In Seconds

Somewhere there is a timeline where this didn't happen, but somewhere is a timeline where it did.

I knew we should not have been drinking, but I went along with it. "You're not the one driving and it's only a beer, right?" Simms said. We came close to being pulled over at a county line, but for whatever reason the police SUV turned down a road behind us instead.

Simms was driving too fast. He threw his beer bottle out of the window a short time after passing the police vehicle. I heard it smash on some passing rocks through the open window.

We were moving much faster now; picking up speed. "You're driving too fast for the snow covered roads," I yell over the wind from his still open window. Then I realize something frightening. He doesn't care.

The vehicle starts to lose traction. The gas pedal is pushed down to the floor. We are at the top of a mountain. A narrow and sharp turn is coming up. No railing. A steep drop off. I don't have my seat belt on and start to panic. Too late, we are airborne.

I no longer know where my bottle of beer is and it no longer matters. But still I think if I survive this someone is going to know we have been drinking. What is left of the beer is going to be all over the inside of the large SUV we are in.

As we continue to sail through the air everything slows down. I am drifting from the front of the vehicle to the back, no longer in my seat. The jolt from the vehicle leaving the edge of the cliff has thrown me into the air of the vehicle's cabin.

I grab for the headrest of the front seat in a time span that is much faster than what is happening around me. But something beautiful is passing by outside and I forget for a brief second about trying to return to the front seat; lights.

Outside we are flying over downhill skiers and a ski lift that is lit up in the night. I can't tell that anyone knows we are above them yet. They look so far away. Do they see the headlights? I wonder.

The second passes as if it were a full minute before my senses begin to return to me. Once again I concentrate on getting back into my seat.

I grab for the headrest and I am successful. The scene is like watching someone move around on the International Space Station, but with far less room, and in far less time.

As I drift into the front of the vehicle I see the bottom of the mountain coming quickly into the moonlit view. I look over at Simms, but he is out cold, having smashed his head against the steering wheel. I notice the angle of the vehicle is beginning to line up with the angle of the mountain. I yell, "Drive!" and for a brief second think there is hope for getting out of this alive, but the moment passes as the vehicle continues to over rotate.

"Survive," I continually think to myself as my body settles into the floor board and squeezes beneath the dashboard, feet first. I thought the new SUV was clean but I can see dust reflecting in the light. The light from the ski resort, a short distance away. Then the vehicle begins to hit the ground. I expect time to speed up again. But it does not.

I don't hear the jarring crunch or explosion of metal. I don't feel pain as I expect. I only sense a tightening of the space of what little view I have left. Then I become enamored with the slow swirling of the reflected soft lights from the ski resort on the tan leather seat cover immediately in front of me. Light that is changing. Light that is being over taken by shadows.

The light that remains is spinning in slow motion circles. We must be rolling now I am thinking. There is no pain, no sense of violent destruction. But the space is getting narrower with each roll. The ceiling is caving in. The dashboard is caving in. The space is getting tighter. I cannot move now.

The lights are still spinning slowly on the seat before me. I am concentrating on them, I cannot move at all. My neck is now wedged between the seat and the dashboard. I cannot feel my lower body. It's just me and my eyes now and the light...

the light...

the light...

the...