A Prayer to the Blacktop

I’m not going to die.

I don’t care about philosophy or religion. I don’t care about scientific fact, the realities of flesh and bone and vital fluids. I only know: I am not going to die.

I would swear on any God or grave that the car was not there when I looked, that it appeared out of the fog, a deathly apparition come to hunt me down. The glass that lacerated me, the impact that flung me from my seat, the flames that, even now, lick my legs; there is no accident in their creation. It’s the universe, trying to silence me, render me insignificant despite every action I’ve ever taken to the contrary, but I know, no matter what it tries: I’m not going to die.

From my chest, a slender shaft of white emerges, a ivory monument to my destruction, enrobed in trickles of blood. I would call it a broken bone, were I to see such a thing in a movie, a rib protruding through skin, tearing at muscles and fat and arterial walls, destroying the very body it was designed to protect. But things like that don’t happen in life beyond the silver screen—at least, not to me. Never to me.

It had been the rain. The rain—it reminds me of its presence with a cool shower upon my forehead, tempering the red-hot thoughts coursing through my brain. The rain and the fog and the darkened night, concealing the car from me, wresting control from me, until far too late—that’s what happened. There was no apparition. It was nature. Nature, railing against my very life. But I’m not going to die. I’ve got too much to do, to die.

Dreams? I’ve had dreams in abundance. Dreams enough to fill a thousand lifetimes of sleep and waking, dreams of potential and harmony, dreams of possibilities. Not a single dream ended in a pool of blood, on a rainy night. That’s how I know: I’m not going to die.

I try to shout this: “I’m not going to die!”

Instead, I hear a gurgle of blood and leaky plumbing.

Glass covers me like snow. My muscles twitch and spasm without decision. My blood, sticky and hard, pastes me to the ground like an insect in flypaper.

My heart beats its last with a whisper, a sigh of final rest. My last thought, before bloodflow cuts out, is this:

I’m not going to die.


Editor’s Corner


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