Alexandra The Great
Alex had never been in a motor vehicle accident before. She had come close a few times, and had been bumped in the supermarket car park, but never anything serious. She imagined it would be quite exciting to witness a major incident where she wasn’t directly involved, but when it actually happened it was not what she expected.Click here to return to the book page
The early morning traffic was busy on the motorway, so Alex had taken an alternative route to work. It took her longer to get to the office this way, but she liked the extra time to collect her thoughts and organise her day before she arrived in town. Monday was always a busy day for Alex. That first day after the weekend—their busiest two days in the shop—was quiet as far as custom was concerned, but busy for reflection and number crunching. What had they sold? What did she need to restock, order, fix? What would they need for the month ahead?
When a motorbike sped past with a loud hum, Alex was momentarily startled. She watched the bike pull ahead of her and fade into the thin winter fog that had crept in while the city lay sleeping. Although officially the first day of winter had been four weeks ago, it seemed only now it was raising its cold fists in fury and settling over the city with damp unrest. Autumn was dead; its evidence left in yellows and reds in the gutters, waiting for the first big rain of the season to block it up in the swollen Christchurch drains.
Ahead of her, on a side street, a white car waited at a stop sign, and for a moment nothing looked out of place. But as the car moved forward and crossed the centre line, Alex realised with horror that the driver of the car was oblivious to the motorcycle.
The scene unfolded before her in slow motion. The driver of the motorcycle stiffened as he realised what was happening. He swerved the bike away from the path of the car while trying to slow down, and if it hadn’t been for the icy road he might have succeeded in avoiding a collision. Instead, the bike skidded and slid over on its side, coming down on top of the rider as he fought to keep control of the machine. If that wasn’t bad enough, man and machine began to turn clockwise on the road, spinning toward the oncoming car. The weight and momentum of the bike pushed the rider back so he was helpless to escape the impact that followed. Alex heard a sickening thud as he slammed into the rear door of the car, then disappeared beneath the chassis. The screaming of car tyres ceased as the two vehicles came to a halt on Alex’s side of the road.
Alex slammed her foot down onto the brake pedal, bringing her own car to a screeching halt in the middle of the road. For a moment she couldn’t believe what had happened.
“Holy shit,” she muttered as she reached for her mobile phone. She flicked the hazard lights on in her vehicle before she climbed out onto the road. The last thing she needed was another car slamming into the back of her, causing more mayhem.
A blast of cold air hit Alex head on and she pulled her jacket around her. Glass and shards of metal peppered the road, and the smell of burning rubber hung heavy in the thick air.
As Alex neared the yellow sedan, she could see the driver – a young woman who looked to be about twenty – bent over what remained of the bike. She looked up, frail and frightened as Alex approached, her bright green eyes glistening in shock.
“He just came out of nowhere.” She seemed hysterical as she rushed at Alex. Alex looked past her toward the car. The smell of bike fumes filled her nostrils and the fog clung to her, making her shiver.
She ran to the side of the car and knelt down on the road. A heavy leather boot stuck out from the side of the car. Her stomach hurled as horrific thoughts crowded her mind, like pulling the boot out with the foot still inside but no leg attached.
“Can you hear me?” Alex shouted. She waited a moment but there was no answer, and no movement from the body under the car.
God, he’s dead, she thought to herself. She’d never seen a dead body before, let alone that of a stranger lying mangled under a car. She tugged on his ankle. There was a slight movement but she could tell his body was firmly pinned. She wondered briefly how he had been swallowed so willingly by the undercarriage of the car and was now immoveable. Physics had not been her strongest subject at school. The force involved in such an impact must have inflicted terrible damage on his body.
Alex flipped her mobile phone out of her pocket and handed it to the young woman.
“You need to ring star five, five, five, and tell them what’s happened. We’ll need an ambulance.” Alex glanced into the driver’s side of the car and then back at the woman.
“Where are your keys?”
The woman seemed to stare straight through her, as if she had just been asked what planet she came from. “Um, keys?”
Alex took her by the arm, forcing her to look directly at her. “What’s your name?”
The woman sobbed, big black mascara tears spoiling her pretty face. “Ngaire.”
“Ngaire, I need to get this man out from under the car. Where are your keys?”
Ngaire reached into her jacket pocket, produced a set of keys and passed them to Alex as if they were red hot.
“Great, now you make that call and I’ll see what I can do.”
Alex scooted around to the back of the car. Finding the biggest key on the ring, she popped the boot. Then she found the jack and took it back to the side of the car. The metal was cold in her bare fingers. She heard Ngaire talking to someone from emergency services, explaining the situation in large, gulping breaths.
Alex secured the jack under the frame of the car. For once she counted her blessings that her father had insisted the girls in his family all knew how to do the basics when it came to car maintenance. In fact, it had been her mother who had shown her how to change an oil filter and a flat tyre.
When the car was high enough, she lay down the crank. Grabbing the man’s ankle with both hands, she heaved the body out from under the car. She wasn’t a small person, but at five-foot-nine Alex had to use all her strength to free him from his position. He was a big man, dressed neck to toe in leather. Alex found a gap between his collar and helmet and pushed her fingers against his neck, feeling for a pulse.
“Is he dead?” Ngaire had finished her phone call and now stood behind Alex, peering anxiously over her shoulder.