Accident on Boneo Road
A short story from Mark published as a blog.
Author: Mark Seymour.
Date: 14 September 2009.
Original URL: http://www.markseymour.com.au/blog/?p=18
At first she didn’t understand where she was. There was a soft ticking coming from somewhere. It was comforting like the kitchen clock at Grandma’s. “I’ve been napping” she thought. She opened her eyes but she could barely see anything. The night sky glowed from somewhere off to the left. She tried to check the time but couldn’t raise her arm. There was a soft vibration through the seat. For a moment she thought she was in an aeroplane. There was cold air on her right cheek. It didn’t make sense. It was definitely night time. She could hear surf pounding.
Then she came to in a spasm of panic. She tried to lift her head. Pain exploded in her left shoulder then drove up into her skull. She dropped her head back instantly, fully awake now. She remembered the car sliding, Spag laughing and yelling “ride the apex” from the back seat, the Renault screaming as she hit the clutch to change down, the back end sliding. She realized what the vibration was.
The engine was still running.
She tried to look out through the window without turning her head, scanned left, right, up and down, rolling her eyes as far as she could without bringing on the pain again.
Her eyes began to adjust. The steering wheel looked weird. It was twisted to the right, pushing her arm up across her chest. Her hand was pinched between the wheel and her stomach. There was something sticky on the head-rest. She tried to move her head again. As she did there was a soft tearing, then stinging. The pain hit her again but not as hard. “Handle it” she said. She could smell blood. Her cheek was wet with it. She strained her eyes down. Her left hand, the one squashed against the wheel was also covered in blood. Hers. Steam too. She could smell steam.
“Fuck this”, she thought and pushed her body forward but instead, she slipped sideways towards the door and then slid all the way out.. the door was already open.
She hung there in the dark, her mind racing, her right hand dangling in the grass. It was thick and wet between her fingers. She could hear the ocean just over the dunes thundering on the beach. She started groping around with her hand. Why was the engine still running? It was a strange thought.
Then she remembered hitting the bend so fast. There was no time to turn the wheel. The car had gone straight over the edge into the hill where the road turned away from the coast. The turn off to St.Andrews Beach was on the right just around the corner. She knew it well. The hill dropped away fast. She’d made that bend heaps of times.
So how did she lose it? She never lost it. She was a hell driver. Everyone knew that. Then she remembered laughing her head off over some story Spag had been telling about a Mont Eliza chick they knew who’d gone home with a loser musician and they’d both turned up at Frankston Emergency because the chick had a coke bottle inserted in her arse and she couldn’t get it out. “Bullshit” she thought. “There’s no way that’s true.” And even now as she lay there she had another chuckle. “Why am I laughing?” she thought then laughed again. “Must be the drugs” she said out loud, the speed lines they’d done in the toilet back at the Life Saving Club. She was still going off.
“This is full on” she thought and giggled again. “I’m still peaking.”
She was fully awake now. What about the others? She didn’t know their names. They were just a couple of freeloaders who’d scrounged a lift back from Gunnamatta. She only knew Spag.
“Spag!” She called out. “Spag”.
No answer. This was silly.
“Spag! Hey you wally. Are you alright?”
Nothing. She had to get out. She wriggled. Her legs were pressed together under the dashboard. The steering wheel shifted slightly against her knee. She grabbed a handful of the long grass and pulled. Her other hand ached viscously but it came free as her legs shifted.
Then she passed out again.