An eerie silence followed, as if every sound had been swallowed up completely. Luci could only hear the crashing of the waves against the cliff. Luci’s head was stretched backward and all she could see was the tops of the trees as they loomed overhead. The dark shimmering leaves blotted out the night sky but for one patch where the moon shone through. Smoke began to fill the car. She couldn’t see or hear her parents. The smoke was overwhelming and she couldn’t breathe. She was wedged down between the back and front seat trapped in the mangled car. She cried out for her mom and dad, but only heard her own screams echo back to her. She began screaming wildly, terror took hold. She couldn’t stop screaming, She wanted her parents to hear her, to answer her calls, but there was no response, her world was collapsing around her. 

She pushed against the seat and tried to claw her way up from the floor board of the car. She could see that the windows were closed, but the back window where she’d been sitting was broken, She could hear wail of the fire engines coming closer to her. Someone was screaming and crying; it was her own voice, she realized and it terrified her.

She couldn’t see through the stinging smoke, but her hearing became more acute. She heard footsteps sliding down loose dirt and someone was calling out, his voice was spooky thick. Could it be the truck driver coming back, she wondered. Soon there were more footsteps clamoring nearby. She heard the loud whoosh of a forceful spray of water against the metal of the car. “Hello, can anyone hear me?” A man with a deep voice said. “Again he cried out, is there anyone in the car?”

Luci was whimpering; she couldn’t get any air into her lungs. When she took a breath, she coughed and gasped from the heavy smoke that sought to keep her down. Just then, a burly firefighter hear her crying and reached through the back seat window, ripped out the seat cushion that was trapping her down, and gently lifted Luci out of the car..

Luci’s face was scratched and bloody from the tree limbs that had crashed through the windows. Silent tears ran down her cheeks, mixing with the earth that has smudged her perfect baby face. “I need my mom and dad. Where’s my mom and dad?” she cried out.

“Hush, sweet heart, we’ll take everyone to the hospital. Look, I found a teddy bear, is it yours?” the firefighter asked.

Hitting him with all her strength she yelled, “I want my mom and dad, where are they?” she screamed through a flood of tears. Ignoring her anger, the firefighter handed Luci her teddy bear. Slipping and falling, he made his way slowly through the loose debris, and holding Luci tight to his chest, climbed up the steep hill to the crest of the road.

Luci held Teddy tight against her chest. The firefighter turned to glance behind him. The Olds had just missed flying over that cliff.”

 Luci snuggle her head up against the firefighter’s chest, finding comfort in the rhythm of his beating heart. She soon feel fast asleep. At the ridge top, he gently place her in the care of the EMT’s who quickly whisked her away in the ambulance to the Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital. Luci drifted in and out of consciousness.

Luci continued to drift in and out of consciousness, lost in fast-paced flashbacks of her parents, memories of her favorite family adventures swimming in her dreams.

 

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