Slow Down and Be Careful

snow-forest-night-hd-wallpaper-for-iphone-ohtEveryone thinks it was because of the snow and the weather that accidents happen but what they don’t understand is that accidents happen only when a person’s being careless and reckless.

That day started out so great, I woke up to the sun streaming in from my bedroom window. I peeked out at the sky, clear and blue.

“Edie, breakfast is ready.” My mother hollered from downstairs in the kitchen.

My name is Edith but everyone calls me Edie. I know, it’s so far from Edith. It wasn’t my mother’s idea to give me such an old school name, it was my grandmother’s and my mother hated her for it.

I flipped the cover over and hopped off the bed. Then I stumbled over to my closet to scour for a clean shirt and pants but not before I hopped over to my laptop and woke it from its slumber. 40ºF, the temperature displayed at the upper right corner of the screen. Not bad, I shrugged and plugged a pair of comfortable worn-out faded-blue jeans and a black t-shirt from its hangers and threw it on me. I slipped into my favorite snickers and threw on the brown leather jacket given to me as a present by my dad as I grabbed my book bag off the floor and exited the room, almost all at the same time. Yes, I’m a multi-tasker.

“Whoa!” Ugh, why does he just throws his toys everywhere? My 10-year-old brother, Cory, still played with toys, so immature.

“So anything exciting happening today?” My mother asked as soon as I tossed my book-bag on the floor and sat down at the kitchen counter. She set a large plate of waffles before me.

“No, why do you ask?” I picked up the fork and dug into my waffles.

She laughed lightly. “Because it’s a mother’s job. So no exams or anything?” I shook my head. She shrugged and joined me at the counter with the morning paper. She was already in her scrubs, ready for work at the hospital, she’s a nurse.

“Anything new and interesting?” I asked minutes later when I finished my waffles.

She pursed her lips. “Nope.”

I hopped off the stool. “Well, I’m off. See ya.”

“Be careful!” She yelled as I made my way to the carport. Always.

Outside felt unseasonably warm and humid, warmer than 40°F. I’m glad I don’t have PE today. I wouldn’t want to spend a minute outside.  I parked my car fifteen minutes later in my usual spot and made my way to the grey stone structure that was the main building to my school. As I walked by, I watched people lean against their lockers, talking loudly. It annoys me a lot. That’s probably why I’m a loner. I’ve got enough of a crowd at home.

I went about my usual routine, dropped my bag in my locker, gathered my World History book and headed to first period. I’m always the first one there.

Five minutes after I sat down, other people filed in. I listened in on their whispering. “Did you see this? There’s going to blizzard today.”

I turned around, a couple of girls were staring hypnotically at their iPhones. I wish I had a phone like that sometimes. I looked ahead at the board but I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. “I think the school’s going to dismiss us early.” A girl behind me said excitedly. I could almost hear her say, “yippee!” at the end of that sentence.

I smirked quietly. We’ll see. 

I had first lunch today which was at 11:30, barely out of second period. I grabbed my entreé, fruit, and salad at the lunch counter and sat at my usual spot when the speaker sounded. “Attention all students,” the voice of Principal Lancaster came on, “due to the impending blizzard, all students, faculties, and administrators are to be dismissed at noon. Again, all students, faculties, and administrators are to be dismissed at noon. Have a safe trip home.”

It was a weird moment as all the noise in the cafeteria suddenly died. It was like time had stopped. I glanced around and saw everyone’s jaws were either gaped open or just hung open. Then the buzzing resumed, louder than before.

I quickly finished my lunch, discarded the tray, and stepped outside. The sky had become dark and cloudy, almost like night had fallen in the middle of the day. What happened to the blue sky? How did it get dark so quick?

I went back to my locker, gathered my stuff, and headed home. If you say we’re dismissed, then we’re dismissed. I like to play safe though. So I went out to my ancient ’95 Chevy, sat there, and waited for the first person to leave. It wasn’t until five minutes later when I finally hit the road and fifteen minutes later walked through the front door. The house was empty, quiet, and peaceful. It made me wonder. Is my school the only one with the early dismissal today?

I quickly went into kitchen to phone my mother at work. A lazy voice woman answered. “Operator.”

“Yes, can you page me to Heather Johnston please? This is her daughter, Edie.”

“One moment,” the line went immediately to classical music but it didn’t last long. “Edie?” My mother’s voice came on the line a short minute later. “Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, the school dismissed us early. I’m home. They said something about a blizzard. I was wondering if you know anything about Cory’s school?”

“Hmm, I haven’t heard anything about a blizzard.” It almost sounded as though she was shuffling papers while talking to me. “But if Cory’s school’s dismissing early as well, dad and Cory are probably going to be home any minute.” My dad is an Art teacher at Cory’s school.

“What about you?”

She sighed. “I don’t think we’ll have that here.” There was a pause. “I have to go, talk to you when I get home?”

“Okay, just be careful okay?”

She chuckled. “Always.”

Cory and my dad stepped through the door over an hour later and dad began complaining about the impending blizzard traffic. “Everyone’s hurrying home because of the blizzard.” He said exasperatedly.

We turned on the TV and watched the minute-by-minute weather while Cory went upstairs to play with his toys. The weatherman informed snow would start blowing at 5 PM which was the time my mother’s getting off work. That’s not good.

Accurately enough, light snow began falling at 4:55 and grew harder and harder. The wind began to howl at around 5:15. By 5:30, there was at four inches of snow on the ground and by six, the street was ghostly quiet. Something in my gut tells me that something awful was happening at this very moment.

My mother.

She never made it home that night. She died in a five-car pile up on the freeway. Some idiot driver was driving too fast and spun right into her. It was one of the biggest accidents to occur that night along with a ten-car pile up some 50-mile from home.

Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael

15 thoughts on “Slow Down and Be Careful

  1. Reblogged this on A Simple Life and commented:
    This following short story is my take on the prompt today. It was sort of inspired by the almost-accident my mom had about two years ago as well as my scary encounter just a few months ago. It’s a bit long, about 1200 words but I’m sure some of you are quick readers.

    Half of the first sentence was taken from one of my many favorite books. Can you guess what it is? It’s fairly new and its movie only came out recently. The climax and ending made me bawl like a baby. It was a nice short read. Anyway, I really enjoyed writing this short story and I hope you enjoy reading it as well.


  2. Yay I got it right! Actually I have not read this book but it’s rather interesting (I shall add into TR in goodreads)~
    I just did me some googling to find out where does the sentence comes from 😛 is your story inspired by If I Stay? There was an accident involved with the main character too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was kind of inspired by that novel since for the prompt, I’m supposed to write something using the first sentence of a book. I couldn’t find a book that does not state the character’s name in the first sentence until I found this book and at the time, I wrote mostly tragedies, always involving deaths in my stories. So this was what I wrote. This story has an accident but I changed it so it didn’t involve the main character. So I guess this can be called “If I stay Take 2”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very real cautionary tale about never knowing how a day will turn out.
    Well done…your writing style is uniquely your own voice which is just excellent.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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