- If they hadn't been in the middle of nowhere, this wouldn't have happened. -
"Everything will be fine, Paisley. You'll see." Rex tried to whisper comforting thoughts to his best friend. He leaned over as best as he could in his booster seat.
Sitting next to him in a booster seat of her own, Paisley twiddled her thumbs and stared at the dirt on her jeans. While speeding down the freeway, Paisley looked out the window and was mesmerized by the streetlights.
"How much longer?" she asked no one in particular.
"About five minutes or so. We'll be at the hospital before you know it," Rex's mother said.
- If they had all stayed home, this wouldn't have happened. -
It was just supposed to be a fun camping trip. Paisley's family and Rex's family made the drive together every year, so this year shouldn't have been any different.
During the Pavers' hike, when the sun had long gone, Paisley's mother attempted to take a photograph of a cliffside flower that had bloomed. It happened in an instant. She successfully captured the plant's beauty under the moonlight's illumination, but the earth beneath one of her feet had crumbled. THUD.
Paisley's father rushed to where her mother last stood. He swiftly, but carefully, attempted to make his way down to her mother. He had made considerable progress for a few seconds. To Paisley's horror, he too slipped and couldn't regain his footing. THUD.
For nearly twenty minutes, Paisley screamed and screamed until her throat was hoarse. She could feel the gritty strain in her throat.
- If her mother hadn't been so obsessed with nature, this wouldn't have happened. -
Hidden by a stray gurney in the hospital's hallway, Rex and Paisley stared into the windowed conference room. The blinds were down, but the slits were open enough to still see what was going on inside.
Rex's mother was embracing his father. Her face was hidden as her shoulders shuddered violently. Rex's father tightly held her, grimly nodding at whatever Dr. Wells was saying.
"Hey, Paisley?" Rex, unable to tear his eyes away from the scene, reached for Paisley's hand in fear. "Is Mom crying?"
Paisley remained silent and hung her head. As she squeezed Rex's hand, she felt resentment arise in response to her dirty jeans.
- If they had been closer to a city, this wouldn't have happened. -