I was a young man then in the days before cell phones. I was traveling across America on a country road. I could not sleep so I checked out of my cheap motel at 4 a.m. and hit the road. I soon came upon two wrecks at a crossing. One car had t-boned the other car at a high-speed. The front end of a black BMW had its front crushed in and it lay to one side of the road beyond the crossing. A large pale blue pick-up truck with the side of its passenger cab mashed in lay in a ditch turned about-face as a result of the impact.
I stopped, got out of my car and approached the BMW because it was the vehicle nearest to me. I could hear the crickets chirping and water dripping from the smashed radiator. The nauseating smell of radiator fluid, oil and gas-filled the air. There were two matching spider web patterns and blood stains on the front windshield. A young man and young woman laid curled in each others’ embrace as if sleeping. The clean-cut young man was dressed in a cotton checkered shirt and blue jeans. The young woman wore a summer dress with floral patterns.
I tried to open the front driver’s door but it was locked and jammed shut. I banged on the window and then called to them to see if the young man and woman were still alive. They did not move.
I ran to the other car. The man inside looked like an old farmer in overalls, blue jeans and checkered cotton shirt. His grizzled face had two days stubble and he wore a crew cut. He had a macabre toothless smile and his eyes were still open. His right arm was twisted behind his head as if he was trying to shield himself before he was hit. Dried tears streaked his ancient face.
I called to him. I banged on his window. I tried to open his frozen door. I called again but he did not move.
I got back in my car and drove back to the motel. I told the clerk about the accident who called the police and fire department. I drove back to the crossing and waited for the authorities.
Mark Kodama is a trial attorney and former newspaper reporter who lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two sons. He is currently working on Las Vegas Tales, a work of philosophy, sugar-coated with meter and rhyme and told through stories. More than 150 of his short stories, poems and essays have been published in anthologies, including those published by Black Hare Press, Clarendon Publishing House, Eerie River Publishing, Escaped Ink Press and Devil’s Party Press. His stories and poems have appeared in Writers and Readers Magazine, the Academy of Hearts and Mind Magazine, Café Lit, Commuter Lit, Dastaan World Magazine, Dissident Voice, Jakob’s Horror Box, Indie’s Nest, Inner Circle Writers’ Group Magazine, Literary Yard, Magazine of History and Fiction, Mercurial Stories, Portland Metrozine, Potato Soup Journal, PPP Ezine, Spillwords, Tuck Magazine and World of Myths Magazine. His stories and poems appear in Ancients, Apocalypse, Blaze, Cadence, Unravel, Dragon Bone Soup, Enigma, Fox Hollow Stories, Glamour, Hate, Tall Tales and Short Stories, Gleam, Fireburst, Latin Anthology, Maelstrom, Pride, Tempest and What Sort of Fuckery Is This? “Land of the Pharaohs” won Story of the Month at World of Myths and “The Summer Camp” appears in Potato Soup Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1 (Best of).