“Laura! It's the hoons. They've caught up to us, and they’re not slowing! You've got to get us out of here, get going, real quick!”
I glance into my rear view mirror. Yes, it is the hoons. And yes, they are right behind us, and not what you’d say slowing appreciably. But I've slowed, almost stopped! What to do? I slam my foot onto the accelerator, but the sudden influx of fuel has stalled this automatic car, blast it!
My head bounces off the steering wheel. I hear a crack as Jess's head bounces off her side window frame.
They've slammed into the passenger's side of my car's rear bumper. My car jerks forwards, towards the cliff edge. It skews partly sideways. Will it be enough to catch, to not to go over the edge?
Another thump from the hoons, and they’re reversed, sped off. Probably laughing themselves sick, while my beloved red car climbs side on up onto the guard rail at the edge of the cliff, and – oh no! – we are going over! “Help! Oh my God, help me!”
Did God listen? My car's gone still. The burble of the hoon's car fades into the distance. My Subaru’s motor pings.
All is silent.
“Jess!” I reach over and grab her arm. Jess's head rolls towards me. “Jess! Wake up. We've got to get out. Wake up Jess!”
“Lau – ra ..”' And Jess is out to it again.
I drag in a deep breath as the car settles. “My God, will it hold? It’s got to hold.” I gasp, my hands covering my mouth. “Please say the car will hold.” I look ahead, out of the windscreen, out to the road in front – and below - of my dangling car. My beautiful, brand new red dangling car. Dangling like an elaborate ruby red pendant. I feel dazed as I look at all that space stretching between my car and the highway. Note the long drop below. Note the cars that race along that road below us;. Cars that look kiddie-car size. Most whiz past, intent on their own realities, but some pull over. I can see them stop. I watch their occupants point and stare.
To me, we're sitting on the couch at home, watching a video with the sound turned off. Only my stomach’s churning pulls me back to the present.
Then Jess groans, and sound returns with a vengeance, with violence to my aching ears. I snap alert again.
“Oh Laura. Hurt.”
“Where do you hurt?”
“Chest. My head.” Then Jess slumps against her seat belt where it anchors on the door frame.
“Jess! Jess! Stay with me,” I beg, and scan my friend as best I can. I command myself to think! Hell's bells. It would help if I knew what to look for. Let’s see. Jess's face, it's egg shell white, and I know that's not good.
Again the car lurches forwards. It seems to settle, again, but can I trust it? There's another car parked further along a bit. A little girl gets out, and comes part way towards us. No one else. She's too little to be of any help, so it's up to me to get us out of this mess.
And plus - God willing - all the heavenly help we can muster.
A sickening screech signals a further slide forwards, and by then it's clear that my car's life span is inevitably brief. Cars are passing at break neck speed along the highway below us. Don't look, don't look! I demand myself. So of course I look.
Jess hasn't taken any notice; she's totally out to it now.
I take stock. Jess's side is further out over the guard railing than is my side. I nudge my door open, just a bit. The movement sways the car. I let my door swing back, so that it's mostly closed, so that it's ready to go when I am. Then I unlatch my seat belt and get my arms free – a glance confirms that Jess's seat belt is still unlatched.
“Jess,” I call, and hope I can get through to her. “I've got an idea, a bit desperate, but it's the best chance we've got,” I tell her. I lean across her and pull the lever to recline her seat. Pity I can't reach the lever that would slide her seat back.
“Sorry, sis.” I lift Jess's legs to make sure they're free to move. She yelps with pain.
I slide my seat back as far as it will go, then lean forwards, and make sure that Jess's arms are fully free. I’m watching, listening all the time for the car's movements. Watching and waiting for those signals that warn it's now or never if we want to get out alive.
And life has never felt more precious to me than now!
“Jess. Wake up. Listen to me, sister dear. I've got a plan. But you've got to help me. We've got to get out, right? To get out of here, NOW.” I take her arms and put them around my neck. “'Come on, Jess. You've got to hold on tight, right?”
Jess's voice is slurred, but on some level she'd conscious, and her arms do tighten a bit. I pull her up across my body, while 'walking' my buttocks across the seat. “Angels. Help us, please!”
Then – as the car jerks more strongly, I bend my knees, shove, and roll us against my car door, with Jess clasped tight against my body.
“Roll with me, damn you,” I screech at Jess. “Roll!”
My driver’s door swings open.
We roll out of the car.
My legs get caught against the guard rail. I can feel the rear wheel run over my legs, yet the car's weight is already lifting, levering itself up and over. I kick free of the railing, free of my car, kick us safely away from the rear wheel.
Were there angels helping us? I have to believe so. Certainly I was in my zone, or whatever the martial artists call it. And with far more strength of which I’m capable.