply to post by SmokeJaguar67

Great story SmokeJaguar67! Very well written and an awesome entry for the contest. I'm glad you decided to share this baby with us. I enjoyed it immensely. S+F is a no brainer man.

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 08:24 PM
I am glad to have made for interesting reading. I love to write but it is a personal thing that stems from the simple act of loving to create and explore a world that is totally mine. Peculiar I know but there it is and thank you all very much for the great comments.

I really appreciate it and such comments are an inspiration to me to make me want to write much more and share it – not something I tend to do when it comes to my created worlds.

posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 06:13 AM
reply to post by SmokeJaguar67

Hi again. Just wanted to make a couple more comments. First, I know a story is really good when it stays with me; as in I continue to think about it once I have finished it. This one did.

Two, in no way did your conclusion "jump out" at me. For some reason when I read a story I actively try to figure out the ending. I've done that since I was a child. Odd little quirk. I can tell you the moment it happened. It was, for some reason, when her lips were turning blue, and she kept expressing concern for her children. That's when it crossed my mind.

Anyway, just a thought. S&F'd it my first read, and thanks for commenting on Evacuation. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

[edit on 11/1/0909 by ladyinwaiting]

posted on Nov, 2 2009 @ 06:13 AM
reply to post by ladyinwaiting

The best feeling gained from writing I think is when the writer is informed that the story has stayed with the reader after the fact. That is a splendid feeling that has stayed with me and I am glad I posted this story rather than the story of hikers being hunted by a reptilian up in the highlands.

Take care

posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 12:29 PM
Your story was wonderfully descriptive. I loved that your monster was not a monster at all and how John showed the true potential of the will.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 02:58 AM
reply to post by Cameoii

I am glad you enjoyed it, thank you very much for commenting

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 11:16 AM
Hi. I'm new to ATS and wanted to come by and read the winner of the most recent contest. It was super! Competition runs high around here.

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 02:44 PM
Sorry to be so late in offering a well-deserved congratulations. Your story was magnificent! Well done!

posted on Mar, 26 2010 @ 07:48 AM
That was amazing...

It was so real, almost as though it was something you experienced. At times I felt the suspense just like in an action movie, you know, when you're eventually sitting on your haunches on the side of the couch... & then I cried. With certain phrases I giggled while the tears were damming up in my eyes.

Not once did I suspect the twist at the end....when the paramedic said that, I got chills up my right arm and my jaw dropped.

Amazing, just amazing.

posted on Mar, 26 2010 @ 08:07 AM
reply to post by jinx880101

I am really glad you enjoyed it and I should mention that to write my stories in the contemporary earth bound settings is quite rare as I really prefer to write science fiction, as racing between the bands of Saturn, skipping the churning clouds of Jupiter in a narrow slingshot before hurtling out to beyond the furthest edges of the solar system Is my preferred topic.

Even more so when I add a certain twist like - a human prototype star ship reaches the furthest edges of the solar system only to find that interstellar travel is forbidden because the solar system has been quarantined in ages past due to an inherent love of war among the regressive human.

Those stories are the ones that really float my boat.

Have a great day, stay safe and once again thank you for the inspiring feedback (oh no, urge to write coming on)

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