Left Behind

A dark flash fiction, revolving around the thoughts and reflections that rise from a tragic accident.

. . .

The first thing I see as I wake up is where it happened. From my bedroom window, I see the open fields, the old spruce forest and the highway resting on the hill. At night, the headlights cruise through the darkness like fireflies.

That evening, we had dinner at the Crawfords. It was a couple of days after I noticed a suspicious look behind my wife’s warm eyes. At our quick and heated rendezvous at lunch that day, Mrs. Crawford had assured me I had nothing to worry about. “Nobody knows,” Mrs. Crawford assured me, and my wife’s smiles, glances and touches that evening proved it.

Afterwards, my wife drove us home through the cold fall rain. In a sharp turn, the car lost traction and skidded over the road like a wet soap. I can still see the mix of surprise and horror in her eyes just before we crashed through the railing and tumbled down the hillside.

When I came to, everything was still and silent. The car’s interior had me trapped like a vice. My wife stared down at me with a stiff grimace, her eyes squeezed shut and lips in a snarl. It looked like as if she was about to sneeze, something I soon understood she would never do. I don’t know how long time I spent in that macabre gloom, but I remember how our life together played like a film noir in my mind, over and over.

The time after the accident was a haze of painkillers, bright lights, pain and sometime someone held my hand. I woke up to my nephew’s stiff crayon drawing of an angel hovering over a black car upside down in the woods. Somehow, it helped me better than the sessions with the psychotherapist.

The funeral was a solemn event, with Vivaldi in the background, just as she would have wanted it. Her parents were there, and it was unbearable to meet their red, tired eyes. I could not help but wonder how different all would have ended if she had known. The Crawfords didn’t attend, but sent a beautiful flower arrangement.

After the funeral, Mrs. Crawford reached out, eager to offer her warm body as an escape for my grief. Instead of a lust filled moment with trembling bodies, we met in silence over a cup of coffee. Then she left, and the rumors have it a junior accountant have taken my place. But I don’t care no more.

The footsteps outside my window are coming from the woods, going over the open fields and through the snow-covered hedge into the backyard. A dank smell of rotten leaves and her rattling breaths fills the room. I feel her presence behind me, and I am more relieved than afraid. Soon, I will be cold but not alone.

. . .

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