Too Fast by Roger Woodcock

`Can`t you go any quicker?`

  The words haunt my nightmares, my sweat-soaked body wrestling with the steering wheel as the car slews wildly across the rain-lashed tarmac...

        She was only fifteen, her whole life in front of her. Now she lay beneath the spinning wheels,  her body crushed like a newly-swatted insect, glistening blood caught in my upturned headlights spreading across the potholed road.

  I  knelt over her, my body rocking back and forth, my mind overloaded with the enormity of the horror that now faced me. Why had I listened to her, why hadn`t I slowed on the greasy road instead of speeding up. Would another ten minutes have made any difference, would her late arrival at the school`s play rehearsal change anything?  She was after all the Principle lead, the play unable to start without her. But that was Gemma, her life always lived in the fast lane, never wanting to be late for anything. 

  She had been catapulted through the windscreen, millions of glass fragments showering her body as she landed on the road in front of the skidding car.

I had draped my coat over her lifeless form, tears mingling with the blood as it washed into the litter-strewn gutter. Then I hear it, the piercing siren cutting through the impenetrable blackness. Now it is beside me, the gentle throb of its engine, the slam of a door, torchlight ranging over her body, the heavy hand resting on my shoulder.   .

        `Good evening sir. Is that your car?` 

  I nod robotically. He bends down, fingers feeling for a pulse. Then he is on the radio, an ambulance required, a young female. A pause. Life expired. I stare down at my beautiful daughter,  my pathetic words caught and lost on the wind. `Too fast...I was going too fast...`


Published in Issue #26

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