This is my tribute to 16 year old Elli Williams, who died in a hit and run in January 2011.
Laughing. Stumbling. Bright lights and snatches of lost conversation filtering through the dizzy haze. Crashing into warm bodies, stopping to exclaim an overly loud apology before moving on, incident forgotten.
It's fun. Exciting. High from the night's events, eager to make others laugh and in turn find hilarity in their amusing antics – to have a good time.
That's the main goal.
A daring suggestion is heard. Dangerous. Terrifying. Adrenaline pulsing with overconfidence.
Let's do it.
Thoughts of caution are dismissed the instant they appear. Who needs them? The feeling of invincibility is felt. Ready to take on the world.
I'm first. No problem. I can do this.
(Still unsteady on her feet, ignoring the mixed cries of encouragement and worry. Bursts of giggles erupt in puffs of steam from her mouth – it's cold tonight. But she doesn't feel it. Her muscles shift to stride onwards to where streaks of flashing noise speed past.
Brain to legs. Run. Run.)
Without looking, I lunge forward, hands unconsciously splayed to aid my potential falling. Laugh. Push on. I hear an increasingly loud noise disrupting my concentration. What is it? It's annoying. I turn my head.
(The driver saw her too late. All of them did.)
Blinding lights, stabbing my eyes. I blink and with a jolt of raw fear, suck in a breath of cold air that for the first time, froze my throat.
(Car after car after car. None of them slowed down.)
I was hit. Punched sideways. The world disappears into a blurred spin of heavy pressure and quick twists; I go round and round while hearing my body crack and split and break. Warmth gushes from my head, my side, my legs.
Through the spinning, distant sparks of pain make themselves known. I start to cry.
(Then it stops.)
Everything slows. I can't speak. I can't move. I don't think I'm breathing.
Then I hear noise. Screaming. A lot of screaming. Is that me? Or other people?
Cold. So cold. But not on my skin.
Inside. In my chest. It hurts. Make it stop; please.
I want to get up and go home. But I can't move. What's happening? Why...why is everything so blurry?
I barely notice my eyes closing. I'm so tired. Maybe if I have a nap. A quick one.
So I stop fighting and let go.
(She stopped breathing. And in the mangled twist of blood and tangled limbs, peace was known.)
R.I.P. Elli Williams.