Lying at Death’s Feet

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Lying at Death’s Feet

Megan Makowski, Curved writer

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I stood by the intersection of the street, looking down at my watch. There were only 17 minutes left. The wind nipped at my bones, the moon shimmering across the night sky. It was only a matter of time. I looked down at my watch again. 14 minutes left. Time sure went by slowly. “I can’t believe he’s making me take this job.” I muttered, my teeth chattering. On that crisp September night, I had better things to do than to sit at a crossroads and wait. I sighed heavily, digging for the book that was in my coat pocket. If I had to wait, I might as well pass the time reading. I flipped it open to the bookmarked page and began to read.

 

Gwen bounded down the stairs and into the kitchen, a giddy smile on her face. 

“What are you so happy about?” her mother chuckled, chopping up carrots for tonight’s stew. 

“I was invited to a party.” Gwen murmured, plopping down in the barstool in front of the island. Her mother paused, glanced up at her, then continued her task. 

“I don’t know-” Gwen interrupted her mother before she could finish her thought.

“I know what you’re going to say, mom. Yes, there’s gonna be alcohol but I’m not gonna be drinking. You taught me better than that.” Her mother smiled at her and hummed softly.

“Good. Just don’t stay out too late, okay? It’s your brother’s birthday tomorrow and he’d like you awake for it.” Gwen laughed and rolled her eyes. 

“C’mon mom, that happened once. I’m not gonna let it happen again. I’ll be home around midnight.” Her mother nodded, leaned across the island, and kissed her on the cheek. 

“I love you, sweetie. Be careful.”

“I love you too mom.” Gwen kissed her mother’s cheek before jumping up from the barstool and dashing upstairs to get ready. 

It had taken her a few hours to decide on the perfect night look, but she chose a simple, red, body-conscious dress with a black pair of high heels. She kept her makeup simple, as it was mostly going to be dark and skipped any accessories. It was 8 o’clock when she finally climbed into her car to leave for the party. When she arrived half an hour later, the house was already bustling and vibrating from the loud music and groups of people. During the night, Gwen partied with many of her friends, and many more she didn’t even know. Throughout the evening, a plethora of people tried and failed to offer her shots and mixed drinks. Gwen knew better than that. She was driving home. She couldn’t drink. 

Time flew by, and 11:30 seemed to be approaching. Gwen glanced down at her phone to check the time and almost spat out the sip of soda she had taken. “Crap!” she mumbled to herself. “I have to get going or I’m gonna be late for curfew.” She bid her friends a curt farewell before shoving her way through the crowd of dancing bodies. When she reached the front door and made it outside, she took a deep breath of fresh air. She hustled down the street towards her parked car and entered it.

 

I tore my eyes away from the page I was reading and glanced down at my watch. My eyes bulged as I realized there were only 90 seconds left. I slammed the book closed and shoved it back into my coat pocket. In the darkness of the night, two vehicles could be seen approaching each other fast. I hurried into the middle of one of the intersecting roads as the countdown began. 

Twenty seconds. The two cars were getting closer. From this distance, I could barely make out the shapes of the two vehicles; one appeared to be a hulking truck and the other was a meek car. The truck was swerving in their lane. The light at the intersection turned from green to yellow, and the little car began to slow down. Ten seconds. They were approaching the light, maybe a few hundred yards away. Nine seconds. 

The light turned red now, eight seconds, and the car made a complete stop at the light. The other swerved suddenly, ran the red light, seven seconds, and slammed into the other driver. It almost seemed as if it were in slow motion. The two cars collided and spun around in a little dance. The truck overpowered the little car and smashed it to pieces. In a daze, the truck driver opened his door and fell out onto the pavement, six seconds, seeming unscathed. Alcohol wafted from the open car door and a few bottles of empty whiskey crashed to the ground. Five seconds. 

A girl who had been walking behind me had witnessed the whole thing and called for an ambulance. I slowly danced around the wreckage to peer into the shattered window on the driver’s door of the car. Four seconds. There, bloodied and gasping for breath, was a girl. A hunk of glass protruded from her chest, soaking blood into her red dress and staining it an even deeper red. I reached two bony fingers through the window and placed them on her neck. Her pulse was slowly fading away.

“It wasn’t me,” she gasped under her breath. “It wasn’t me.” Three seconds. I smiled gently at her.

“It’s okay.” Two seconds. “I’ll take you to a better place.” Gently I placed my hand on her bleeding forehead. One second. I watched as the life drained from her eyes. Zero seconds. I stepped back from the vehicle as two ambulances and a police car arrived on the scene. I pulled the book back out from my coat pocket and opened it up to the last page of the chapter titled ‘Gwen Bitler’. I fished around with my other hand and pulled out a feathered quill pen. I tapped the tip of the pen against my tongue before scribbling the time and date into the box next to the word ‘Death’. I slammed the book closed and shoved the pen and the book back into my pockets. 

“Well, I think it’s time for me to report back to the boss. He sure will be pleased with me. I even waited in the cold.” I glided away from the now bustling scene, slipping past all the people unnoticed. I pulled up the hood on my black coat, before vanishing into the night.

 

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