All the best,
He stared at the sky, watching a cloud scuttle by. They reminded him of puffy cotton balls, so white against a sea of blue. There was something serene and peaceful about it, luring him to lay there a while longer. And just what was he doing, anyway, languishing in a meadow of grass, flat on his back? He couldn't recall why he was there, didn't remember laying down in the first place.
Blinking beads of salty sweat from his eyes, Sander frowned. He had some place he needed to be, a destination other than here. Exerting himself, he tried to get up. Tried to move. It was a thought that didn't transfer to his arms and legs, which he realized he couldn't feel. He couldn't even get a finger to twitch.
What the hell was going on?
A moment after that, Sander understood his coherency had been compromised. He wasn't thinking straight, couldn't get a grasp on reality. The blurry edge of his vision cleared enough for him to make out lumps of black in periphery.
He wasn't in a meadow, he was on a road, with a hulking twist of metal to his left. Alarms clanged through his mind, sending urgent signals to get up, get up, GET UP.
The harder he struggled to get to his feet, the more blatant his state of paralysis became.
Paralyzed. He was numb from the neck down.
A loud boom shattered the bubble of silence he existed in. All at once, an onslaught of noise battered his ears and heat seared his senses. Part of an arm flew overhead, severed at the elbow. Shrapnel hit Sander's shoulder and hip, his entire left side, like buckshot. Pain accompanied the blow, pain he relished because it meant he could feel. He wasn't paralyzed, only stunned.
In the distance, he heard a man scream.
Fire cracked closer, somewhere to his right.
The scent of burning rubber mingled with the acrid smell of charred flesh.
Accident. The caravan of Hummers he'd been traveling in had some kind of accident. He couldn't remember the impact or the details. Didn't remember being thrown free of the vehicle.
With extreme effort, more effort than it should have taken, Sander turned his head to the side. Stretched along the road was a minefield of debris. Bodies. Remnants of the Hummers. Fire.
It looked like a war zone.
A man belly crawled over the asphalt, using his elbows to pull himself forward. His leg was gone.
Sander opened his mouth to speak, to shout, to say something. Nothing came out. He couldn't find his voice, wasn't able to lift his arm more than an inch off the ground.
Get up, get up, GET UP. His chest felt strange and heavy, as if an anvil sat there.
The crawling man slumped, went still. His body twitched once.
Sander gurgled a sound, then coughed up a mouthful of blood.
He wondered if he was dying, like the belly crawling man.
Dying under a bright sky and cotton puff clouds.
Darkness crowded the edge of his vision, diffusing the incoming light. He fought it, fought to stay awake. Fought to live.
The debris field blurred.
His last thought was of Chey and their unborn child. A boy. A child and a wife he might never see again. He held tight to her memory, her smiles, the love in her eyes.
Held tight until, against his will, she faded to black.