Saturday, May 14, 2011

26/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by It Catches Up With You by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross from The Social Network soundtrack

She pressed on the brakes and stopped the wheels but the car kept moving forward. A thin layer of water covered a layer of ice over the road that went down the hill. The car started turning to the left. She pumped the brakes, but they did not catch. The car sheered against a snow bank, there was a dull crunch and dots of snow sprayed upward. She pumped again. The car started turning to the right, still going forward, going down the hill, down towards the house at the bottom where the road turned. In the summer, at that corner, there was barbed wire visible, clad with tall grass and weaving morning glories. There was a slight ditch for irrigation water, but now it was frozen over and covered in a mound of snow. The house behind was old, abandoned. The roof was bowed in, even in summer, but now it was pregnant with packed snow, ready to cave, maybe after a big storm, or maybe when the termites had eaten their fill. After that, the house would not last long.

She tried turning the wheel, just beginning to react, still not believing what was happening. She couldn't remember which way she was supposed to turn, so she tried both directions. The car spun, and she was facing the hill. She remembered bicycling up that hill when she was a girl. Her legs and chest would hurt after, but somehow, each time, it was an accomplishment. She felt she could do anything when she reached the top of that hill, ahead of her brothers or her friends.

She looked back over her shoulder. Her son was screaming. His face was red, and she could see his veins outlined under his pale skin. A pulse. His teeth bared, eyes wrinkled, his mittened hands reached toward her; the bulk of his snowsuit and the lapbelt he wore held him back. They looked each other in the eyes, then she turned ahead again as the car spun back towards the house.

They had covered half the distance to the fence. She pumped again. Her mind blanked out. There was a brief calmness. Then her son's voice broke her silence. She gripped the wheel tight in her gloves, and moved the steering wheel in the direction of the spun. The car slid sideways towards the fence. There were deviant bumps in the ice; the tires reacted to each one as their grooves pushed across in the wrong, unintended way. The car fishtailed. The car hit the snowbank next to the fence. The front passenger wheel lifted up, and the car flew into the air, and over the fence. It shed bits of snow and salt mush in a trail behind it. It landed hard; her head hit the steering wheel. Her nose pushed up with the impact, then cartilage snapped in a crack. The car moved forward, impeded now by a few feet of packed snow, burying itself into it. It still moved forward, and hit the porch post of the house. Decayed wood fanned out into the air, and little sylvan slivers shot into the snow like thousands of archer's arrows. The car finally rested. The engine hummed. The son unbuckled, and reached forward, then climbed over the front seat and lifted his mother's head. She did not open her eyes, but her hand found his and she pressed it. He cried out.

No comments: