TITLE: Jewels 1
By Tasha Reed
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Jewels Angelo didn’t know it at the time, that it would be her last ride home with her parents. She sat in the back seat starring out at the shimmering ice-sickles hanging from the tall pine trees. The bitter cold had even the trees leaning toward one another in the hopes of staying warm. A smile appeared on Jewels’ face as the trees reminded her of the chandelier hanging in her parent’s house.
Mrs. Angelo had Jewels bundled up with hats, scarves, jackets, gloves, thermals, you name it and Jewels had it on. The Angelos were headed home from church, particularly Jewels favorite place to go because she enjoyed being around her Sunday school teacher Mark. And in her heart she thought, if she were a little bit older, he would be her husband. But since she was only eleven, she’d guess he’d have to wait… a few years.
Of course, the drive home with the blizzard like conditions made it tough and miserable to focus on the road ahead. Fortunately, Mr. Angelo was no stranger to driving in bad weather. He voluntarily plowed the snow out of the church’s parking lot, sometimes taking Jewels along when he would plow certain member’s drives and he’d even go as far as to plowing their curvy-steep road.
Jewels knew her Dad loved the snow. Not Jewels, she preferred the warmth of the summer months, especially her being born in June. Jewels looked into the rearview mirror to sneak peeks at her father looking back at her. She could tell that by the creases in his eyes, he held a smile on his face. But quickly wincing, her eyes would return outside to the glare coming off the snow-covered ground and ice drenched trees.
“Boy Paul, it’s almost unbearable to see or drive.” Mrs. Angelo said. “That ice storm last week and the heavy snow this week have sure done us in.”
“Oh, not so much. As long as we’ve lived here, I suspect you’d be used to it by now.”
“I’m afraid I’ll never get used to this, nor do I ever want to.”
Jewels could tell by her father’s stern voice and focused face, that even he was having a tough time keeping the truck in the road. A little fishtail here. A little fishtail there. But whatever he did, he could show no fear; otherwise, Mrs. Angelo would lose her composure.
“I wished I’d brought my Mighty Mouse sunglasses.” Jewels said.
Jewels recognized her mother’s nervousness as she fumbled with her seat belt, trying to get it to work. She knew how terrified her mother was of driving in the ice and snow. Of course, her father didn’t help by driving as if the roads were dry…
“Paul—slow down,” Mrs. Angelo said, “you’re driving entirely to fast for the road conditions.”
“Ruth, quiet please. We’re in a Bronco, I have it under control.”
“I just don’t know why you feel you have to go a hundred miles an hour. I’d rather get there in one piece than not at all—”
Jewels knew her mother’s fear steadily increased by the sound of her voice, knowing she was one pitch away from yelling. Mrs. Angelo turned her body to look at Jewels…
“Jewels, are you seat belted in?”
“Yes mom, nice and tight. Almost too tight with all these cloths on.”
Just then, Jewels looked into the rearview mirror and saw her Father smiling back at her. He went so much as to raise his mouth into the mirror and show all his white teeth. Jewels knew that if her mother had seen, she would have hit him in his arm with a little fist for not paying full attention to the road. Jewels relaxed at his gentle smile and she knew her dad had everything in control.
But just as soon as Ruth turned around—and saw what was in front of the Bronco—she screamed, “Paul look out—!”
And before Jewels could scream…
* * *
“Lord have mercy—is she okay?” Deputy Taylor said
“Yes. She’s going to be fine.”
“How in the world did anyone survive? Are you the father?”
“No, I live just around the bend. I was on my way home when I saw the Bronco spin, flip out of control and plunge into that tree.”
As the deputy knelt down, he recognize the girl. “Oh my God, this is Paul’s daughter. Gees, what’s your name?” Deputy Taylor said.
“James, my name is James Survante.”
“Dang it! The weather conditions claimed more of our families…”
“Wasn’t the weather this time I’m afraid. No—wicked deer in the middle of the road caused the accident.”
“Did you say—wicked deer?” Deputy Taylor said standing up looking at James like he was crazy.
“Yes. The kind that pops up at all the wrong times.”
“I don’t see any deer--”
“They swerved and missed.”
“It’s going to take awhile to get her out of here.” Deputy Taylor said. “We’re too far in the neck of the woods; a tree fell across the road behind me. Are the Angelos still--?”
“No. I’m afraid—they’re dead.”
When Jewels heard those words, she tried her best to open her eyes. She struggled to get up. But something strong held on to her. Finally opening her eyes, blinded, she became by a figure of brilliant light. Golden wings spread wide and high in the air. An exuberant glow encircled the strong figure. Out of the bright light came a peaceful and warm tone…
“Look’s like you’ve had a good day,” the angel said.
Jewels tried to focus on the image but she could not. She closed her eyes for five seconds and when she re-opened them, the bright image became clear. The image was of her mother and father looking down on her with peaceful smiles. They waved at Jewels as they lifted into the air until their faces became the angel’s holding her.
It was at that time, Jewels understood the compassion in his eyes confirmed the death of her parents. Overwhelming thoughts took out their swords and fought inside her head. The ending result was a losing battle that they’re dead and it was the last ride with her parents.
“What do you mean they’re dead?” Jewels screamed out. “They can’t be dead-they can’t be dead. I have to help my daddy shovel the snow. I was just with them. What do you mean? I must see them. I must see them now!”
Jewels squirmed to break free with all her might from the angel but his strength would not let her budge. His strength held her with tenderness. As she gazed into the empty sky, she felt his warm embrace. And although she did not feel his hands or arms around her, she knew the bright light held her and it was useless fighting against the sight.
She didn’t give up, this time she knew she would win, “Let me go, let me go. Mama, daddy. Mama, daddy wake up!” She cried at the top of her voice, “Daddy. Mommy, daddy wake up.” But there was no response. No movement. Just a dead still silence.
The Bronco’s frame lied smashed against the cold, hard tree. Her father’s head and shoulders stuck through the front windshield. She could see blood trickling down the sides of his face, freezing within seconds on his forehead, his eyes frozen open. Her mother lied still behind him.
In that moment, her heart pounded and she grew pale. Lightheadedness came over her and her eyes did close…
“Is she dead—?” Deputy Taylor said.
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