Holly cursed as the heavy snowflakes coated her mountain town in a sleek, white layer of ice, forcing her to drive undesirably slow.
“I can’t believe you asked Mike what his plans were when his parents were on their deathbeds! You insulted my fiancé and his parents!” Holly snapped.
“Well, you had plans. So I thought it was a legitimate question,” her sister, Kate, said pretentiously from the passenger seat.
“My plan was going to college! Stop it with that guilt trip crap!”
“You should’ve gone somewhere closer to home. Mom was sick. I needed you. And all you did was worry about yourself. You were always a selfish cunt.”
Holly hated that word. And she was sure Kate was aware of that because Holly had broken her nose over it when they were teenagers. Infuriated, she drove faster, banishing the possibility of sliding off the road. She needed to be away from Kate. Fast.
“You’re not even woman enough to admit it,” Kate spat.
“I am so sick of fighting with you about this! You decided to devote your life to taking care of mom. You did! I went according to my plan. To make a living for myself. I’m not sorry for that! So you can—”
In Holly’s fit of rage, she missed the intended left turn and went bolting through the intersection. Panicking, she stomped on the brakes, trying to stop the car from sliding toward the river that lay adjacent to the coming dead end.
The vehicle picked up speed as it went downhill and smashed through the metal railing. Holly braced herself as the surface of the river approached the airborne vehicle. The airbag shoved itself into her face.
Dazed and hysterical, Holly pounded at the air bag that engulfed her line of vision and franticly dug around for the seat belt fastener.
“Shit!” Kate screamed.
Holly felt the river creep into the passenger compartment, soaking her feet and jeans. They were running out of time.
When she successfully pulled her seat belt free she sighed with relief and went to open the door. Jammed. Holly’s heart dropped and her breath got heavier by the second as she tugged at the door handle a few more times. But the door didn’t budge. Holly shuddered as the car began to nose dive into the river.
I can’t die here! Think, Holly, think!
“Holly! The window!” Kate screamed.
Frantically, Holly pressed the driver’s side window button and it rolled down. The river flooded the passenger compartment as it poured into the open window, engulfing the sedan into its mass.
Completely submerged, Holly peered at Kate and found her free from her seatbelt, clawing nervously at Holly’s coat. Then Holly remembered: Kate couldn’t swim.
Holly managed to swim out into the river through the window with Kate latched onto her back. Attempting to reach the surface, Holly waved her arms. But she only sank under Kate’s weight.
There was no point in both of them drowning.
Holly jammed her elbow into Kate’s face, forcing her to loosen her grip and eventually let go. Kate gargled out a scream as her arms and legs frantically kicked and pulled at their surroundings as she disappeared into the darkness beneath them.
Holly propelled herself upward and rose above the surface choking and gagging, trying to calm herself. She used all her strength to tug at the bitter cold wet surface that beat every inch of her body in return. Afraid her muscles may seize up any moment, she maintained focus on the streetlights at shore and kept going.
Once at shore, Holly turned to see nothing but the dark, still river surface. No car. No Kate.
Holly’s wet clothes clung to her body along with the bone chilling winter breeze and the thick snowflakes that continued to fall. Climbing up the snow-covered hillside added more anguish to her already bruised and nearly frozen body.
Upon reaching the freezing concrete, there were people running toward her struggling to keep their footing in their haste.
“Ma’am, are you okay?” a man yelled.
I am, but I murdered Kate, she thought. But she screamed, “My sister is in there! Help her! Please, help her!”
The man helped Holly up and wrapped her in his coat as the other people scrambled about, trying to figure out what to do about the possibly (positively) dead woman.
Holly felt at ease as she buried her numb face inside the man’s coat. She was sure the warmth that engulfed her was a mixed product from the pea coat and elation from a horrible night ending on such a good note.
Her nagging past was dead.