A Crash on a Summer Day This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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One summer afternoon I woke, but I wasn't in my bed or any bed. I wasn't covered by a blanket and my head wasn't resting on a pillow. I wasn't even lying down. I was sitting. My head lolled to the side and the right side of my face felt wet and warm. When my eyes fully opened, my vision was clouded by thick smoky air and thin particles of black dust hung around my face. My head throbbed and my body ached. I looked around me. A radio and steering wheel was on my left, I was in a car. I knew that. Memories of road, singing, and stop lights to flooded my mind at once. I reached out with my right hand, fumbling for the handle of the door, found the cold strip of metal and wrapped my hand around it. It didn't open. I pulled my hand away and sat back. My mind still racing. A minute had passed since my waking and I hadn't taken a breath. I knew that if I inhaled, the dust from the air bag would choke me but that wasn't why I hadn't breathed. A dull pain ached in my chest making it hard for me to draw a breath. I reached for the handle again, pulling the cold metal towards me. The door popped open and I pushed it away from me. The skin on the bottom of my feet touched the warm blacktop. Glass was pushed into the balls of my feet as I walked over the wreckage from the windshield, but I couldn't feel it at all, even as I left bloody  footprints behind me. I heard crying and turned around. Behind me the back window of the car was broken and from it came a wailing of sobs. I walked to the side and pulled on the handle but it wouldn't budge. I put all my weight on it and yanked, but it still wouldn't move. I pushed but the limp white airbag back from blocking the hole that used to hold a window and grabbed the sill. Jagged pieces of glass bit at my palm. I leaned into the car yelled to the sobbing child to climb out the other side. I staggered backward, glass still sticking to the bottom of my foot, leaving spots of blood in my wake. My fingers found their way to my cheek. They felt warm and wet. I pulled them back. They were covered in slick red blood. I was confused, still unaware of what exactly happened. I couldn’t remember anything. I exhaled and as I did the pain stung my chest making my breathing hitch. Gasping for breath, I could finally take in the whole scene. A red car was smashed on one side, glass scattered the ground around the scene. A bus was stopped adjacent to the smoldering car and men in army dress were bustingly about the hectic scene. I walked to a grassy patch in front of the car. My chest heaved with pain as I struggled to get a breath. I lied down on the soft grass, the pain in my chest still very evident. My eyes began to feel heavy as my mind wandered from the smoldering car, glass strewn blacktop, sobbing children, and hectic confusion.






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