Rain fell in endless sheets, hammering against the windshield. Wiper blades on high couldn't keep up, clearing a patch here and there, only to fill immediately with droplets. Ironically, the morning forecast had called for sunshine and partly cloudy skies with a 20% chance of rain. That 20% was currently drowning the landscape. Wipers raced, water slashed against the bottom of the car as it sliced through puddles on the interstate. Drainage ditches couldn't keep up with the rainfall. Already, a foot of water stood at the sides of the road.
Division Bell by Pink Floyd, blared from the speakers. One reason Blythe Donovan had purchased the car, was the superior sound system. Okay, it was the main reason, but she told her friends it was because of the fantastic mileage. Wanting to hear Marooned again, Blythe tapped the button to take her back to the beginning. Her eyes left the road for less than 10 seconds. Movement and a flash of tail lights greeted her startled eyes. Ahead of her, the cars had slowed to a crawl. The sky chose that moment to open further, dumping gallons of water on the already sodden land.
"Oh, God! Help me!"
She watched the tail lights of the car ahead of her, get closer. Foot firmly on the brake, she panicked, trying to turn her car off the road. The steering wheel didn't respond as the car hydroplaned on the accumulated water. She saw a trailer hitch as she plowed into the rear end of a pickup. Time ran in slow motion. She saw the vehicles collide. There was a sickening crunch of metal, glass flew, air bags exploded from the console. The seat belt snapped into action, rubbing brutally across her collarbone. Smoke filled the car as she shuddered to an unsteady halt. Terrified by the smoke and noises, she struggled with her belt and car door.
The other vehicle rolled off the road, but her poor mangled car wasn't going anywhere. Cars surged around her as she fumbled with her telephone. She knew someone had probably already called in the accident, but that was what people did, right? The dispatcher answered and she burst into tears.
"I ran into someone. My car is broken."
"Calm down, miss. It's all right. We've already had a report. An officer is on the way. Try to stay calm. Are you hurt?"
"I don't think so."
"Can you move your vehicle?"
"Not by myself."
"Help is on the way. Stay out of the road."
The smoke thickened in the car. Blythe coughed, waving it away. Someone tapped on her passenger side window.
"Are you okay?" a young woman asked.
"I think so."
"You need to get out of there," a man said from the driver's side. "Let's get it moved off the road. Can you help push?"
"Put the car in neutral, miss. You steer."
She did as she was told, foolishly keeping her foot on the brake. The man glanced at her feet as he tried to push and the car wouldn't move.
"Need to take your foot off the brake," he teased, flashing a toothy, white grin.
"Sorry. I'm sorry."
"It's okay." His black hair was plastered to his head by the rain. He had a kind demeanor, with a nose that was a little too large for the rest of his face. "You need to get out of there," he said as the car rolled to a stop. "Make sure the engine is off."
"Can you stand? You're not pinned?"
"No. I'm okay."
He pulled the door open. It was bent and dented by the impact. It took a moment for him to get it wide enough for her to exit.
"You'd better get your things," the young woman suggested.
"You can come sit in my car when you're done," she offered.
"And get some pictures for your insurance agent."
Blythe fumbled a few seconds with her phone, trying to focus on the wreck. Her long, brown hair was plastered to her head by the rain. Her hands shook as she took her pictures. It made her sick to look at her car. An EMT in full rain gear, approached her.
"Is this your car?"
"Are you hurt?"
"I don't think so. Just shaken up." She stuttered, blushing. "I'm sorry," she babbled. "I don't know what happened."
"It's okay, miss. Everyone is shaken up at a time like this. Deep, slow breaths."
© 2016 Dellani Oakes