Too Late to Slow Down by Jack Farquharson

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Hell found me. Well, maybe that is not the right way to put it. Maybe I sought Hell out; I certainly made sure that I lit a flare, ensuring it didn't miss me on the way past!

I was standing by the graveside, only vaguely aware of the other people around me; and boy were there other people around me. No surprise. She was amazing, and people loved her. I mean, over three hundred people had come along on our wedding day, and I reckon only forty or so of them were there to see me.

On one level, all of these things were running through my head, yet on another level, I was rapidly coming apart. I could see that the priest was speaking, saying the rituals, but I couldn't hear any of the words. It was as if a marching band had gotten into my head and was beating out their rhythms on my ear drums. Nausea was sweeping through me and my eyes were clouding over. Was I going to pass out and find release from the torment? I tried clenching my fists, hoping the pain of burnt flesh from beneath the bandages would keep me upright.

I closed my eyes to try and block out reality, but succeeded only in turning on the video recorder in my memory banks.

****

I surfaced to consciousness, upside down in the car, my head against the roof, and the safety belt digging painfully into my neck. There was broken glass everywhere, and the smell of petrol was strong in my nostrils. Groggy still, I tried to turn and see if Kelly was okay. The angle I was at prevented me from moving far enough to see anything.

"Kelly," I called out, "are you alright?"

Nothing.

Worry immediately lanced through my fuzzy mind, bringing my senses sharply together.

"Kelly," I called louder this time.

Still nothing.

I reached for the safety belt's clasp, and unclipped it, which caused me to slip further onto the roof. I could feel the glass digging into my face and shoulders, but didn't care. I needed to check on Kelly. I managed to turn myself enough to see her. Like I had been, she was wedged against the roof, and also seemed tangled in the passenger safety belt. There was no movement, but I could see a lot of blood on her face, and this made me panic.

"KELLY!" I shouted this time, as I felt for the door handle behind me.

I heard her moan, just as my hand reached the handle and pulled, causing me to tumble out of the car and onto the grass of the field we had ended up in. I scrambled to my feet, wincing as pain lanced through my body. Nothing seemed too serious though, as I stumbled around the back of the car, to the passenger side. The engine was still running, and the smell of petrol was getting worse. As I moved around the back of the car, I saw the gaping hole in the hedge-row, and beyond, the black lines of burnt rubber.


I had tried to brake in time, tried to slow the car as the bend came upon me suddenly.

"JOHN," Kelly screamed as I lost control, skidding towards the kerb, and the hedge beyond. She grabbed hold of my arm as the car bounced up off the kerb, and flipped as it sailed towards and through the hedge.

The car landed on its roof, and upon impact I lost consciousness.


Funny, as I looked towards the car again, I could see the wheels still spinning slowly, as though the car had not yet come to a halt.

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