Jeff asks Dennis to go with him to a campus visit at College of the Pacific.
Afterwards Jeff is excited and ready to apply, and Dennis is happy for his friend.
It's what happens on their way home that’s going to change their lives.
We’re stuck in traffic on the 580 freeway. Jeff hates to be stuck in traffic. “I’m gonna take Morgan Territory Road. It’ll be faster, no traffic.” Okay, fine with me, I’m not the one driving.
Jeff’s right, there isn’t any traffic. Nice scenery, lots of trees, almost no civilization.
We approach a side road on our left, Whitman Lane. A deer jumps out of the woods right in front of us. Jeff slams on the brakes and steers to the right. We run off the road, overturn twice, end up in a gully on our right side against some trees. The right fender is pushed into the passenger compartment and the passenger door. I’m lying against the door. My right leg is pinned and I can’t move it. It hurts like hell.
“Jeff! You okay?”
“It hurts.” He's pressed against the console, hanging from his seatbelt.
“I’m calling 911.” I'm able to get my cell out of my left pants pocket. It works and there are two bars, just enough. I dial 911 and get through.
“We ran into a deer, the car went off Morgan Territory Road into a gully just past Whitman Lane. We’re trapped inside and injured bad.”
The dispatcher says the police and ambulance are on the way.
“We’ll be okay, Jeff. They'll be here soon.”
“I’m cold. Why’s it so cold?”
It isn’t cold. “Hang on, man.”
Five minutes. No feeling in my foot now.
“Dennis, I’m so cold. Please hold my hand.”
I reach up. I hold his hand, it's cold.
“Hang on, Jeff.”
“Please hang on, Jeff.”
“Jeff, are you okay?”
Jeff's teeth are chattering. “I’m so cold. Can you turn the heater on?”
“Please hang on Jeff. They’ll be here soon.”
“Dennis, I’m cold, so cold.”
I hear sirens. The ambulance, the cops, a tow truck.
“They’re here, Jeff. Hang on, bud!”
“Hold me, Dennis, please hold me. I’m so very cold.”
They got Jeff out, pried open the driver’s side door. I had to let go of his hand. They dragged the car onto the road and got me out. Put me into an ambulance. “Where’s Jeff? Is he okay?”
“The other ambulance took him to Kaiser in Livermore.”
“How is he? Is he okay?”
I didn’t find out until I got to Kaiser. Jeff had died. They said he’d been killed instantly. His ribcage, heart, and lungs had been crushed.
“But he talked to me. Told me he was cold. I held his hand.”
“I’m sorry, son. He didn’t make it.”
I wasn’t able to go to Jeff’s funeral. I was still in the hospital. My right foot and ankle had been shattered.
Jeff’s parents came to see me. I told them that Jeff talked to me, kept saying he was so cold, I held his hand. We cried together.
Now whenever I’m cold I think of Jeff and cry. My tears are cold. So very cold.
This story and the included images are Copyright © 2012 by Colin Kelly (colinian).
They cannot be reproduced without express written consent.
Codey’s World web site has written permission to publish this story. No other rights are granted.
If you enjoyed reading this story, please let me know! Authors thrive by the feedback they receive from readers. It's easy: just click on the email link at the bottom of this page to send me a message. Say “Hi” and tell me what you think about Morgan Territory Road. Thanks.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.