Mountain Passed - Geist Short-Long Distance Writing Competition
Everything happened so fast, I hadn’t even realised the predicament I was in until I saw the pool of sticky blood dripping onto the glass from somewhere under mom’s hair.
We were driving. My young parents were so happy in the front seat; listening to their typical Debussy, Mozart, Chopin compilation. The monotonous, mundane prairies – stretching as far as the eye could see – turned into low, smooth rolling hills and finally into sharp, jagged and snow-covered peaks. I overheard them say something about the “Rocky Mountain Range”. I still can’t be sure if that was what it was called, or they were merely commenting on the literal outcrop we were navigating through.
I adored the vistas and landscapes that whirled past my frozen window as I relished the warmth of the crumpled up blanket across my seat, the fiery gusts of heat that blew out of the roof and from between the seats added to the pleasure. Regardless of the heat, the frigid cold of outside still threatened each time I had moved too close to the window.
The agonizingly long trip from Edmonton to Vancouver had been one of joy. Mom had shrieked earlier that week as she revealed the expected baby to dad the moment he walked through the front door. They were surprising the rest of the family with the news this weekend.
That was the plan.
I don’t remember seeing the truck that now lies feet from me, coming across the centerline. I vaguely recall mom’s gasps as dad attempted to swerve out of the path of the looming monster; but I can not, I will not, forget the look she gave me in that last moment. Her eyes glittered with tears. I lunged towards her, to console her, but an unseen force pushed me hard against the seat, and then sent me flying weightlessly through the car. I hit the roof so hard I felt all the air in my lungs rush past my lips, and there was instantly pain down my right side. I know at some point that frigid window collapsed, as I now lay in this cold snow, only inches from that terrified look frozen on mom’s face, but this time, I am separated from her by the window.
Dad hangs motionless, lashed to the seat. Mom’s unblinking eyes are focused on me. I try to comfort her, to move closer, but I have no strength to even lift my tail.
The cold wet snow beneath me is hardly shielded by my own course, thick fur, but I feel no sensation of it. My entire life remains in that car while I am alone in this insulated silence, as sprinkles of snowflakes cascade across my limp frame.
I close my eyes, hours pass, the cold embraces me, I wait for death to take me.
“Are you ok pup?” I hear a voice coo. “… He’s the only one left…”