Word Count 501
By Anne Nassar
He wouldn’t tell them anything. So, they guessed: he was a teacher from the city, and he had a nagging wife who wouldn’t put out. He had a small dog that he around carried under his arm. He tried to laugh it off, but he couldn’t figure out why they’d ascribed this sad life to him. Instead of two shots of Southern Comfort, he had three. The extra alcohol had a profound effect.
He knew that he shouldn’t drive home, but he didn’t want to ask for a ride. He didn’t want anybody knowing where he lived, and he didn’t want his wife knowing where he drank. After driving a few miles, his eyelids got heavy. He slapped himself in the face, and dug his nails into the skin of his forearm. Nevertheless, he was asleep when he hit the kid
The force of the impact snapped his head back and he opened his eyes just in time to see the kid’s body land in the ditch. He slammed on the brakes and the car spun around, tires squealing, before it skidded to a stop. He put it in park and tried to catch his breath. He could hear himself panting and keening, but it sounded far away.
There was the possibility that the kid was still alive. So, he threw open the car door and rolled out onto the road. His quivering legs wouldn’t support him, so he crawled over to where the body lay. The kid was Hispanic, like most of his flock. His curly hair was shaved over the ears. He had round, acne-pitted cheeks. He was wearing a sleeveless hoodie and expensive sneakers. He was big, maybe two hundred pounds. The kid’s head was twisted at an unnatural angle. His neck was broken; he was certainly dead.
But Garrett did CPR anyway. The intimacy of it was sickening. He’d just killed this kid, and now he was crouched over him, breathing into his mouth. Eventually, he gave up. He sat back on his heels and cried. He prayed for the kid’s immortal soul, for his mother and father and grandparents and siblings and friends.
Then he was at a loss. What am I going to do? he asked God, out loud. He couldn’t call the police or an ambulance – he didn’t have a cell phone. No one was going to drive by.
Nancy, he thought, she’ll know what to do. He didn’t like leaving the kid all by himself in the muddy ditch. It was nearly dark and there were all sorts of flesh-eating creatures in the woods that were probably already poised for the feast. But he couldn’t put the corpse in the car and drive around with it in the backseat – it would be gruesome and disrespectful. So, he got in the car and drove towards home. Soon he could no longer see the body’s reflection in the rear view mirror. And it became very difficult for him to believe that the accident had occurred.