Mark grips the steering wheel, the blinding headlights of oncoming cars making his eyes water. The stereo’s turned up loud, bass vibrating the dashboard, a beehive hum with every drum beat.
He tries to make the road his focus – the scrubby hillside, the moorland sweeping away to his left. Wind barrels across heather and squat grass, buffeting the car and Ladybower Reservoir lies ink black to his right, a hole punched in the world.
Passing the first wreck – an Alvis Silver Eagle, windscreen a spider’s web of splintered glass – he knows the body’s inside. There are more as the bends grow tighter.
He’d like to speed past the worst, for that scene to become a flicker in his peripheral vision, but the road’s too dangerous – he doesn’t want to join the dead. Besides, he has to look. To remember.
The car slows and he sees the shattered glass, the crumpled bonnets … Smashed bodies. Then what he’s been dreading.
A teddy bear in the road.
His instinct is to swerve, to avoid driving over the plush fur, the button eyes. But it’s just another past echo only he can see.
He drives on.
Written in response to Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Use the photo and the phrase for a story in under 200 words.