Head Trauma

prompt: start in the middle

Tonya felt her skull pinch down on…

What was she doing? A second ago…

The sense of certainty was beginning to drain out. In front of her, a big, white pillow with blood splashed down the bottom. Her lower lip was warm, something salty was pooling in front of her teeth.Her head rested back. Liquid ran down to the back of her jaw, around her tongue and down her throat.

The taste. She knew that taste.

It was only a few months on the job. She didn’t make the handcuffs tight enough. The suspect slipped through. One punch…

He had gotten away, too.

Breathing in, Tonya felt seatbelt holding her back, cutting into her breast and her ribcage as it did. Her hands had begun looking for the release already. Her blood collected at the bottom of the airbag. Along the seam it grew into a big, pregnant bulge about to burst and fall.

She wasn’t in uniform. She wasn’t a cop anymore.

Her door opened. White light blinded her left eye until a dark figure stepped in. “Are you okay?” Tonya looked around the car. She could see it was empty, but asked if there was anyone else in there just to be sure. “Ma’am, are you okay?”

Tonya clumsily dropped her left foot out of the car and onto the asphalt.

“Ma’am, you should stay in your car. Someone is calling 911 now.”

She stumbled out of the car and into the street, broken glass cutting into her left palm.

“Ma’am, you need to–”

“Jesus Christ,” she heard someone else say. “Someone call the police.” The crowd gasped and shifted back. Tonya felt the space around her grow.

Over her shoulder, she saw the car, the one that crossed the barrier of her right headlight and buried itself into her engine. Her memory seemed to clear. The driver leaned right, getting out of the way or protecting someone?

Maybe she wasn’t clear yet.

“Ma’am, maybe you should you put the gun down.”

Tonya noticed the weight in her hand. She looked down the road, past the intersection filling onlookers and cars navigating around the accident. Down the road, she could see it growing small, a red sedan too small for detail… except the ones she had committed to memory at ninety miles an hour down the highway.

License plate 4GHL892, Chrysler Lebaron, dead break light, and her son watching from the backseat.


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