Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by James












Waves from the ocean below crashed violently against the cragged rocks that they shaped with each unforgiving swell, erupting into a splash of salty mist. Mixed with the cold night air and menacing fog, the ocean was invisible except for that mist. The tiny droplets lightly fell onto Peter’s bare arm as it hung out of his driver’s side window, his hand grazing the wet grass where his

car had come to rest.

A twinge of pain stabbed at him above his left eye and the taste of a metallic, unsettling substance pooled in the corner of his mouth, blood. Stagnant liquor remained on his breath, making his stomach churn. Peter felt the mist as it drifted up from the ocean below and swirled around the wreckage of what remained of his BMW. The exposed engine and muffler hissed as the water vapors made contact with the hot metal. Aside from those sporadic hisses and the waves meeting the rocks on the shore below him, Peter’s world was quiet.


He tried to inch along the ceiling of the black sports car, using what strength he had left to grip the crippled metal that was now the door frame. Each movement felt like it could be his last. Unbearable pain and heat shot through his legs, his arms, and boiled into a rush of nausea as it reached his eyes. His eyes felt heavy and his vision didn’t align with his brain. Peter let go of the metal frame, closed his eyes and tried to recollect his thoughts. He felt the night air become warmer, then colder, then warmer once more. Another surge of pain along his left eye shocked Peter like a volt of electricity, forcing him to open his right eye into the dark night again. The nausea persisted, antagonizing an approaching headache.

The previous moments of the night that led up to his current predicament evaded his mind. His memory was gone, the pain was consuming it. Peter reached out his hand, rubbing it along the blades of wet grass. It sent a hint of relief, momentarily calming him. It was the only thing that reminded him that he wasn’t dead yet, that and the constant pain that had grown around his left


The waves continued to crash across the shore and as the sound of water thundered up the ragged cliffs only feet away, his memory started to gather.

Peter again tried to pull himself closer to freedom, this time with a bit of success. The brittle glass from his window pricked his stomach as he slithered across it and brought his upper torso to rest on the wet grass and dirt. Peter refused to move anymore, the pain in his body was too much. Instead, he laid there and listened to the water soothingly erupt into the rocks.

He turned his head to the side and again, another jolt of pain shot down his spine, this time bringing a mixed taste of blood and vomit into his mouth. Peter opened his right eye, coming face to face with a pine tree. His memory slowly started to warm up. The tree was familiar, very familiar.

Peter reached out and rubbed his finger tips along the tree trunk. The splintered wood sent an aroma of sap and pine into his nose. The tree bled just like he, the only victims of his crash.

Wait! Crash…

His memory was becoming clearer now. Peter let his hand drop again and he closed his eye. He remembered glimpsing down at the speedometer as he shifted along the hair pin highway. The damn thing read 95. He knew he was doing more.

The pain intensified around his left eye, swelling with a burst of heat. He couldn’t open it anymore. His vision was blurred, faded red from sweat and blood.

Peter continued to run through the events in his mind.

Going into the turn, I down shifted, then I looked at the speedometer. That’s it, yea, shift, speed. The seconds slowed to minutes as he analyzed his steps.

The pain was constant now, not giving up to even let him open his good eye.

So what happened?

The question gnawed at him as he tried to hold his stomach from regurgitating the blood and vomit that he had again swallowed.

The tires. I miscalculated the tires, too wide in the turn. Peter began to feel nauseated again.

“I caught the edge of the road. It grabbed my tires. I was in the air, then

the tree.”

Peter tried to lift his hand toward the broken pine tree but couldn’t gather the strength. His concentration was depleting and the headache that had formed started to beat against the back of his skull like a jagged stone.

The ocean waves continued to pound against the cliffs and again everything else in Peter’s world was silent. The hissing from the engine had stopped and as he fell in and out of consciousness, he used the sound of the waves to tell himself that he was still alive.

The cool grass hugged his face and hands, beginning to make him shiver. His body lost the warmth it had left, making Peter cold and numb from the onset of hypothermia. His mind was failing to gather a clear thought and delusion was starting to kick in. He had never been in shock before this, never been to the doctor, never broken a bone and now, he was dying. He was passing through this world and not a person around was going to stop him or save him. It was the only thought that ran alongside his pain, no one cared if he came or went. Not a bothered soul would blink twice if Peter Conroy’s obituary sat tucked within the rest of the lonely dead of the San Francisco Chronicle. If they didn’t care, why should he?

His mind started to fade deeper into the unconscious. His body continued to shiver, harder now, exposed to the unrelenting torture of the cold night. Peter was dying and he invited the burden with open arms.

What had led him to this point would make sense if he were to live.

The throbbing around his eye had begun to move down his jaw line then dissipate entirely. Peter kept his eye closed and waited for his final breath to leave his body.

Thoughts of his past played back in his mind, relieving his headache. His gift was his memory, vivid pictures guided by motion. He hated it. He hated to remember those pictures because they were never happy to him. They were the pictures that horrified him. But it didn’t matter now, those pictures would soon disappear like the life that he had led, the life that was his career. The career that had become his only reason to live, the career that had brought him to rest on the wet grass, listening to the ocean below.

Warmth consumed his body, tingling as if he were being pricked with a thousand tiny needles. Peter opened his right eye again, looking out into the dark night. The road was faintly visible from where he lay, reflecting a glistening path of black pavement.


His eye was fixed on the highway, bare and empty at this time of night. Maybe if he prayed before he died, maybe someone would find his corpse slumped over and half way out of his car. He wouldn’t be left to deteriorate and decompose under the elements. If only he was so lucky. Peter stayed fixed on the road, waiting for something or someone to come. He forgot about his neck, accidentally lifting his head to try to reposition himself. A sharp volt of pain tore at his upper spine and spread across his ribs as if they were being peeled away from his lungs one by one, stealing his breath away.

He closed his eye and fell back to the grass. Suddenly his throat began to constrict, stealing away his air supply. His jaw started to shake and a lump formed in the pit of his stomach. Peter’s body ached and his muscles tightened from the unbearable cold.

Peter tried one last time to open his eye with no avail. It was his time. Peter knew he was slipping away from his body. The pain had disappeared again and his thoughts were clearer, refined with a sense of focus. The mistakes he had made to get to that point would haunt him no longer. The obsession to get to the top would never be an issue again.

Peter opened his hands and ran his palms along the soft ground. The nerves in his fingers came alive as they drifted over the pieces of wet grass. His senses lacked the element of sight and as his breathing began to slow, his ears followed the calm of the night air. His hands closed over the clumps of grass and he hugged the dirt under his body as if the world was going to turn upside down.

Peter opened his mouth and smiled. Soothing euphoria had taken hold of his body and he felt tired, heavy with the need for sleep.

The sound of the ocean began to pull farther away, quieting his sense of hearing. The air itself even seemed to thicken and humidify a bit more. Heat took hold and covered his entire body like a wool blanket as Peter felt himself grow heavier and heavier. He released his grasp on the blades of grass and let his hands relax on top of them.

Peter’s mouth remained open but the smile had quickly faded. His expression was plain, dumfounded and empty.

His thoughts had ceased and his body lay motionless.

Peter was gone.

© 2013 James

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Very intense! Even though I don't know much about Peter, I want to know why he was so unhappy and what comes next. Excellent descriptions! I could picture every agonizing moment.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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Added on May 5, 2013
Last Updated on May 5, 2013



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