Monday, September 26, 2011

Car Crash

All Bryce remembered was the sound of screeching wheels and the smell of something burning. The next thing he knew, he was surrounded by lots of noises and lights. He could hear voices coming from a distance, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying.

With difficulty, he opened his eyes. Sitting beside his bed was a pale woman with large, sad eyes. She cocked her head at him.

“Are you all right?” she asked, her voice barely more than a whisper.

“I’m not sure yet,” Bryce answered, “What happened?”

“You were in an accident.”

“Where am I?”

“Canary Bridge Hospital.”

“And, um, who are you?”

The woman beside him smiled, though she still had that same sad look in her eyes. “I was driving the other car.”

“Was anyone hurt?”

“What was that?” asked a man in white scrubs, who had just entered the room.

“What was what?” Bryce asked.

“What were you saying?”

“I was talking to the lady,” said Bryce, gesturing to the woman beside him.

The doctor looked puzzled. “What lady?”

“What do you mean, ‘what lady’? She’s right here!” Bryce looked to the woman for help.

“You asked if anyone was hurt,” she said softly, “I was. But, please, don’t blame yourself. It wasn’t your fault.”

She got up and walked out of the room. The doctor didn’t even glance at her, but kept his concerned gaze on Bryce.

“She just left – she walked right past you! – didn’t you see her?” Bryce said desperately.

“There is no woman,” said the doctor, “But don’t worry, you’ve just received a head trauma, and after such an injury seeing things is not uncommon. But you were not seriously hurt, these hallucinations shouldn’t last. Let me know if you see anything else unusual.”

“Doctor, was anyone seriously hurt in the accident?” Bryce asked.

The doctor hesitated. “Well….”

“Someone was killed?”


“A woman?”

“Well, yes. But the accident was not your fault.”

“Yes, I know, she told me.”


Bryce stopped, realizing what he was saying. “Nothing,” he said, “I just… I’m not thinking clearly.”

“Get some rest,” the doctor recommended, “You’ll be all right.”

Bryce closed his eyes, but he didn’t feel all right. He couldn’t get the image of that woman out of his head. She had looked so real, so solid. And her words echoed in his head: “You asked if anyone was hurt. I was. But please, don’t blame yourself. It wasn’t your fault.”

Had he really just been forgiven by the woman he had killed?


Three days later, Bryce was out of the hospital and feeling much better. He had even (almost) convinced himself that the woman who had spoken to him had been nothing more than the creation of an injured head. He had promised the doctor that he would come in if he saw anyone else who wasn’t there, but he was intent that he would not see any such person.

He went home to his empty apartment, throwing his keys down on the table by the door. The phone was on that same table, but no message light was blinking. No one had called. There was no one to call.

Upset, but trying, as usual, not to think about it, Bryce started down the hall to the kitchen. A noise coming from that direction caused him to pause. The sound came again, no mistaking it – someone was in his apartment.

Balling his hands into fists, Bryce continued on to the kitchen, taught and ready. He had gone to college on a boxing scholarship, and had no doubt he could take care of himself, but he still felt worried. How had someone got in? There had been no sign of a break-in.

He peered into the kitchen and stared, appalled, at the sight that greeted him: A man, probably not much older than twenty, was in his kitchen, casually making a sandwich.

The young man looked up from his sandwich. “Hullo,” he said, “What are you doing in my house?”


Today's Novel Idea Prompted by: Umm... it was about getting into an accident and suddenly being able to see ghosts. I wrote it a while ago, and I don't remember what the promt was, or where it came from... sorry O.o

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