It was 11. 35pm on Christmas Eve and Stephen was returning home from his brother’s celebratory party. As he drove down the road, the crunch of the thick snow under his tires was audible and smiling dreamily, he looked at the shining, sparkling, foot-deep snow, visible in his headlights. He buried his chin further down into his Burberry scarf and replaced his woollen hat that was hiding his unruly mop of curly auburn locks. His newly bought Ford Focus ran smoothly, as he began anticipating Christmas Day, feeling youthful again.
He would be getting up early the following day, and taking the short trip to his Father’s house, meeting up with his parents, twin sister’s Helena and Sharon, brother Mark and Mark’s fianci?? e Kate, as well as being introduced to Sharon’s current boyfriend, his name Stephen could not recall. The party he’d just been to was a reminder of what was to come the next day; extraneous amounts of food, beaming faces, roasting fires and gallons of alcoholic drinks. Stephen, however, seldom drank and was extremely careful, especially since recently passing his driving test.
‘In fact,’ he thought to himself, impressed, ‘ I haven’t drank since my 20th birthday which was over three months ago! ‘ The good-looking accountant became involved in a nostalgic daydream as he thought about the Christmas’s he had many years ago with his siblings. He detested their annual trips to church on Christmas Day, but like everyone, agreed that the numerous presents he received made up for the tediousness of the holy visits. He glanced in his wing mirror and noticed that his rosy cheeks made him look radiant and healthy.
His denim-blue eyes had a nice gleam in them and seemed more refreshed than ever as he appreciated the ‘younger, healthier look’ that the harshly cold weather had bought to him. As he looked ahead at the road he was relieved to see that he was nearly home. Empty fields surrounded him, dressed in thick garnishes of crystal-like snow, as though salad dressing had been poured heavily over a desert of fresh green lettuce. In the distance he could see a figure stood to the left of the road, as though waiting to cross.
‘How bizarre’, Stephen thought whilst glancing up at his digital clock, ‘who on earth would be out in this weather, and at this time? ‘ The thought puzzled him, as he stared at what seemed to be a young woman. As he got closer, Stephen could see her fragile, petite body. A pair of tight black leggings protected her slim legs and a baggy jumper covered her tiny chest and frail arms. The jumper consisted of a mixture of pinks and purples and appeared to be hand knitted. Hair was hanging limply down the girls’ back, that was rich and dark, yet looked unwashed and damaged by the abysmal weather.
Her hands were covering her face as though she was afraid, crying or lost. ‘ I don’t want to get involved,’ Stephen decided. He was feeling more lethargic by the minute and awaited curling up in a ball in his king-size bed. As he approached her he couldn’t resist staring, yet somehow he still didn’t manage to notice what was to come. The girl stood there, statue-like, until Stephen’s jade green Ford was almost in juxtaposition with her. Suddenly she sprawled her body out into a huge star jump, as she leapt in front of Stephens’ car. Stephen shouted random frantic words, as his bonnet emerged into her body.
The thud was soft, but the impact, he thought, was strong. His wheels skidded to a halt and he lost control of his steering causing him to spin 360 degrees. The car eventually stopped, as tears ran copiously from the eyes of the man. His heartbeat had almost tripled, yet his breath had almost stopped as he sat there stiffly, not moving. He knew the girl would be caught under the wheels of his car, yet he was afraid to get out and see the consequences. With a shaky gloved hand he reached for his mobile phone, which was tightly secured in the pocket of his jean trousers.
His vision tripled as he dialled 999 and waited anxiously for a response. The friendly sounding policewoman had a relaxed, comforting voice and reassured the panicky Stephen that she would be on her way with a team of others. On ending the conversation the frantic man entered the digits of his Fathers landline. He was breathing heavily down the phone and despite the shrill ringing, he could still hear and equally feel his heart beating rapidly. Someone picked up the receiver at the opposite end and after a few seconds of muffling, a docile voice answered. “Mum!
I’ve been in an accident! Get Dad to come down! Now! Please! ” He shouted out in short, urgent sentences, without giving his Mother any chance to speak. In the background he heard his Mother call out to his Dad, who in turn, came to the phone. “Where are you, son? ” he asked with a stern, sullen voice. After Stephens crying response, his Father announced that he’d be there shortly. Many apprehensive minutes passed when the first car Stephen had seen since the accident came towards him from the horizon. It was a burgundy coloured Renault Safrane that belonged to his Father.
He pulled up in a lay-by approximately 20 metres away from his son, and Stephen watched his plump body leap out the car and bounce towards him. He was waiting for his Father’s reaction to change as he saw the disfigured corpse of the young girl beneath his car, yet his expression remained indifferent. As Stephen explained what had happened, his Father adopted a quizzical look and eventually opened his mouth to speak. “There’s no body around here Stephen, ” he said. He was stood outside of Stephens car wearing an anorak, scarf and as Stephen noticed – his slippers.
“Maybe it’s buried beneath some snow, we’ll wait for the police. ” As though he were psychic, the police arrived immediately after the utterances. They pulled up next to the Renault and two sturdy looking male police officers jogged up to Stephen. Stephens Father explained to the officers what had happened whilst a policewoman observed the area carefully with a powerful torch. The three police joined together and discussed something under their breaths, before one of the males turned towards Stephen. He had fierce eyes and jagged features dominated his ageing skin.
“Stephen Waynsford, we’d like to discuss more thoroughly what happened to you this evening, but at the minute we’d like to test you for alcohol. If the test proves that you have not consumed alcoholic beverages, then we will arrange for you to have a kind of… counselling therapy with us. ” The policeman tried smiling warmly as Stephen squirmed angrily inside. ‘It was a ghost,’ Stephen realised, ‘and nobody is ever going to believe me. ‘ A month later on an icy February evening, Charlotte was having a relaxing drive in her dad’s car.