Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

[POV: Chloe]

Beep... beep... beep... This isn’t happening - someone wake me up right now.

Beep... beep... beep... Th-this can’t be real. No - someone please tell me what’s going on. Tell me this is a joke. Someone’s horrible way of messing around with me.

Beep... beep... please God, don’t let her die, don’t take her away from me... beep... I - I’m scared. I can’t be alone.

My shoulders shook as I sobbed into my palms. My bruised ribs screamed in protest but they were the least of my worries. The crash left me practically unscathed in comparison to Susan.

Beep... beep...beep

Susan, my mom and best friend was dying. The days events flashed through my head and I thought how little it all meant now. Worrying about volleyball, friends, boys, life - it all was such a waste of time. Now all I worried about was that I might be losing the most important person in my life.

Throughout the last hour the events leading up to the accident had been racing relentlessly through my head. Maybe I was verifying the fact that they were indeed true and did happen. Maybe the shed tears still hadn’t recognized this nightmare as my new reality.

3 Hours Earlier

“Hey Mom, do you know where my kneepads are? I thought I’d asked you to wash them!” I called from the inside of my closet where I was bent over throwing clothes aside frantically.

“Try checking by the washing machine,” she replied, sounding somewhat exasperated. “And a 'thanks' would be nice.”

“Thank you, thank you” I yelled as I flew past her collecting the last of my volleyball gear. “Hurry, we’re going to be late. I don’t want to run lines like last time.” I actually loved running but I’d say anything at this point, just to get my mother out of the house.

“I know, just give me one minute unless you want me leaving the house in this,” Susan said gesturing to her paint-covered overalls. I glanced behind her where the large canvass stood, taking up one-third of our kitchen space. I didn’t know why her paintings had to be done in the kitchen but apparently this room had the best lighting.

Now it was Susan’s turn to race out of the room and I was left standing beside the unfinished painting. Vibrant colours raced each other in circles - it was actually quite hypnotic. I was unsure where my mom's motivation came from but I had to admit that the spontaneous patterns matched her personality perfectly.

Spontaneous, free-spirited, impulsive - all words that one could use to describe Susan. There were days I wondered what was going through her head when, for example, she made gummy bear - pecan cookies. However, I'm not lying when I say they tasted amazing!

"Okay honey, let's go," Susan said, poking me in the back. "Last one to the car is a rotten egg!" My mom can be such a kid sometimes, but humouring her I chased after her retreating shadow towards our car. The thick summer air hung ominously around me as I climbed into the passenger seat.

Present

The series of events leading up to the accident were a blurred mess now; however, several memories stood out like snapshots: my mom looking sideways to smile at me, a vehicle emerging from the darkness directly in front of us, frantic hands on the stirring wheel, and an overwhelming force throwing me against the door. The last thing I remember is feeling the motionless figure splayed beside me and hearing the silence. The incredibly loud silence.

I tucked my mom's unruly red curls behind her ear. I almost couldn't bear looking at the various cuts and stitches that decorated her face. Her green eyes remained closed. My worst fear was that they may never open again.

When the doctor first told me that Susan was comatose, I felt hopeful, after all, many people in comas wake up. If her heart was still beating, then there was still hope right? But the next news was what shocked me and momentarily stopped my heart. Without further testing they wouldn't know for sure but chances were, my mom was not going to recover. By the time the paramedics had arrived at the accident, my mom's heart had stopped long enough to cause permanent brain damage - something medically irreversible.

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