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Cliffhanger

Living on the edge

By Meredith HarmonPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 3 min read
Top Story - April 2024
25
My poor, poor van! Took on an F-150 for us, lost, but we lived. We were in the Daily Mail.

How did I get here?

Pain – noise – crash – jolt – that peculiar sensation of freefall, the moment before gravity kicks in-

Then the sickening SNAP of being yanked backwards, and grabbing onto the wheel. Dangling in midair. Cold, so cold. Wind, rushing by, chilling my sweat-soaked body.

Car accident, that's right. Gas, brakes, a retaining wall that didn't live up to its name. I squeeze my eyes shut, but not before seeing birds flying below me. Far, far below.

Is it too late to get vertigo?

My neck hurts, a lot. I can't feel my legs. I saw them dangling down there, so much dead weight adding lead to my arms.

My nose itches, and I can't scratch it.

My chest hurts. I can feel blood dripping but I don't know how much. Or where it's going. Or where it's coming from.

That sensation is more than a bit disturbing.

Am I dying?

Then why am I holding on?

My car creaks in the wind. It's a groaning sound, and I can feel the metal shuddering through every part of its mangled frame. I'm sorry, car, you didn't deserve this. You've been a very, very good car. We've had some great times together, haven't we, the trips to the coast, that time in the mountains with that bear and a misplaced sandwich-

Judder. Judder, shudder, mudder fudder. The sensation of metal against raw cement grates through me, another scant centimeter towards oblivion.

The buckle of my broken seat belt smacks against my ribs. That hurt.

I feel blood dripping off my chin. My nose still itches.

It's the little things that get you in the end, isn't it? The urge to let go, to scratch that annoying itch-

Do you ever suddenly wonder where your car door went?

I don't want to look. I don't want to look down.

I wish the screaming would stop.

I'm afraid I'll find out the screaming is coming from me.

Eh, screw it. I'll scream if I damn well want to.

But I don't.

I guess that's not me, then.

Who? What?

Oh, not screaming, sirens. That makes sense.

Those have been going on for a really long time, haven't they?

How long have I been hanging here? It seems like forever.

It seems like nanoseconds.

My arms are so tired.

Drip, drip, drip, drip.

Itch, itch, itch, itch.

The wind is blowing through my hair. Now my scalp itches, too.

Screeeeech, judder. I can't hold to this wheel any tighter.

My arms are numb, too.

That's not good, is it?

Ah, the screaming stopped. I mean sirens. That's a relief. I can hear the wind now, whistling through what's left of the car above me, aside of me.

Now there's shouting! Can't you leave me alone? Must you assault my ears too, when so much else hurts?

Well, I guess it doesn't hurt, come to think of it. Just tingling, and numb, and those blasted itches, and prickles, and drip drip drip driving me mad!

Wait, what did that voice say?

Let. Go?

What?

I guess sneaking a peek wouldn't hurt, would it?

Oh. People gathered, and fire trucks, and the loud voice is a megaphone. I see. Oh and an ambulance, that's nice.

There's my car door. Hi, door. I miss you.

Why is the voice louder? Why does it sound so fearful?

Screeeech, judder, scraaaaape.

Oh.

Can I?

I look again. I shouldn't have. I just saw the damage to my lower half. That doesn't look so good. I shouldn't have-

Let. Go?

Let. Go?

Thud thud thud of helicopter in far distance. You won't make it in time, my whirly friend. The car has tried its best, but it's losing the battle with gravity. As we all do.

I didn't look to see if they had a way to catch me.

Do they use blankets anymore? Or trampolines?

Numb.

Tired.

At least I'll try to scratch that itch, right? Yeah, sure, numb arms won't even let go. Fine motor control won't - was that a pun?

All right, arms. You heard them. Holding on won't save me if the car's about to fall.

Slippy. Sweaty. So, so tired.

Will I get the flashbacks? Can I just get the highlights? I want to see the good parts.

I let go.

Stream of Consciousness
25

About the Creator

Meredith Harmon

Mix equal parts anthropologist, biologist, geologist, and artisan, stir and heat in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, sprinkle with a heaping pile of odd life experiences. Half-baked.

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Comments (15)

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  • Christy Munson3 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Annieabout a month ago

    love this. well written and thought out!

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    This is so good, that itch makes it.

  • Eddiereaderabout a month ago

    Great tekst

  • Kodahabout a month ago

    Congrats on top story! 💌

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    I hope this is just a made up story because it felt scarily real to me. Fab writing.

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    DOUBLE cliffhanger - great job!!! Congrats on TS.

  • The Writer about a month ago

    Congratulations!!!

  • D. D. Leeabout a month ago

    I felt every bit of this. I love the way the title serves as a double entendre. Congrats on Top Story!

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a month ago

    Scary stream of consciousness very visceral

  • Great almost poetic take on the challenge

  • Teresa Rentonabout a month ago

    Oh wow! This is amazing Meredith. The sensory details bring this to life and the rush of broken thoughts are so realistically presented here. I love the injection of humour in places e.g. Hi, door. I miss you. I hope you’re okay? It all sounds terrifying 😱

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    Meredith, are you okay? This was terrifying. Are you dangling somewhere in your car? Because it's stream of consciousness, it's difficult to tell exactly what's going on but that just adds to the realism of it. Great writing!

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Fantastic!!! Wonderfully written!!!❤️❤️💕

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