Everything couldn’t be better. A beautiful night, young and in love…
From the recently released novel, ROPE BREAK:
They were passing a swamp on the right shoulder that ran right up to the fencing along the ditch, “Turtle!” Grace shouted at the same instant Ken saw the huge beast in the middle of the westbound lane. Ken forgot about the truck behind him and hit the brakes hard. The low slung car would never clear the hump of the big turtle’s shell. Ken started a sharp swerve to the right to try and miss the turtle and bang! They got hit hard from behind.
It knocked Ken and Grace back into the seats and accelerated the car’s speed sharply. Ken felt the wind go out of him and his vision went black. Grace bounced forward from the seat and rose just enough to catch her forehead hard on the top of the windshield. Her shoulder had slipped out from under the seat belt and she went out like a light.
Russell never saw the BMW hit the brakes. He struck them at full speed. The BMW had swerved right and the front of the truck hit the right rear corner of the convertible and sent it onto the shoulder and slightly airborne into the barbed wire fence at the side of the road. Neither Santee brother wore seat belts. They were too bothersome and were for sissy’s. Jimmy almost swallowed the dope pipe and shot forward into the dash. His right arm took the majority of the impact and he hit his head on the glass in front of him. It didn’t give or break and he went even loopier than he already was.
Russell was so relaxed he just flopped back and forth between the steering wheel and the seat. He had no clue what had just happened.
The Beemer hit near the top of the fence just beside a post. The post snapped and the fence didn’t stop them and gave way. The car hit the swamp and splashed heavily into the watery muck.
Jimmy was screaming and Russell couldn’t react. The truck shot past the still moving turtle the left front wheel missing it by an inch and rolled to a stop on the right shoulder. It was suddenly quiet except for Jimmy moaning in pain. Russell blinked and wondered what happened to the pipe.
Grace’s car floated for a moment and then began to fill with cool water. Ken snapped out of it first and had to sit and think about what was going on around him. He couldn’t get his mind to focus. Clipped thoughts and bits of information popped in and out of his head. His vision fluttered a couple more times and then came back.
He was cold. He couldn’t understand why. He turned to the right and wondered who the person was next to him with all the blood on their face. Then he realized it was Grace. He panicked. His heart immediately jumped and started beating and he went hollow inside.