John was wandering along, smiling to himself and thinking how good it was to finally have all the trees falling the way he needed them to. A new job with more pay; car cheaply and easily fixed and his fiancé due to return home in two weeks’ time. Even the heavy cold that had brought him down for almost a month had gone. He felt a new spring in his step. The sun shone and he felt good about the world around him.
As he stepped from the kerb, the car hit him fully side-on, travelling at fifty miles per hour. The driver’s heart had leapt into his mouth as he crested the rise and saw John looking the other way. He’d hit the brakes hard, but the car was old and the brakes were out of balance. The tyres hadn’t been checked for some time. Who knows how long? Life is so busy these days. So the car slewed sideways, with nothing the driver could do to slow it. The whole thing was beyond his control, though that wouldn’t prevent self-recrimination.
John left the ground and never really returned. It was his last known contact with Earth – the kind of place where people tie bundles of flowers and leave photographs to fade in the weather. Maybe someone will do that for John. Who knows? His body travelled in a graceful, disinterested arc, limbs listlessly waving – a trapeze act whose commitment to the show had long waned. With a slight turn – not of his making – he landed heavily on the tarmac.
When his head struck, there was no bounce, in the way that a raw egg is not seen to bounce when it hits a tiled floor. Like the egg, John’s head yielded its contents. Finding a usable exit, thick dark blood deserted his body, as if sensing there was nothing further for it accomplish.
A small crowd – no more than five or six concerned or curious passers-by – gathered in the road. They made a point of keeping away from the spreading pool of blood, except for one lady who seemed to take the scene in her stride and looked carefully at John. The driver stood several yards away on his own. Nobody had yet spoken to him. He felt that the onlookers were more part of the scene than he was.
The crowd stood and stared in silence for a few moments until someone began to sob. John didn’t care that they stared. I don’t think he would have cared even if he’d known. He was that sort of person.