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There is a road, in the mountains yonder, winding a crooked course up the side of a mighty sleeping giant. Its path is shaded from the afternoon sun by the giant’s tireless yawn, and its pavement trails down the cliff found at the mountain’s highest reachable peak. This road, in places reduced to a patch of tire wear, is left unused for the better part of the year, its steep ditches and dangerous bends deeming it unusable not only by physical danger, but legendary dangers as well.
This road carries a woe some secret, up by the most dangerous bend to be found in many miles. It is this legend that keeps the locals off this mountain path during the year’s harshest seasons- serving as a warning to all who travel its length of the reality of carelessness. It is there that the road narrows, bending away from the mountain’s edge with such degree that even an experienced driver would be lucky to steer through and keep their sound of mind. The better part of this bend gives the driver a view of the mountain’s rocky slope- a glimpse at a fate reserved for all but the best of drivers. It is there that it is said a terrible accident occurred, on the last Friday of the last month only ten years ago.
It had been a tiresome day for all- the weather was in a miserable plight, and the road down the mountain laden with ice and snow so terrible that the two hour trip was dragging to an unimaginable four. Three vehicles braved the mountain road that day- two belonging to each member of a soon-to-be ended marriage, and the last to a father and daughter travelling to a grandparent’s home.
The feuding Robinson couple, each fuming behind the wheel of their own vehicles, were racing down the merciless mountain path with intent- they were en route from their unhappy mountain cottage to their divorce settlement. They had encountered one another in particularly nasty spat, as most separating couples do, and both ignored the tedious weather as they urged their cars forward, faster and faster, as the anger towards one another festered.
Climbing precariously up the mountain, against the wind and brutal snow, was the larger part of a loving family voyaging toward a weekend with grandparents in their remote mountain home. Inexperience on the battered road slowed their journey to a safe crawl, father and daughter making the best of a toilsome journey.
It was at Scream Cliff that these four people would meet- the worst bend in the mountain road surveying the cliff that, from a distance, looked like the mountain had frozen in a bloodcurdling scream. The father and daughter, cautiously mounting the curve with frail certainty, were to remain unsuspecting as the first vehicle in the divorcing caravan rounded the bend, flying with misleading confidence invoked by rage. Missing the family van by only a hair’s breath, Mr. Robinson swerved hard, sending his trendy BMW into a spin. Each vehicle erupted with the sound of squealing brakes, brakes that would hold no validity against the heavy ice coating the road. As each passenger, watching the world pass by in a blur of colours, gripped their armrests in futile attempt to gain some sort of control of the situation, each prayed that this day would not be their last. Mr. Robinson, squeezing his eyes shut, realized his regret in the proceedings of his divorce. The young girl riding with her father in the van looked back on the fight she had with her mother before they had left, while her father wished desperately for another day with his dear family. Each world came to an abrupt stop as the safety railing caught their vehicles in its vise, bending around the shape of the automobiles.
The worst seemed to be over, each member of that moment in time overcoming their shock enough to groan and survey their damages, when a pair of headlights pierced the evening air from around the cursed bend. Around the narrow curve came Mrs. Robinson, her foot hard on the accelerant, wanting desperately to pass her belligerent husband and perhaps dent his stubborn pride. Blinded by rage, she didn’t see the accident before it was too late. She didn’t see the van mangled by her husband’s carelessness teetering against the flimsy railing. She didn’t know that, with nowhere else to go, her little Toyota would ultimately launch itself into the side of the van. She couldn’t have guessed that, with that one last tap, the van would bust through the metal safety rail and plunge down Scream Cliff, taking with it two innocent lives. And she couldn’t have prayed that her life would be spared amongst such a tragedy- but it was. With the van acting as a buffer, she was spared, and two members of a once-whole family were martyred.
You may ask why the deaths of a father and his daughter are remembered as a martyrdom- but their deaths did contribute to a bigger picture.
With such an ordeal fresh in the minds of Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, the feuding couple were drawn closer together, as if such a brush with death had brought each to see that life was too short to waste away with pettiness. Breaking free from routines laden with bickering and negativity, the Robinsons brought their marriage back to life and successfully braved the long journey to marital stability. Their reconciliation cast a pleasant hue on the tragedy and the two deaths were given a meaning in the minds of the locals. One year after the accident, the Robinsons arranged to retake their vows at the spot that had changed their lives, and ended two others, to show their respect for the people who had, in a sense, saved their marriage.
It was a quiet day that the Robinsons had chosen. The sun was pleasant and warm, a slight breeze from the north nipping at the couple’s summer attire. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson stood in front of a pastor, ready to retake their vows. They faced the railing, still wrenched and torn from the accident a year ago, and said their vows with mournful respect, the deaths of father and daughter weighing heavily on their hearts. As the vows ended, the mountain air and wild birds their only witnesses, the two kissed- sealing their love and loyalty in a simple act of union representing the union of their lives.
As they parted, arms still fastened around each other in a comfortable embrace, lips still warm from each other’s breath, and the slight hum of longing coursing through their veins, a swift shove wrenched Mr. Robinson out of the embrace of his wife and over the side of Scream Cliff. Grasping helplessly at her husband, Mrs. Robinson succumbed to gravity and plunged into the cushion of air beside him. The two fell to their deaths, sharing one last moment of love and dedication conveyed through a final look.
Back at the top of Scream Cliff, the pastor watches the couple toss and turn down the length of the unforgiving cliff. She straightens her back, her face cold. A look of satisfaction sweeps across her features, and a cruel laugh escapes her tight lips. Taking a picture out of her pocket, she examines the faces of her husband and daughter, lovingly stroking the pair of wedding rings hanging on a chain at her neck. Her face smooths from its contorted sneer into that of a broken woman, tears welling at the base of her eyes as she, once again, revisits the longing for the family so unexpectantly wrenched away from her. With their faces swimming before her eyes, and a feeling of peace washing over her body, the pastor puts herself at the mercy of gravity and disappears over the edge of Scream Cliff.