The gentle sounds of morning were muffled by the rain as it drummed on the roof above her head. There was that initial rush of adrenaline she got with every awakening since she'd lost her sight and her eyes opened without any stimuli. A quick surge of panic before she remembered.
For a moment, Carolyn worried that she had overslept. She snaked one hand out from beneath the comfort of the sheets and extended it to her nightstand, where she waved it in front of the clock, which immediately toned softly, "Seven-fifteen, AM."
She sighed inwardly. Plenty of time to get the kids out of bed and ready for school. She rolled over and snuggled close to her softly snoring husband, Brad, and kissed his perpetually stubbly cheek. She pulled herself from the bed's embrace and walked three steps to her closet door, where her robe hung. She draped it around her shoulders and felt for the bedroom door. Once it was open, she imagined how the hallway would look before her. Joey, seven, was at the end of the hall, fourteen steps for Carolyn. His five year-old sister, Evelyn, slept in the room abutting Joey's. Carolyn counted out thirteen steps, then reached out tentatively. One more step, felt nothing. A flash of frustration followed by another tentative step. She felt Joey's door handle and relief welled up within her, overwhelming the frustration which seemed to be a constant companion these days.
She opened the door and knocked as she poked her head in. She called out to her son, "Joey?" and waited for the telltale sounds of rustling. Instead, a grumbling boy's voice greeted her, "I'm up, I'm up."
"All right. Wake your sister and I'll go down and make you guys breakfast."
The kids were fed and out the door with six minutes to spare before the first bell. The school was just across the street and two blocks away, so the commute was brief. Carolyn, after a quick change into jeans and a tee shirt, heard the squeals of elementary aged children as soon as they closed the front door behind them. She popped the umbrella and she and the two kids huddled close under its safety as they made their way through the deluge.
Evvy rattled on excitedly about a boy in the room next to hers who had given himself a bloody nose while picking it.
"Nuh-uh," Joey interjected, "that's just a rumor made up b y Christina Burgess cuz he wouldn't kiss her!"
Carolyn smiled. Listening to her children's morning scuttlebutt was her daily dose of soap opera she could never get from daytime TV. She thought wistfully how much she missed watching television by Brad's side on their big, oversized couch. It was strange, but she loved his scent most of all; it was ingrained into her brain for all time.
Carolyn was lost in thought and in the back of her head she kept a running count of the steps, when, somewhere behind them, something jangled and made the hair on her neck stand at attention. Her breath caught in her throat even before the sound of the revving engine made it to her ears.
She was only able to say one word, "Guys!" before tires screeched behind her, followed by an odd skidding splash. It sounded to Carolyn like a Slip-N-Slide on sandpaper. Panic made her freeze. Out of habit, her eyes searched for the danger she sensed, but couldn't find it. This increased the level of panic in her, which made her blood turn ice cold.
Four thousand pounds of vehicle caused a massive displacement as it whizzed by the three of them, knocking them to the ground. Almost instantly, there was a huge twisting of tortured metal and exploding glass, followed instantly by a woman's screams.