“WATCH OUT!” shrieks a voice from the passenger side of a 2010 Black Ford Mustang. His heart drops. While trying to elude the state patrol car behind them, he realizes the road is curving at a 90-degree angle just as the gauge hits 100 mph. The Mustang has no chance as it flips over, throwing out the driver and trapping the passenger. The mangle mess of fiberglass and metal leaves the passenger upside down and helpless. He can’t help but notice the metallic taste of blood as he swallows the lump forming in his throat. Struggling not to focus on his injuries, he glances around and notices the slow dripping of oil and gas seeping out of the car. He is hit with the pungent fumes as he inhales. Turning his head towards the shattered window, he attempts to fill his lungs with fresh air. In the distance, he can see the driver, his older brother laying completely motionless in the field.
“Ben! Ben!” he screams. No response. He tries to no avail to pry himself from the car. What am I going to do? Is my brother alive? Am I going to survive?
Then he hears the shrill of sirens coming closer. The person that they were trying to evade, becomes an anticipated sight. Instantaneously, a warm sensation rushes over him. Crackling is heard as a fire starts nearby the vehicle. Terror comes upon the passenger as he sees the steady stream of gasoline flowing towards him. “Is this the end?” he thinks.
Then, the officer arrives, and notices Ben laying in the field and goes to check on him. Once the passenger sees the officer, he screams as loudly as his beat-up body would let him, “help, help, I am trapped in the car!”
The officer looks over and realizes the fire is starting to intensify quickly. The officer notices that if it catches over to the next puddle of gas, it will head straight for the car and will set the passenger on fire. He runs straight for his patrol car.
The passenger can see the fire coming closer. Where is the officer is going? he wonders. Panicking, he starts to hyperventilate, “Help! Help! Where are you going? Why are you leaving me to burn to death?” Hearing no response from the officer, hope is starting to dissipate. He starts thinking about his brother Ben, his younger sister Tamera, his father Justin, and his mother Katherine. He wonders, “Why did we try to outrun the police for something so stupid as a measly speeding ticket? Oh yeah, I guess all those empty bottles of beer didn’t help either.”
The fire keeps coming closer. The heat gets hotter. His heart starts pumping faster. Then he looks over and sees the gasoline that is near him catch fire. In a matter of seconds, he knows he will burst into flames and his precious life will be over. He lets out an ear-piercing shriek as he feels his shoulders start to burn. But almost at the same time he starts to feel the flames, he is sprayed with the white dry powder from a fire extinguisher. He sees the feet of the officer and realizes he was safe for now.
The officer senses the fear of the passenger and tries to get his mind off the gravity of the situation. “What is your name?”, asks a calm but serious voice from the officer.
“My name is Kobie”, says the trembling voice of the passenger.
Kobie doesn’t remember much more of the conversation. He starts drifting off into unconsciousness thinking about how his big brother was such a wonderful person. He attended a youth group at a local church. He was always such a polite and helpful person. He always excelled at school and pleased our parents. He was the perfect role model. On the other hand, he also set the bar so high. It was hard to live up to his standard. But, one of the most admirable things he did was look after a younger kid who was picked on and bullied in school. Kobie wonders how this is going to affect that poor boy. Ben meant the world to him as he was the only person that would spend time with him and treat him like a king.
Kobie comes to as he hears sirens at the scene. He can hear voices and screeching as the rescue team works hard to cut him out of the car. There are so many flashing lights, sirens, and people talking, that at times, it doesn’t feel real. It feels like something out of a horrible nightmare. Maybe he will wake up soon and it will be over. Reality sets in with the feeling of terror and anxiety flowing through his body as the EMTs put Kobie into the ambulance. “What about Ben? Is he alive? Is he Okay?” he asks. Nobody would answer at first.
Then one of the EMTs answers, “He is a fighter and is hanging in there, however, he is in critical condition. The next 24 hours will be crucial.”
Kobie hears an ambulance go rumbling away with lights and sirens and knows Ben is in there. He looks at the EMT and asks, “Now what am I going to do? Ben is in this situation because of me. I shouldn’t have been at that party. I shouldn’t have asked him to come get me.”
The EMT looks right into his eyes and says, “Your past decisions have already been made. You can’t change that. But, you can let your next decisions determine how you are going to define the rest of your life.”
As Kobie ponders the statement, the officer that saved his life, comes over and gives a report on Ben. “Kobie,” there was a pause that felt like an eternity, “I received an update on your brother a few minutes ago from the EMTs in the ambulance. They said he will…….”
TO BE CONTINUED….