My 500 words — Someone else’s story.

OK, so this really is a story. I couldn’t think of someone I know to write about. But, as I sit here in my lounge, there is a car parked under my window. It belongs to a young man who, every day, gets in his car and forgets to do something very important. Here’s my interpretation of what could happen to him one day.


Every morning, a young man would leave his home and travel by car to his work. He was only nineteen and had been working in an office for about a year. Only recently he’d passed his driving test, so, after purchasing a shiny new car, he was able to drive himself to work. No more buses for him. He was a confident driver, always offering friends a lift from place to place. But he did have a few bad habits that were working into his daily driving style. He had a heavy right foot, and had almost gone through a few speed cameras on roads he wasn’t familiar with. His dad had told him when he passed his test that he should treat every driver around him like they were an idiot. “You have to think for them, son. It’s a dangerous world out there — there are lots of irresponsible people driving around.” The young man, still with his test certificate on his lap, heeded his father’s words. But then… You get up late one morning. You might do 40mph in a 30mph, just to shave off a few minutes. Or you might leave the petrol station without putting on your seatbelt. “I’m only going down the road” You say. “I’ll be in the car less that ten minutes.”

One damp afternoon, the bright young man got a call from his girlfriend, asking if she could stay the night at his house. Mum and Dad agreed, and he left the house to pick her up. Jumping in his car, he wobbled the gear sick to make sure it wasn’t in gear, he turned the ignition key and he checked his right wing mirror. Yes, all the checks a good driver should carry out. He pulled out of his road and made the twenty minute journey to his girlfriend’s house. There was a little bit of dual carriageway to negotiate on the way, and feeling confident he put his foot down somewhat. It had started to drizzle and he switched on his lights and wipers. Turning off the dual carriageway, he was now coming to a country road. It was bendy, twisty and hilly, but he enjoyed the challenge. The rain was steadily getting heavier, and he turned his wipers up a notch. As he had only been wearing a t-shirt, he was starting to feel a bit chilly and looked down to turn his A/C up.

As he accelerated through the blind bend, he didn’t see what was about to happen. An elderly man was cycling slowly along the road. He had a hi-vis jacket on that the young man did not see. He had flashing lights that the young man did not see. Before the young, confident driver could react, a crunch and a heavy thud could be heard inside the car. A screeching of tyres, a smashing of glass, the hissing of steam and the dripping of bood.

It was a quiet road, so it took a good fifteen minutes before someone happened upon the scene. Though nothing had moved in all that time. Nobody was clock-watching. The elderly man, sprawled along the grassy verge, lay motionless. His hair, peppered with leaves from the tree above him. His chest rose and fell shallowly. This man was cycling home with the ingredients for tonight’s anniversary supper, a small posy of hand-picked wildflowers poking out of his bike bag. They would never make it onto the kitchen table now.

The young man sat still in his seat. Even if he’d wanted to, he couldn’t have seen what lay in front of his car. A huge spider-web of smashed glass circled the windscreen. A pinky-red colour quickly made its way down through each shard of the glassy web, sheidling the mess in front of him. He still had one hand on his gear stick, his lights were still on. From his head, blood dripped slowly but steadily onto the bridge of his nose. From there, it dropped onto his t-shirt and trickled into his lap. He had a new emptiness in his bright eyes.

And the scene soon became busy. Shouting, reassuring of a patient, the clack of trollies the sirens, and the cutting of metal could be heard. Drivers were diverted away from the incident and unwelcome Liason Officers were invited into two homes.

“I’m afraid he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.”

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