Tackling the challenges of a thriller-stroke-crime story. Part one is here. It contains swear words, so stop reading now if you don’t like that kind of writing.
Danni shouldn’t have got in the car. That glass of fizz…oh, be honest with yourself! She’d had more than one.
But Ruby wanted to go home. They’d been ‘celebrating’ her divorce and Ruby insisted they drink something with bubbles so they could clink together flutes and say good riddance to that git.
Wasn’t it gin that made you sad? Ruby horsed her half of the bottle, then ordered another one. Belligerence became depression awfy quickly. She started to cry so hard she was practically howling. People around them started to move back. Maybe they thought it catching. It wasn’t your usual cheery Saturday night stuff.
“I want my bed!” Ruby cried. Her nose had started to run, snot sitting on her top lip. Danni decided not to point it out.
A taxi would have been the sensible idea, but neither of them had enough cash on them. And Ruby refused to walk the length of the street to go to the cashline. She wanted to go home NOW.
Danni had stopped drinking a few hours ago. She joogled the keys in her pocket and said the fateful words, “I’ll drive.”
Her wee red Renault had been a birthday present six years ago, a very generous one as her dad never failed to remind her. “Aye, well,” she thought but didn’t say. “Doesn’t make up for your years of never bothering with me.”
The night was coal black and the road quiet. They both lived in the next town. Balloch was their night out choice. In their home town, too many locals, and Ruby’s ex, drank. In Balloch, endless exciting possibilities presented themselves – tourists and Glasgow guys, hanging around the pubs that dotted the loch side and smirking at you.
As the car took the first left out of the town, Ruby pulled herself together. She’d whacked up the radio volume, choosing a local station that played dance stuff on a Saturday night. She couldn’t sing, but she chanted along anyway. Danni joined in, hoping it would keep her from crying.
You helped your friends, yes. But they were much easier when they were happy.
They were busy belting out the words to Timber when the view changed.
“Danni!” Ruby shrieked, clutching her arm so hard she almost yanked the steering wheel toward her. “There’s a fucking lorry there.”
So there was, a lorry straddling the two carriageways and another car next to it. Danni felt adrenaline and fear flood her body, the contents of her stomach rising up alarmingly. She slammed her right foot to the floor and heard the car screech its protests. The hand she held out to pull on the handbrake shook.
Time had stopped. There was only her and Ruby, a still shrieking, crying mess, and a small car hurtling along, enveloped in the blackness of the night and heading for the lorry blockade that loomed before them.
Then, the brakes kicked in and the car began to slow well before the lorry and the other car. Danni felt the breath she’d been holding for the last minute or so puff out of her, deflating her lungs, stomach and head.
There was a bump, the Renault catching something with its left wheel and its impact reverberating through the car. Not your wee bump that signified cars going over potholes or verges. Something else, something…
Danni felt the contents of her stomach rise once more.
“Was that…?” Ruby wasn’t shrieking now, but the whisper made it worse.
The car had stopped, the two of them sat there staring at their hands. “Sorry, Dad, sorry.” Why did that pop into her brain? But all kinds of thoughts were whirling through there, frighteningly fast.
Losing her job.
Hitting a person with your car.
©Emma Baird 2018