Joseph stood, trembling, trying to regain his balance. His head throbbed and he found it difficult to see through the rivulets of blood running down his face. He couldn't stop, though. There were others hurt far worse than him; he was needed.
He bent to reach the woman in the black Mazda. She was awake, but her door was so buckled, she couldn't get out without help. When Joseph leaned down, he glanced into the side view mirror. He stopped. His blood ran cold at what he saw there. He first pressed his face closer to the mirror to see better, before realizing he could turn and see for himself. Yet, he hesitated.
Time seemed to draw around him like a cloak. He pulled it closely about him, letting the world come to a stop for a moment. He turned then, slowly. As he finished his about face, he squared his shoulders and prepared himself for what he had glimpsed in the mirror.
Several cars behind him, thrust through her windshield, unmistakably, undeniably, lay his wife. Her car, her hair, the same white blouse she'd been wearing when he kissed her goodbye this morning.
As he took each leaden step toward the wreckage of her white Honda Odyssey, he remembered, vaguely, her describing the day she had planned for herself and the boys. Back to school shopping in the city. He hadn't realized she'd planned to leave right away. He hadn't realized she had been only a few cars behind him. He hadn't realized ...
Every joy in his life was encapsulated in this vehicle. Without her, oh God, without them, what was there now for him?
*© 2007 belongs to author, name currently withheld until the contest conclusion