MVA: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 17, 2023
Wayne winced, giving out an involuntary cry of pain as his shoulders felt like he was a chicken being deboned. The door swung wide, practically dumping him to the ground.
Fortunately, Wanda was there to catch him. Always Wanda. What had he done to deserve her?
“Wayne, you ass! You should’ve waited for me.
Wayne smiled up at her face as she leaned over him, lifting him back onto his feet. “I love you, too, Wanda. Now help me in.”
“Help me in. We have to catch up with her.”
Wanda sighed, wrapping her arm around his waist as he painfully hauled himself up into the van. As she slammed the door, she wheeled the chair around to the back, opened the rear door, folded up the chair, and lifted it in. The chair was heavy, and Wayne couldn’t imagine lifting it in his condition; but Wanda was tough, and an experienced nurse. She knew her way around a wheelchair.
Then she came around to the driver’s door and climbed in. Wayne had already pushed the automatic start. He had gotten quite accustomed to that little feature of the borrowed van, and he wondered if they could get one in their… their…
Damn! Why couldn’t he remember what their old car was?
Wanda buckled in, asking, “What are we doing, Wayne?”
“We’re catching that woman. It’s vital.”
“Vital?” Wanda slammed the van into reverse, backed out of the parking space, and pulled up to 28th Street.
“Life and death,” Wayne added. But he wasn’t sure whose death, nor how he knew.
Wanda was more daring than Wayne. She slipped into a thin gap in the 28th Street traffic and punched the accelerator. A black sedan blared its horn at her as it zoomed up behind them and barely veered around. If she hadn’t needed both hands on the wheel to complete the merge, Wayne was sure she would’ve spared the man a finger.
Then he looked ahead on the road. The glint of the silver Nissan Rogue was still visible, pulling through the green light. Wayne noted the Don’t Walk light facing them was blinking a countdown: Sixteen… Fifteen… “Punch it, Wanda! We have to make that light.”
Wanda punched it. They sped forward. The woman the Nissan had a good lead on them, but Wayne was confident. Before her nursing degree, Wanda had worked as an EMT, driving ambulances. They would catch the woman – and more important, they would catch the white rabbit.
But then Wayne had a thought: sometimes there were multiple creatures in the reflections. He pulled his hand mirror from his shirt pocket, held it up, and scanned the rear of the van. They were alone.
“Wayne! Put that thing down!”
“Wanda, I –”
“Put it away,” Wanda said as they sped through the yellow light. More horns followed them. Wayne looked over at his wife’s face, and he saw a tear trickling down.
Then in a calmer voice, Wanda continued, “Wayne, I’m worried about you. Maybe we should see if Dr. Walchek has an opening in his schedule.”
Wayne frowned. He’d done so much to try to keep his visions from disturbing their life. But Wanda was sensitive to these things. When he was troubled, she knew it.
He tried to sound calm. “We have an appointment with Dr. Walchek the day after tomorrow, and the neurologist the day after that. I’ll be fine.”
Wanda sped west, zipping in and out around slower cars, halving the distance to the Rogue. “But this obsession with mirrors, Wayne. And now that… that woman. Why did you have me follow her into the restroom? Who is she?”
Wayne shrugged, and his shoulder pain made him regret it. He reached for a lie that was close enough to the truth that he might carry it off. “I’m not sure, but there was something familiar about her. And I could tell she was in trouble.” Yeah, trouble, in the form of a white rabbit following her. That part he couldn’t explain.
But Wanda wasn’t so easily shaken. As she blasted through another light, this one on the red side of yellow, she said, “What do you mean she’s in trouble? Wayne, are you having visions again? I can turn this van and have us at the hospital in six minutes.”
“No!” Wayne tried to calm his breathing, to appear rational. “There was just something in her face, like some horrible loss. I can’t explain it, but we have to help her.”
“Help her how, Wayne? What are we supposed to do, pull her over and give her a hug?”
“I don’t know! Maybe! I’ll know when I talk to her.” He looked left, and Wanda glanced at him, her eyes wide. “I swear, I’m not crazy. I’m as clearheaded as I’ve been since the accident. You just have to trust me on this. Please?”
Wanda sighed, but then she reached over and patted his knee. “I trust you, love, even if you are crazy. We’ll follow her, but then I am taking you to the emergency room to get you checked. Deal?”
It was a better offer than Wayne had any right to expect. She might be humoring him, but she did it out of love. “Deal.”
They were only four car lengths behind the Rogue when the woman turned onto the ramp to eastbound 196. The Nissan zipped up the hill while Wanda came to a sudden stop. The traffic in front of her crept slowly forward. Somebody hadn’t noticed the green light.
Then, finally, they reached the right turn lane; and without any urging from Wayne, Wanda punched it again, and they made the turn at practically a right angle. Wayne was thrown against the shoulder straps, one more insult to his injured shoulders.
This time as they crested the low hill and rounded the bend, Wanda had her foot to the floor, while simultaneously cursing the van’s pickup. It was hardly a sports car like their…
Damn, again Wayne couldn’t remember the vehicle he had crashed. Nor the circumstances of the crash, nor anything. The big blank spot in his memory frustrated him. It was as bad as the white rabbit: there, but unseeable.
Then as they merged onto the highway, Wanda cried out, “What the hell?”
Wayne looked up, and immediately he saw what Wanda’s concern was. In a nearly empty stretch of three-lane road, the Nissan was veering back and forth. Wanda said, “Did she see a deer or something?”
Wayne shook his head. “No deer.” He didn’t know how he knew, but this scene was familiar. It reminded him of –
Then the Rogue slid too far to the right, onto the shoulder and past. It leaped up a low embankment and was briefly airborne before it went nose down into a deep ditch.
“Wayne!” Wanda said she spent she raced to the spot and pulled over under the shoulder. “911. MVA, one vehicle, silver Nissan Rogue.” By the time she finished talking, Wanda had them safely parked on the shoulder, somehow unbuckling her seatbelt at the same time. She checked her mirror for oncoming traffic, slammed the driver side door open, and jumped out.
Wayne pulled out his phone and dialed 911.A calm, confident voice asked, “911, what is your emergency?”
Wayne was good at following instructions. “MVA, single vehicle, silver Nissan Rogue off the road and into a ditch east of 28th Street.”
“Is anyone hurt?”
“My wife went to check. She’s a nurse.”
“And who am I talking to?”
“And are you hurt, Mr. Hudson?”
“No, I said single vehicle. And it’s not us. We’re in a white van at the side of the road.” Wayne looked over and noticed the Wanda had punched the four ways while he wasn’t looking. “Flashers on.”
“All right, Mr. Hudson, I have a team only a couple of minutes away. Are you safe?”
Wayne wanted to yell: We weren’t in the accident! But then he remembered stories from Wanda’s EMT days, how parking on the shoulder of a highway was its own sort of risk. She had lost a partner once when an eighteen wheeler had slammed into an ambulance as if the driver couldn’t the bright yellow flashers. So instead, he simply thanked her.
“Good. I’m going to need to stay on the line until my team gets there. You’re my eyes and ears on site. Can you do that?”
Wayne should’ve answered yes, but then he remembered: This wasn’t just an accident, he was sure of that. Somehow he was sure the white rabbit had driven the woman off the road.
“I’ll be here,” he said, sliding his cell phone into his pocket and pulling out the hand mirror. He turned his back so he could see down the hill in the mirror.
Wanda stood by the Nissan’s door, which she had pulled open. She was leaning in to examine the woman.
And the white rabbit stood behind Wanda, examining them both.
“Get the hell away from her!” Without noticing the pain, Wayne unbuckled and popped open the van door. There was a slant to the shoulder which he hadn’t noticed before, and the door swung wide, dumping them out. He screamed with the pain, but then he grabbed the bottom of the door frame and got to his knees. He scrambled a moment found find the mirror where it had fallen, and then he pulled himself to his feet.
Again he checked the mirror. The white rabbit’s big black eyes were staring up the hill at him.
“Get away!” Wayne over the embankment and down the hill. “Damn it, leave us alone!” He stumbled forward, finding his balance tricky. “Leave us alone!” Wayne picked up speed, driven by his anger at this apparition.
But then his balance failed him, and he tumbled forward down the low hill. As he slid to a halt halfway down, Wayne remembered another accident…
The good folks at Fyrecon have declared this to be Fyretober: a month of creative prompts, encouraging writers, poets, and artists to share their explorations. Today’s prompt: Alien scryer.
Still missing the prompts… That’s me…