The angel watched as Danny drove to work that morning. The morning after……, well, the morning after their celebrations last night. What were they celebrating? Why, the sheer joy of being alive, of course. The exhilaration of being young and invincible – able to party the night away without suffering any ill effects the next day. Well – hardly any. Danny had to admit that his body was protesting rather loudly about the abuse inflicted on it. How many drinks had he had, anyway? And as for Jason – well he had been positively wasted! Definitely in no condition to drive. No matter. One of the girls had done the driving. He smiled tenderly as he thought of Hailey. Sweet and beautiful Hailey. His Hailey! The girl he planned to marry.
The angel looked at him compassionately. He didn’t know. Yet. But he was going to find out soon. Very soon.
“Hey, Danny, wheresh all the drinksh, man? Zhey can’t be finished already,” Jason complained petulantly.
Danny swayed slightly as he considered the possibilities. He hiccupped gently as he turned his bleary eyes onto his best friend then clicked his fingers as a light illuminated his befuddled brain. “Jusht the shing!” he mumbled as he staggered to the cupboard. “Ta –da!!” he announced triumphantly as he produced a bottle of Tequila. “Keeping thish for a sh-sh-shpecial occasion!”
“Hey guys!” said Ashley. “Enough already! We still have to get home.”
Jason stared at her owlishly. “Aww, c’mon Babe!” he protested. “Jusht – jusht one more. Beshides, I’m – I’m - I’m not going anywhere wizzout my besht pal, Danny! Bru – you coming wish ush?
Danny tried to go with them but it was the strangest thing. He couldn’t get into the car! It was as if something was blocking him. Eventually he gave up and announced that he was going to stay home. He watched as the car pulled away and then staggered into his flat, and collapsed fully clothed onto his bed.
The car began its ascent over the mountain pass. It was traveling fast. Way too fast. The angel watched silently. Jason was slumped drunkenly on the back seat. One of the girls was driving. Which one? It didn’t really matter. They too, were over the legal limit.
Suddenly the car veered across the road and plunged down into the gully, rolling several times before coming to rest against a rock far below. Only one occupant remained in the car, the other two lying crumpled and still, having been flung from the tumbling vehicle and deposited amongst the trees and bushes.
As the engine grew cold, everyone slept peacefully, oblivious to the fact that tragedy had struck and the road so appropriately named Blackhill, had claimed yet more victims.
Ashley regained consciousness to find herself alone in the darkness. Screaming in terror and confusion, she ran around the twisted heap of metal that was all that remained of the car. Through her screams, she became aware of a voice calling her name. “Ashley!”
Gently and lovingly she was led to the road above. Where was she? What had happened? She couldn’t remember. All she could do was stumble towards the lights which beckoned in the distance. And all the while the voice of the angel encouraged her to keep walking. Keep walking to the lights.
Danny and Ashley stood with silent tears coursing down their cheeks at the two crosses which had been placed at the scene of the accident. The crosses that would forever serve as a grim reminder of the two lives which had been lost. A year had passed since that fateful night. A year which had seen dramatic changes in both of them. For months they had stumbled without direction through a mist of grief and confusion. For months they had both cried out in anguish: If only…….. But ‘if only’ wouldn’t change anything. It was time to move forward.
“If we do nothing with this, then Jason and Hailey’s deaths will be in vain,” said Danny earnestly. “An angel prevented me from getting into the car that night and an angel led you up to the road. We were chosen to live. God spared our lives for a reason. Now we have to honour that reason.”
Danny now works as a paramedic and Ashley counsels teenagers against the dangers of substance abuse. They have dedicated their lives to making a difference. It is what Jason and Hailey would have wanted.
And the angel smiled and Heaven rejoiced.
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