Chapter 4.3O

Annie could smell the hot, acrid odors of exhaust fumes and motor oil, rising above the cold scents of snow, mud, and evergreens. She heard fading knocks from the engine in front of her. She sniffed hard twice, was relieved at not detecting anything burning.

You OK asked Double-J, akwardly holding the driver door open as it pressed down on him. She saw steam rising behind him in the fading light.

Yeah she said, pushing herself over and up before stopping.

You’re buckled in Double-J said, with the hint of a withdrawn question.

Annie reached down, released the seat belt clasp. Good thing she said, considering what happened. She grabbed the steering wheel with her left hand, pulled herself up and over, Double-J grabbing her as soon as she was in reach.

Ah — careful Annie cried, her legs thudding into the steering wheel. Double-J released his graps of her, turned his attention back to keeping the door open. A moment later, she extended her left leg out of the car, swung over and to get her right leg out, then pushed out of the car. Double-J let the door slam shut as soon as they were both clear.

How’s it look asked Annie, following Double-J into the road. They looked back at his coupe, wedged deeply into a snowbank that rose several feet higher in the space between the stalled car and a pair of tall pines ten feet away.

We were going to hit something, and this seemed like the least worst option at the time, Double-J said. Annie nodded. Don’t see any visible damage, but we won’t know for sure until I get it into the shop.

You’re going to need a tow Annie said. The car was perpendicular to the road, rear tires not touching any surface, only the right front wheel touching the road.

Double-J nodded. Shit.

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