During the seventh summer of my life in 1957, I witnessed a dreadful scene which evoked frightful nightmares for many months. As I played in my front yard, a scream pierced the air. I ran to the end of the driveway and saw my seven-year-old neighbor Dora lying on the road in front of a car. Blood enveloped her. Several neighbors gathered around while her grandfather held her in his arms.
A minute later, another scream came from the opposite end of the road. Dora’s mother ran toward her and cried, Dora, Dora!” She sunk to the ground, grabbed Dora from her grandfather’s arms and sobbed, “My baby, oh my baby.”
Sirens blared as a police car and an ambulance arrived. A medical team examined Dora, placed her on a stretcher, and pulled a sheet over her lifeless body. Family and neighbors wept as they returned to their homes.
While I watched the ambulance drive away, I wondered why Dora’s face was covered. Was she dead?
Frightened, I turned to go home when someone called my name.
My eighteen-year-old cousin Jimmy rushed to my side. He panted as though he had run a marathon, perspiration dripped from his flushed face, and he wrung his hands.
Jimmy pushed his blond hair away from his forehead and asked in a tremulous voice, “Is Aunt Martha home?”
“Yes, Mommy’s in the house.” I whimpered.
He darted toward the rear door with me close behind.
“Mommy,” I yelled as soon as we entered the house. “Jimmy’s here.”
Mom came downstairs and met us in the foyer. Jimmy blurted, “Aunt Martha, I just killed a little girl. What can I do?”
Mom escorted him to the couch and asked, “What do you mean, you killed a little girl?”
“It’s Dora, Mommy. There was lots of blood and her mommy and grandpa cried. People in white coats put a sheet over her face and took her away.”
Tears soaked my dress as I realized Dora was gone forever. Never again could we share our dolls, play jacks or enjoy other games together.
Mom pulled me close, pushed my dark hair away from my face and said, “I’m sorry, honey. You and Dora were good friends. She is with Jesus. Let me speak with Jimmy first, and then you and I will discuss Dora.”
I nodded, sniveled, and wiped my eyes with a tissue Mom gave me. She turned to Jimmy and asked, “What happened?”
“As I turned onto this road, a little girl stood on the side. She was halfway across but went back when she saw me. In the process, she dropped her doll. I thought she would wait until I passed by before she retrieved the doll but she darted right in front of my car. She’s dead. Oh, Aunt Martha, I didn’t mean to kill her?”
“How awful, Jimmy. Have you told Patrick and Ivy?”
“Not yet. The police officer said they would keep the car for evidence. He told me to stay close to home.”
“In that case, you better telephone your parents now, Jimmy.”
Uncle Patrick and Aunt Ivy arrived ten minutes later. The police impounded his car as evidence, the court charged him with reckless driving, and Jimmy spent a night in jail. My uncle obtained a lawyer who released Jimmy on a bond. The court later found him innocent and judged the tragedy as an unfortunate accident.
I relived the accident in my dreams for months. The nightmares consisted of screams, sirens, and Dora’s blood-covered face. Mom rushed to my bedside, consoled me, and prayed until I slept. She prayed, “Please give Sue a new dream.”
Every time I played in the front yard, I saw Dora’s bloodied body lying on the road.
Ten months later, I celebrated my eighth birthday with a party. Dora’s older brother Freddie and other children in the neighborhood attended. It was a happy occasion.
The nightmares ended not long after the party. God gave me a new dream. Dora, dressed in white, stood in front of the car with Jesus. As they ascended, she smiled and waved to me.
God showed me Dora was not dead but alive and with Him.
Ten years later another tragic accident occurred. My cousin Jimmy was involved in a car accident, again. This time he was the victim. A car ran a red light and crashed into him. Jimmy died at the scene.
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