Adam rotated his head toward the passenger seat where Karen, his sister-in-law, sat. Her eyes glazed over, her face red and swollen, she mumbled something he couldn’t understand. Twin airbags lay like melted marshmallows in their laps. Steam rose from the front of her car, its hood crumpled into a sneer, the victim of a patch of ice and an ill-placed oak.
Adam forced the door open and rocked once, twice, three times out of the Mustang’s bucket seat. He wobbled around the back of the vehicle, checked the trunk to make sure it was closed, and inched his way along the riverbank to the passenger door.
“Come on, Karen. We’ve gotta get out of here.” He yanked the door open and slipped his arms around Karen. He guided her behind the car, lowered her to the ground, and propped her against a tree. “I’ll be right back.”
He stumbled to the driver’s door and reached inside. The trunk lid groaned and yawned open, as if awakened from a sound sleep. Adam hauled his brother’s body from the trunk and hoisted it over his shoulder. He placed the body in the driver’s seat and slammed its head against the steering wheel.
“What are you doing?” Karen asked.
“Fixing things,” Adam replied. He looked up and saw Karen hunched over, holding her head with both hands. He rubbed a section of the airbag across his brother’s face but couldn’t match the burn marks on Karen’s. He hoped the small-town police wouldn’t notice.
“Who’s in the car?” Karen asked.
Karen squinted at Adam, her face a portrait of confusion.
“It’s perfect. The police will think he was driving when the car hit the ice.”
Karen opened her mouth, but Adam spoke first.
“You said if he wasn’t around we could be together. Right?”
Karen stood, her eyes open as wide as her mouth.