She arrived at her school, during recess. The feeling brought on by other memory caused her to shake uncontrollably and slump to the floor.
Hundreds of children playing and screaming barely noticed her lying there enough to go around. Only a few stopped to see if she was okay. Nathan was one of them.
When she opened her eyes next, Shelly felt like she was waking up from a dream. Tears began to surface quickly from her disorientation.
“Shelly,” her brother kept repeating. “Shelly. What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know…I don’t feel so good,” she said.
Nathan helped her off the floor and, slinging an arm around his shoulder, walked her to the bus waiting outside by the curb. As they neared their ride home, the cloud of confusion around her dispersed and she remembered.
“I wanna talk to mom,” she said, sniffling.
Nathan looked on as Shelly straightened in his arms, shouldered her backpack and boarded the bus. He shrugged and went up the steps himself, wondering what had just happened.
They sat together as they usually did with Shelly sitting by the window. Once the rest of the kids boarded the bus, it roared to life and began to slowly barrel down the street.
“Maybe you got those seizures,” he offered on the ride home. “Like aunt June.”
Shelly didn’t say anything and just looked out the window. Her eyes widened when she saw a blue ford zoom past alongside the bus as they entered the housing complex she and Nathan lived in. She remembered that car.
An instant flash of memory made its way to her brain. She recalled the bent frame of her bike, the blood on its windshield. Her blood. The young teenager who drove the car’s face and his long hair. The reddish lights that came later in between her lapses of consciousness. People screaming and yelling, trying to get her to live. Machines that made strange sounds. All that before everything went completely dark.
“That’s him,” she said, rising from her seat and pointing the car out to her brother.
“That’s what?” Nathan asked, trying to get a look.
“Stay in your seats,” the bus driver warned.
“Sit down. You’re gonna get us in trouble,” Nathan whispered. He placed his hands on her shoulders and eased her back into her seat. She didn’t resist.
She thought for a moment that maybe she had just dreamed the whole thing up. But to her the entire experience of dying was much too real. Her dreams were much more whimsical and fantastical than what she experienced.
The car sped ahead of where the bus was turning and disappeared behind the curve. The same stretch of road where Shelly remembered being run over.
Nathan sought to catch up with Shelly as she ran out of the bus when it reached their stop.
“What are you doing?” Nathan asked, panting behind her. “You can’t get in without the keys.”
Shelly looked at the set of keys that hung around her brother’s neck and checked her own pockets for the set she had. Nothing. Milf panic began to settle in as she realized that she had somehow lost the keys her parents had given her. Keys that she never before had lost.
“I lost my keys,” she said, tears beginning to flood her eyes again. “I got hurt and I lost my keys and I want my bike!”
“What bike?” Nathan said, undoing the lock on the front door.
Shelly pulled the door open and ran inside, quickly making her way to the garage. She was surprised by the large dog that barked and stood in the center of the living room.
Shelly stopped, paralyzed. What was this dog doing in their house?
It growled at her, at first, baring its long canines. Then it licked its lips and began to saunter over to sniff her.
“Hey Munch,” Nathan said, rushing over to pet the large retriever.
Shelly didn’t even bother to ask. She was in full panic mode as she ran into the garage to where her bike was kept. Which, of course, was not there at all. When she flipped on the light switch, she saw the man in the dark suit standing there instead.
“Hey Shelly,” he said matter of factly. “We really should talk now.”