I planned to just ditch her out there, ya know.
Leave her in the snow to think about what she’d done. For how she’d embarrassed me. How she’d wronged me. How she’d CHEATED.
I didn’t want to confront her. Didn’t expect her to confess. I was just going to leave her in the freezing cold.
But, as you know, things sort of escalated from there.
I’d never been to Green Peak in winter before then, only summer and spring. Everyone went there though; Rec stuff throughout the week, families on weekend days, couples on weekend nights. But in January, hardly anyone ever went. White Peak is what they called it in January, because of the snow. And there was so much of it. The drive was a twenty-mile trek through woods and a ten-mile hike up and around the edge of a mountain. The park was at the top, hence the peak. I was used to the drive, but I was not prepared for the ice.
I played it cool, didn’t say a word, and pretended that everything was okay. I was never a good liar though. By the time we hit the mountain, I think she was on to me. The story of her and her sister fighting with their cousins at a family reunion stopped out of nowhere and she began with the small talk. She sucked at small talk.
But, I listened, and nodded, and responded with some small talk of my own. Didn’t take but five minutes on the mountain to realize that I was slowly losing control of the vehicle. The small talk stopped. The car slid one way, then the other, sort of kissed the mountain’s hip before it rubbed against the railing that separated the mountain road from death. Finally, the car slowed and I regained control of the wheel.
We laughed about it, after we shat our pants of course. She told me to slow down, I fucking told myself that too.
Oops, can I say fuck here? I’m sorry.
So, yeah, close freaking call. But not enough for me to stop, so I kept on. Slower of course.
I’d never driven over snow before, especially ice. My car didn’t have four-wheel drive and I didn’t have chains. And thinking about it now, I vaguely remember a sign at the bottom of the mountain that said something about caution. But that’s now. Then, I was stuck on that revenge course.
I drove slowly but as we climbed, the road steepened. And when I pushed on the gas pedal, I lost control again, forever. The car slid backwards, smashed into the mountain side, rammed through the railing and we went over.
I tell you, I hated everything about that car until then. A hand-me-down from my older sister; a yellow slug-bug. The color, the size, the horrible sound it made when it fought to the top of the peak, it was all-around trash, that thing. But it was my only car. And if other options were available to me, I’d much rather kick the thing off the cliff than drive another second in it. But this small car, this beautiful bug, it saved our lives.
We went over the cliff and a tree branch caught the bumper. We were dangling over hundreds of feet of free air.
Between the both of us, we sat still, kept quiet. Must’ve been two—maybe three minutes before either of us even looked at each other.
Too scared to cry. Too stiff to move.
When a small piece of the branch snapped and we dropped a few feet, we both screamed out the eff word. Don’t know about her, but everything else left my mind. We had to get out of the car to climb up the branch if we were to go on living.
Thankfully her window was already rolled down. “Okay, we have to stay calm, alright? Best thing we need to do is relax.” Pretty sure I was the one freaking out most. “As slow as you can, climb out the window and grab that branch right there. I’m right behind you.”
She climbed out and crawled up the hood to the branch and successfully hung on to it.
I was a bit clumsier than she was. Think I tripped over the gear shift and the car shook a little. She called me dumbass. I agreed. But I moved on, out the window, up the front of the car and next to her.
“What now?” she asked me.
Side by side, we stood on the bumper that clung to the vines of the branch.
The branch was big but too narrow for both of us to fit. The plan was for me to boost her up so she could sit on the branch, then from her feet, jump and grab a piece of the broken railing so she could pull herself to freedom. Then I’d go next.
No time to ponder on it though or think of any other ways, whatever sound we heard coming from the car and the branch didn’t sound pleasant. So, I gave her a boost and she pulled herself up and sat on the branch.
When she stood and nothing happened, I knew we would make it.
But then she jumped. The car moved violently. So much, I almost slipped off, but I kept hold.
“I almost caught it,” she said about the railing. “Should I keep going? The car might drop.”
The car was gonna fall, and she was speeding up the process. But she was right there, almost had it. I cheered her on. “No, it’s stuck pretty good on this branch. We’re fine.” Lies. “You got this.”
And she jumped and caught it.
But the car dropped, my grip failed, and that’s how I ended up Here.
Quite a surprise, really, but I won’t complain.
Just tell me she made it off that mountain. Tell me she’s okay.
copyright © M. Sydnor Jr.
As with most of my short stories, they come from personal experience, and this one is no exception. Although, I am still kicking, I foolishly drove through a snowstorm in a regular ass vehicle and almost slid off a cliff, but a fence saved my life. I love the snow, but I haaaaate driving in the snow.
The goal was to hit exactly 1k words with this short story. But after a quick edit, I think I may be a few words short or over. Anyways, I hope enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing.