The car finally stopped rolling. Stars danced before my eyes, drilling a staccato of blinking warnings into my brain. My head felt like ten pounds of concrete had been poured into my skull.
A metallic taste leaked down my throat. The wiper blades slashed rapidly against the sheets of driving rain that bombarded the windshield like tiny bombs intent on breaking in.
A gnawing, burning pain spread through my body. I leaned forward. The seat belt dug into my chest. I winced… Ribs, a collarbone; something was broken.
My ears rang the high-pitched whistle you always find in war movies after a bomb explodes.
I groaned, fumbled for the seat belt’s release. Jammed… I slumped back into the chair. My toes suddenly went cold. Then my calves. I looked down. My heart froze in my throat.
The rising gulch’s water lapped hungrily at my thighs. I yanked hard at my jammed seat belt. The car lurched as it slid through the mud deeper into the turbid waters.
In seconds, the water surged over the hood of the car, drowned the headlights, and climbed up my chest.
My limbs went numb. But my soul died when I heard the little voice whimper from the back seat.
“Daddy, the water is too cold.”