Out of Harm’s Way: A short story written by my daughter Nichelle Harris
“Tick tick tick tick.” The sound of Bethany’s pencil hitting the edge of her desk matched the faint sound of the second hand on the clock, breaking the silence in the quiet, yet impatient classroom. Everyone with their bags in hand waited for the bell to rang to finally leave school to a three day weekend. The bell finally rang and everyone lifted from their seats in a rush and tried to hurry to the door to the lumbering yellow beast ready to take them home.
Bethany quietly waited behind and zipped up her coat. Making sure the cold, winter winds of Pennsylvania were blocked out by her puffy coat. She hurled her back pack over her shoulder and made her way around the desks to the door.
“Have a great weekend Bethany, stay warm!” Mrs. Wood Bethany’s Algebra teacher waved her off. “You too Mrs. Wood.” Bethany called out behind her as the door closed.
She rummaged around in her coat pocket trying to feel for her ear buds amongst the gum wrappers and pencil top erasers she stored in there. Finally feeling the wire around her finger she grabbed and pulled them out making her way down the school hallway seeing the number of kids slowly lesser. She stopped at the end of the hall to two big doors that opened up to freedom. She grabbed her iPod from her back pocket and plugged her ear buds in, pressing play she zoned out of the real world, all the kids chattering about weekend plans and the horns from parents and buses were gone as Cat Empire played through her ears.
She walked to the edge of the curb waiting for her dad to pull up.
“Hey Beth!” Amanda waved in the distance running over to her. “Have any plans this weekend?
Amanda playfully pulled out one of Bethany’s earbuds and repeated herself.
“Uh, no. Just staying home with my dad as usual. How about you?” She looked at Amanda hoping she would let go of her ear bud.
“Yea, I’m going to New York City.” Amanda announced as if she were proud to be going to such a
Bethany smiled seeing her dad’s black Ford in the distance.
“Well, be safe there’s supposed to be a bad snow storm tonight.” Amanda recalled and trotted off, hurrying onto her bus.
Bethany sighed happily as her father pulled up to the curb and unlocked the door. She got in the passenger side and set her bag on her lap.
“You look extra happy.” Her dad examined Bethany’s smile.
“You pulled up at the right time, thanks.” She pulled the seat belt over her noticing a split in the belt, and clicked it in.
Her father smirked and turned the car out of park and pulled off.
As time passed it began to snow fiercely building on top of the snow that had already packed down covering the ground from nights before. A clear view out the window of big green Eastern Hemlocks sprinkled with snow were swept away by a wind burst of snow flakes. The road was covered in a thick blanket of snow within minutes.
Bethany’s dad breathed in sharply and turned on his high beams and the windshield wipers. He gripped the steering wheel tightly and moved up in his seat. Bethany turned off her music and pulled out her ear buds looking out the windshield, trying to peer through the snow and see anything besides white.
“It’s alright we will be home safe and sound.” Her dad spoke in a calm voice reassuring her. He slightly swerved to one side then quickly yanked the wheel back. Bethany gasped and gripped her bag.
“Dad? Is everything okay?” She looked at him worried. He turned his head,
“Yes don’t worr” suddenly before he could finish his sentence a large yellow sign with the deer symbol on it appeared in site, as Bethany’s dad slammed his foot on the breaks the tires slid atop of the snow and ice on the road losing control. The car smashed in the sign at full speed, he tried to use his arm and put it across Bethany’s chest to try and keep her safe. But the force of the hit was to strong and Bethany’s seat belt broke at the split and she flew through the windshield. The glass broke and shattered as she went through it bashing her arm into the sign before she plopped onto the cold ground. Bethany’s father was jerked forward and his head smashed against the steering wheel as the air bag popped out.
The grill of the car was crumbled and bent as smoke arose from the engine. The sign was implemented into the front of car and snow still fell from the sky. Uninterrupted, snowflakes gracefully glided against the air piling on top of Bethany’s body. Her body lay as if it were lifeless. Before the reaper could take her away she opened her eyes slightly and coughed out blood, groaning in pain. Bethany tried to lift herself up with her arm but couldn’t feel it.
“Dad!” She coughed out more blood as the word left her bloody mouth. “Dad!” Bethany called over and over hoping desperately for a response. Her dad heard the faint calls as he awoke with a splitting headache. He turned his head not seeing Bethany is the seat beside him.
“Beth?!” He called out. He unbuckled himself getting out of the car feeling his head ache.
“Beth?!” He called out once more trying to see through the snow.
“DAD?!” Bethany yelled back.
“Beth!!! Where are you?!” His eyes widened and he searched for her.
“Dad, here, I’m over here.” she groaned. Bethany’s dad turned his head seeing the yellow sign with blood splatted on the corner. He looked down seeing red spots in the bright white snow. Afraid to what he will find he saw Bethany’s light blue puffy coat. He rushed over to her and tried to push her over to see her face. She groaned louder in pain as he turned her. Her face was red from the cold of the snow and blood trickled from her busted lip.
“Oh Beth!” He wrapped his arms around her hugging her tight. He felt something warm soak into the sleeve of his long sleeved shirt. He looked down over her shoulder and saw blood. He pulled back and examined Bethany. Just when everything seemed okay, He noticed Bethany’s right arm. The sleeve of her puffy coat was ripped and something was poking out. He lightly touched it and Bethany flinched. It was her bone.
When she flew out the windshield her right arm smashed into the side of the sign, breaking it and bending it back at her elbow. Her forearm only attach by a few strand tendons and ripped skin lay dead in the sleeve of her coat. Bethany’s father stood with her still in his arms. He looked down into her sad brown eyes and brushed her damp brown hair out of her face. He held her close to him as they walked to the side of the rode. Bethany shivered and whimpered.
“It’s going to be okay, I got you now.” Bethany’s dad comforted her hoping to see headlights from a car. He slowly walked up the rode holding Bethany close to him making it through against the harsh snow. Bethany looked up and in the distance she could see two faint lights. She pointed with her left hand and her dad followed her finger and looked.
“Oh thank goodness.” He sighed. He waved his hand in the air to try and catch the drivers attention. They pulled up. “Please, help us, take us to the hospital.” Her dad pleaded to the driver. The driver let them in and they were off.
A day later Bethany lie in a warm hospital bed, the beeps of the monitors beside her brought her back from a distant sleep. She felt the cold touch of finger tips caress her cheek. She slowly opened her eyes seeing her father in sight.
“Hi honey.” Her father looked down at her solemnly. Bethany tried to reach her arm up to touch him. But when she did she gasped at what she saw. She gasped again and looked up at her dad then screamed.
“Beth, calm down please. It’s okay.” He tried to calm her and make sure she didn’t act wild.
“How is it okay?! My ARM IS GONE!” She yelled as she tried to get out of the bed.
“No, Beth, you need to rest you lost a lot of blood. Please.” Her father put his hands on her shoulders as she tried to get up.
“NO! My arm! It’s gone! It’s…it’s…” She was at a loss for words as tears poured out her eyes.
Bethany’s father grabbed her and pulled her close to his torso hugging her as she cried into his shirt. He stroked the back of her head letting his fingers glide through her soft brown hair.
Bethany opened her eyes and suddenly she wasn’t in the hospital. She was standing on the curb outside of her school.
“Bethany? Did you hear me?” Amanda tapped Bethany’s shoulder to get her attention. Bethany snapped back to reality and looked at Amanda confused.
“I said be safe, there’s going to be a bad storm.” Amanda said again and left for her bus.
Bethany stood there confused wondering what had just happened. Her father pulled up to the side of the curb and unlocked the door smiling at her. She got in still with an odd, confused look on her face.
“Everything alright?” Her father looked over at her.
“Uhm, yea I just saw something weird. But can we stop at Nana’s house and stay there for the night? It’s just around the corner.” Bethany asked.
“Sure, why?” Her dad sat back waiting for an explanation.
“There’s going to be a bad storm and I don’t want us to be caught in it.” Bethany looked up at the sky watching as it began to slowly snow.
“Okay, off to grandmother’s house we go.”
By Nichelle Harris
If you loved this story please comment below letting Nichelle know and she will continue to write more short stories for my readers. We hope to do one a week if we get enough feedback.