ShatteredMature

Laughter falls over a persistent electronic beat as the vehicle coasts through the night, hugging the road close as it flies over hilltops and around smooth bends in the asphalt. The night sky swivels overhead like a disco ball, and the passengers gaze from the windows with wide pupils and vertigo smiles, their minds brimming with the buzz of conversation.

A sharp corner tugs on their light bodies and their hearts jump as sudden blinding lights fill the vehicle. Rubber screeches on liquid pavement, and the world squeals out of control like a firecracker. Everything explodes.

Glass shatters in their faces, the frame of the vehicle snaps like a mousetrap, gravity pops like a spring, and the pain and fear is hotter than the flames that leap into existence. Everything rushes together in a frozen blur and then stillness rocks across reality. Time trickles over their sweating bodies like blood and nothing moves. Nothing can move. Two lives pass away before the sirens arrive in a red light. Arms reach into the wreckage and pull him out. The fresh air is tainted with smoke and burning rubber.

Every detail is vivid but none of it makes sense. The voices are loud and clear, but they answer no questions. The ambulance is blaring and glowing, but it offers no solutions. The fireman’s name is Joshua. The moon is full tonight. The lights of a farmhouse can be seen through an alder copse. The air is chilly. He cannot remember his body or what it feels like.

§

A sleek digital clock counts the minutes while a pale blue fish idly floats in a glowing tank. The room is dark, pristine, cool, and the fake marble floor dances with shimmering aqua. Leather furniture gleams under the light of a flat-screen monitor, and the smoky blue desktop is cast like a stage.

The only sound is the occasional soft click of a mouse or the intake of breath as Jonathan focuses on his work. Time passes gently and evenly until he sits back with a satisfied sigh. He raises his hands behind his head and grins at the computer screen.

His work shines with color and style, proudly presenting a new product on the market. Jonathan is filled with a warm confidence, and he rises to his feet to greet the darkened room with bright eyes. He takes a sip of scotch and contemplates the night.

A sense of belonging grips him tightly and his mind is saturated with thoughts of success and self-worth. It is time for a well-deserved break and a celebration with friends. What more could a man want?

A vehicle pulls into the driveway with the sound of a familiar electronic beat. Jonathan reaches for his jacket.

The End

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