I was coming out of the Baptist Church me and my parents clean every night when we saw a dog. It was to my left, on the edge of the parking lot where the forest started. My mother saw it first. “That’s a large dog,” she said. She didn’t think much of it and walked to the car. I kept looking at it. It turned and looked at me. It felt like we were looking at each other for a while. I thought someone’s husky from the nearby homes must have escaped. I always felt bad seeing huskies out in the Texas heat. Always wondered if they hated the heat as much as I did. It was two in the morning so it wasn’t too hot for the dog to be running around. I must have been looking for a while because my parents were already in the car and yelling at me to hurry.
It was a quiet night for it being a Friday night. There usually aren’t many cars around at this time of day but you could expect the occasional car full of kids blasting music on their way home from a party. Not today though. Today it was just me and my parents. All of us were exhausted, but happy to have work. The radio was on but not loud enough for me to hear what song was playing, or maybe it was the news. I wanted to turn it up but saw that my parents were asleep. I decided it was best to leave it as background noise so they could get some rest. Now it felt like it was just me in the car.
I got that familiar feeling that I was the only person in the world. All I could see was the road in front of me, trees lining the road, and the occasional porch light lighting up the front of some houses. Just me alone with my thoughts. “Will I ever do anything?” It was a question that came to my mind frequently. It started invading my head after high school. I was a pretty good student, graduated top of my class, and got into a very good university with a full scholarship. I have always had people say that I would do a lot in my life and be very successful. I wish I could believe them. “Ah stop!” I yelled to myself in my head. These thoughts always bummed me out.
There were flashing lights up ahead. Saw that it was an ambulance stopped by the side of the road as I approached it. I slowed down and stopped when I saw a police officer waving me down. “Everything alright?” I asked looking past the officer to a torn shirt on the opposite side of the road. “Yeah, just had a dog attack a jogger. It took off running in the direction you were coming from. Happen to see it?” he asked. “I saw a big dog in the parking lot of the church. Could be the same dog,” I said. He said he’d take a look around and try to find it before animal control got there. I wished them luck before I started driving away. I took one last look through my side mirror. There was a puddle of water on the road next to the torn shirt. It periodically flashed red from the light of the ambulance. That was a strange sight. Never thought I would see something like that around an area like this, full of fancy houses and luxurious cars. It seemed like an area where everything was well controlled and everything was always in order. “Strange expectation to have,” I thought to myself since accidents can happen anywhere. “I just hope they catch that dog,” I thought.
I reached the bridge that spans over a long river where I could always see the backyards of mansions and their docked boats. There is never anyone out there, probably because I always drive by this late in the night. Tonight, however, I saw a couple sitting next to each other, facing the river. Their home was next to the road so I could make out the woman’s lifeless expression as I drove by. She looked as if she wanted to be anywhere else but where she was. The man was hunched over with his face in his hands. I made out a bottle of red wine laying on its side on the small table between them. There was a small puddle of red wine spilled on the floor. I wondered what that was about. I noticed no lights coming from the countless windows of the mansion as I drove by. It was just them. “That’s a little sad,” I thought. “All that house just for those two sad people.” I tried to keep my focus on the road while trying to remember if I saw any wine glasses on the table.
I saw the gas station sign blinking up ahead. I looked at the gas gauge and saw we had close to a full tank and wondered when my dad filled it up. As I was getting close to the gas station I started hearing a beeping. It was soft and barely audible but it was there. “Is it coming from the gas station?” I thought. I looked at the gas station and saw that it was empty as it always was at this time of the night. Never understood why it stayed open this late. The sound didn’t go away. “It must be something in the car then,” I reasoned. I tried to ignore it as I kept driving.
About two blocks from my house I see a big flash in the sky. “I don’t remember seeing a thunderstorm in the forecast this morning,” I thought. There was no thunder that I could hear clearly so I thought it must be very far away. I saw another flash of light pop up in the sky but it stayed there. It didn’t fade. I looked up and saw that the bolt of lightning was still there, hovering in the sky, wanting to fade but not being able to. The light coming from the bolt seemed to get stronger and stronger. It didn’t hurt my eyes to look at it. Light just kept emanating from the bolt and covered everything in a white sheet. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by the white light. I felt weightless. I could hear nothing and saw nothing but white.
“He’s up!” I heard my mom say as she nudged my dad awake.
“Am I in a hospital?” I asked after looking out of the room’s door and seeing people in scrubs and white coats passing by.