Turning toward Luci, her dad perked up. “Wow, you look like a princess in your new dress Sugar Pops.”

Dad stop calling me that,” she giggled. “I ‘m almost nine and none of my friends have nick names like Sugar Pops.”

Her mom walked into the living room where Luci and her dad were talking. “Here’s Teddy your little bear, Luci. He keeps a secret safe within him so always keep him close,” her mom reminded her.

On her eighth birthday Luci’s mom gave her the teddy bear. All of the kids in the neighborhood had this teddy bear and Luci had begged for one. The bears came in blue, purple, or pink and all had a heart inside. She had watched from behind her mom’s bedroom door as her mom pulled out the heart and placed an old key inside the bear. Luci never let on that she knew what the Bear had hidden deep inside.

Taking hold of her bear, Luci jumped into the backseat of her Dad’s shiny new Oldsmobile. She loved its blue with white leather seats. She inhaled deeply; soaking in the scent of the new car.

Smiling, her Dad put the car into gear and off they headed to The Le Normandie Restaurant, just off Highway 1, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Her parents were laughing and singing a song written by Bo Diddley song, they are so out of date, Luci thought. What she wouldn’t give to be listening to the Beatles.

As they drove along the cliffs edge, Luci peer out the window and see the green trees and the sprouting of orange California Poppies sprinkled along the mountainside of the Pacific Ocean.

“Hey, Sugar Pops, take a look at the beautiful Pacific Ocean and the silent golden dish falling behind the ocean, her dad said with a grin.

Luci closed her eyes and felt the warmth of the sun penetrating her eyelids. The sun always followed her; sometimes she felt magical, like she could control the sun and  do anything while in the spotlight,.

But she was growing up and her childhood dreams had to be pushed aside. She answered, “Oh Dad, really?  I’m taking geography and Christopher Columbus would never have sailed the ‘ocean blue’ if he thought he was going to fall off.”

 Her dad wasn’t listening. She could see panic in his eyes as he glanced back in the rearview mirror. “Monica, I can’t slow down, the breaks aren’t working.” Luci watched from the back seat as her Dad’s strong hands gripped the wheel of the car. His knuckles were turning white and she watched in horror as his face turned ashen.

He to pumped the brakes over and over, but the Olds wasn’t slowing down. A sharp turn around the edge of the mountainside lay ahead.

Monica screamed, “Yank back on the gear shift!” Her eyes widened as she spotted a big rig up ahead, the sheer cliffs falling down toward the Pacific on her right.

“I can’t, I tried, the car is speeding up and I’m losing control,” her father yelled. Luci suddenly felt a wave of ice-cold fear as she heard her mother’s screams. Her father reached around to the back seat and pushed Luci down to the floorboard of the car. Suddenly, their brand-new car slammed into the back end of a semi- truck and careened and as if in slow motion, down an embankment. Luci could hear glass breaking, as tree limbs sliced through the windows. The car bounced and twisted down the mountain, jolting Luci around as she crouched close to the floor, hanging on to Teddy, And then, one loud bang as the car slammed into something sold. The sound reverberated and echoed against the mountain, forcing Luci to cover her ears.