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Keep Your Eyes On The Road
Enrique stumbles out of the bar. His head hurts. His hair is wet with blood. Enrique doesn’t know whose. Something above his eye stings. He raises a hand, but he is drunk, and he misses his brow. His head really does hurt. Enrique reaches his car. It is 11:30 pm. He opens the door and gets in. He is too drunk to drive. He sits and stares up through the windshield. The stars are bright tonight. Enrique remembers when Mariana taught him the constellations. He attempts to trace them on the foggy glass, but his hand shakes. Enrique gives up and lets his hand fall back. The ache begins again, just below his rib cage. He feels hopeless. The single streetlight above him flickers. Then winks out.
Enrique shifts on the leather seat. The sudden darkness is stifling. He rubs his forehead. He wants to go home. The alcohol feels like fire in his veins. Veins. An image of steel flashes in his head. The sharp metal edge makes him flinch. His blood turns sour. Enrique’s head hits the back of his seat. His thoughts feel sudden, dangerous. It is 11:37 pm. He reaches up and turns on the car light. The sheer, fluorescent light makes his head hurt more. Enrique doesn’t care. He wants to go home.
Enrique searches his pockets for his keys. He finds them. He shoves them into the ignition and turns. The car rumbles, then starts. Enrique’s foot finds the accelerator. It is 11:40 pm. He pushes down. The car shoots out of the parking lot. His drunken mind tells him to turn the wrong way.
Jax calls his girlfriend at 11:42 pm. “Hey, I’m pickin’ you up in a minute. Wear somethin’ nice.” He says. His girlfriend sounds confused. “Okay, but Jax, where are we going?” Jax just laughs and hangs up.
He dresses in a nice suit and picks up the bouquet of flowers he bought earlier. He gets in his car and starts driving to her house. Jax feels nervous and excited.
Enrique’s head hurts still. His sweaty hands grip the steering wheel. He knows the way home. It is 11:43 pm. He doesn’t notice the signs that say One Way Street. Enrique pushes the accelerator harder. His wheels screech. Metal flashes again in his head. He closes his eyes briefly. It doesn’t help. He looks at his wrists. They are pale, and the vein is blue and pulsing. Enrique doesn’t understand the feeling he is having. His eyes feel too big for his sockets. His heart beats faster. Enrique hasn’t turned his headlights on. It is 11:46 pm.
Jax laughs as his girlfriend, Marissa, tickles him. “Stop, stop! I’m driving!” He says. Marissa relents, and Jax turns the corner. His headlights are on. His hair falls in his face and he pushes it back aggressively. “Where are we going, Jax?” Marissa asks. Jax smiles and looks at her. Her blond hair is tucked behind her ears and her eyes are as green as a cat’s. “You’ll see.” He says playfully. Jax is planning to take her to her favorite restaurant, then propose on the hillside behind her childhood home. Love for Marissa fills his heart as he turns back to the road. He turns another corner and his headlights illuminate the pavement.
Enrique veers from side to side. He fights the alcohol in his head. He feels like he is going to throw up. Tendons stand out on his wrists. He cannot stop watching them. His incapacitated mind brings forth an image of the knife in his glove box. Enrique resists. The back of his neck begins to ache. His head feels heavy. His eyes feel gritty. Enrique’s foot eases off the accelerator. He comes to a stop. The road is dark. He takes the knife from the glove box. He gets out of the car.
The night air smells of cigarette smoke and sadness. Enrique sits on the hood. The metal bends slightly. He holds up the knife. It is cold and sharp. Enrique touches the edge. The glint off the metal sears into his head. He looks at his wrists again. They seem so vulnerable. So white. Like a canvas. Enrique hesitantly touches the edge of the knife to the skin. It sends a shock through him. It feels dangerous. He likes it. Enrique touches it to his skin again. But he presses harder. A spark of pain. A line of red blooms on the pale white canvas. It is 11:57 pm.
Jax adjusts his suit. He looks over at Marissa. She is sleeping against the window. It is late, he supposes. Shame. He liked the company. He turns his eyes back to the road. It is dark. Jax hates driving at night, but he would do anything for Marissa. It is 12:00 pm.
Enrique is back in the car. He is driving. A bottle is in his left hand. He takes a swig from it. His wrist stings. He glances at it. Fourteen red lines stand out. It makes him feel good. Enrique drinks more from the bottle. It tastes like fire. He looks in his mirror. His tattoos look especially dark. His headlights are still not on. He turns a corner too quickly. His tires screech.
Jax hears a noise. He squints his eyes at the road in front of him. His headlights illuminate an object. It’s another car. Moving fast towards him! Fear strikes in his heart. He feels sick. It is 12:05 am.
Enrique revs the engine. Suddenly, he sees another car. It is coming towards him. It’s headlights are on. Enrique sees the terrified face of the teenage kid in the driver’s seat. The bottle slips from his hand. It smashes on the floorboards. It’s too late to swerve. It is 12:07 am.
Jax twists the wheel hard in an attempt to go around. Marissa wakes up and lets out a piercing scream. There is a sound of rending metal as the cars collide. Jax thinks Well, this is s***.
Enrique Almodovar is thrown through the windshield. He is dead before he hits the ground.
Jax Smith slams his head on the wheel and blacks out. Marissa Gonzalez is hit by the airbag and her neck is broken.
Blue and red lights strip the morbid scene of all mystery. Jax Andrews is the only survivor. He has a severe concussion. He may have permanent brain damage. It is 12:30 pm. Two lives were lost in one hour.
Don’t Drink And Drive!