Mark Noldy

Author

One Cold Winter Evening

This scene begins in media res…

“Come on! Wake up! Man! Come on… Get out of the car. Help me… ugh… goddammit, you’re freaking heavy!” Chad was frantic. Brian was not moving. “Help me out here, buddy… uh oh… oh no… aw man… Brian… please, come on!” Chad heard what sounded like someone urinating on the ground. What the… then he smelled gasoline. It was now pouring out somewhere near the back of the car. His heart was pounding like a bass drum.

Chad was trying to pull Brian through the driver side door of the black 2017 BMW M760i xDrive. His hands shook as he kept switching positions with his hands. But he could not work his friend free from the passenger seat. Finally, he dug his fingers under Brian’s armpits, yanking him as hard as he could. Over the console he slithered He was prone on the driver’s seat. Ataboy… Now to get you out of here.

“Help! Help! Someone please…” Chad was calling out as he struggled to finish freeing Brian from the car.

Someone grabbed Brian’s other shoulder and helped Chad pull Brian from the driver’s side of the car. They made a bloody trail in the light snow as they dragged Brian to the opposite edge of the road and laid him to rest.

Suddenly the car was engulfed. No explosion, just the sound of ignition, like a gas stove top, only deeper and louder. Heat from the bright orange flames instantly radiated to where Chad, Brian, and the stranger on opposite edge of the road. Chad dry heaved as he pushed with his feet to move farther away from the car. His left arm tingled, and his head was banging.

After a few moments, Chad tried to shake the cobwebs from his head. Thoughts raced through his head.

He finally managed, “O my God, thank you so much. I’m so sorry. That deer… it was just there. And then… We must have hit it.” Chad looked at the man.

The driver of the silver GMC Sierra was kneeling between Chad and Brian. “I saw the deer, and no. He made it across the road, through the field, and into the woods. You smacked that pole.” Hunting season was over, but the deer were still skittish. Chad had no recollection of the moments leading up to the accident, nor how long they were in the car. Had he blacked out? Was Brian still out? Brian!

Sensing Chad’s panic, the stranger engaged Chad.

“I’m Chet,” he said placing his hand on his chest.

“I’m Chad. That’s Brian…” Chad sat forward quickly. Chet turned to look at Brian. Chad’s eyes followed the man’s gaze. Brian was in rough shape, and the stranger switched his attention back to Chad.

“He looks… dead,” Chad muttered, his lips quivering.

“Let’s not think like that. I called 911. Help is on the way.” The stranger diverted Chad’s attention. Brian’s head looked like a can of dark red paint had been dumped over the top and was drying in his hair and on the right side of his face.

Chad looked over at the burning vehicle. “It’s not even my car. It’s his dad’s. Man, are we in trouble.” He looked down again at Brian’s blood-stained head. “I had to drive… he couldn’t… so he wouldn’t… he drank a lot.”

Chad’s teeth started to chatter. The air had become even colder. His breath was thick in the man’s headlights as snow continued falling. Sirens blared in the distance down in the valley. They watched the vehicle burn as Brian lay motionless on the roadside gravel. Chad’s head sunk.

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