BARRY Gibb was still singing. He was telling her she was living in a world of fools. The clamor’s abrupt end hit her as a plunge underwater. The silver swarm evaporated into the fabric of the stretched cotton.
Her lungs supped a juddering breath. Her ears tuned into the hiss of the rain outside. The Bee Gees number had not yet finished. How could it be that the entire episode had lasted but a morsel of a three-minute song? She dare not lift her head. She blinked slowly and faced the prospect.
Her body no longer felt hers. She had to learn what she could and could not use all over again. No pain, no pain, just numbness, a disembodiment. She wasn’t dead.
Nancy’s vision flickered into focus. She took in the view. The sight presented confounded and disturbed her. The planes of the cab appeared to have been sucked inwards by the force of a vacuum. Panels jutted at crazy pleats; fissures scarred the windows. Her enclosure resembled a glacial cave. The seats in front had been driven backwards leaving only a foot of clearance from her knees. The engine had cut but the single headlight produced a grim theatre. Shards diffused light over contorted objects that conspired to trick the eye. A subconscious insistence made her glance down. A black fluid had sprayed her skirt. She sneered like a child at the sight of a fat worm in the garden. Stupidly, she gawped at her hands. Why hadn’t she been aware of this…this slick?
She turned her hands over and over but they gave nothing away. Warm, syrupy, sticky. Nancy reared back. She flapped her palms against the seat beneath her. She could feel no pain, she could find no wound. The source of the blood continued to elude. Somehow, this troubled her more than the sight of a gash.
There has to be something. Perhaps a nick, a scratch? Why was the scratch hiding from her? Where was it? The fabric of her skirt slapped against her flesh as she peeled the hem from her thighs. No pain, no pain, legs unfurling, legs working. Could this be the shock?
A black silhouette at the periphery of her vision prodded her consciousness. She knew the instant before she locked eyes with the sight that Leon was dead.
Above the line of his headrest, Leon’s pate protruded. His right ear should have formed the apex but a ragged piece of flesh took its place. The cant of his head insisted his neck must be broken. A section of the mainframe enfolded the steering wheel. Part of it had clashed with his chest. From here, she couldn’t be sure. Had the airbag gone off?
Where was Leon’s ear?
Where was Leon’s ear?
Nancy seized the door handle. A film of blood coalesced at her fingertips. Her tongue grew thick in her mouth and her breaths condensed upon the window. Fractured glass closed her in. Vividly she comprehended another self on the outside looking in. Blood smeared the glass as she wiped the condensation with the palm of her hand. The limo was a tomb. The only object of colour was her face looking out into the rain. She could not hear herself. She was wiping the window but her hand made no sound. Her breaths made no sound. Only the hiss of the rain.
Someone was watching her from behind. She could see his reflection in the window. Nancy’s pulse nudged at her throat as the cab swam around her. Vince was gazing at her. A sickly sheen coated his face. His pallor matched that of the stretched cotton on the ceiling. The weight of his eyelids implied desire…or hatred.
‘How deep is your love?’ the next bar seemed to speak on his behalf.
His pupils burrowed into her.
He really needs to learn…
The moment entranced her in the most repugnant way. Beneath him, the unit had collapsed into his leg space. The fate of his feet made a grim speculation. The seat and the unit’s fascia formed a vice where his knees had become clamped. The rotation of his right kneecap made no sense.
He was still looking at her.
Guilt clouted her in a riptide – guilt for her unscathed status, guilt for her sorrow over a bloodied dress, guilt for having the exclusive power to walk from this prison.
At least Leon felt no pain.
Movement drew her eye. Tramlines in the leather seat tapered from Vince’s fingernails. Woollen innards pushed through the membrane. Gouge, gouge, gouge. She bear not contemplate this small outlet for the agony he must be feeling. His other hand kneaded the skin just above the collar.
Why doesn’t he say anything?
Gravel from the overpass drummed the roof of the car. Her synapses recoiled. But nothing from Vince; he continued in a mindless quest to expose more of the seat’s innards as though his shoulders where prohibited of any other movement.
He wasn’t making a sound.