It wasn’t supposed to come down like this. The forecast had called for a little bit of rain but it was supposed to be above freezing. For the last 30 minutes of this drive though, the windows were fogging with every bit of moisture that hit the wind shield. The wipers were going as fast as they could but for a split moment, little bits of precipitation remained as it froze. He’d hit a slick spot already, the semi wobbled a little bit but he was able to regain control before anything could happen but he had to slow the truck because the contact between the tires and the pavement seemed limited.
He kept to the right lane, letting vehicles pass him by. The rain started to turn to snow and it grew heavier and heavier. It was a rural area and with no street lights the night became darker and darker. It snowed directly at the truck and the way the large flakes danced at the vehicle became hypnotizing. The snow was starting to collect on the road, making it so the painted lines in the middle of the road that he had to use as a guide became less visible.
This shipment was due in the morning. If he didn’t get it there in time he was sure to hear it from the dispatcher. His back and arms were tense from the concentration as he was leaned forward, just in front of the steering wheel staring at the road. The radio that had been playing political talk earlier was now off as he wanted zero distractions.
A gigantic crosswind hit and the truck shook. It started to feel more and more like he was going have to pull over and let the storm end. He wished he could pull out his phone and see what the radar looked like. Because this wasn’t anticipated he was hopeful that he’d soon be able to drive out of the storm.
His eyes were getting sore as well. It’d been 5 hours since his last break. There’d been a good night’s sleep the night before and he’d felt good up until the weather started turning sour. It had filled him with a bit of false confidence and now he wished he’d stopped at some point but the road felt more and more slick and he felt more and more uncomfortable with trying to fit the large truck onto the shoulder. Added to that was the fact that he was yelled at just a week earlier for not getting a shipment in soon enough. Another reprimand and he was fearful that he’d face some kind of discipline. He’d pressed through weather like this before and he could do it again. The roads were getting more and more hilly and he realized he was closer to the mountains than he remembered. This was far from the first time he’d driven this route but it had been a couple of years since he last had. Pretty soon the slopes would get steeper and with this snow and visibility, there would definitely need to be a consideration for pulling off to the side of the road.
If it weren’t for the snow that was now falling very heavily, the lack of light would still have made it difficult to see that the upcoming hill turned very steep and he realized as he approached the peak of the hill that he was driving at too high of a speed. The grade of the hill was so steep that as he started going down it was like a large roller coaster though instead of a cart and rails holding everyone to a direct path, the wheels of the car slipped over the concoction of ice and snow that covered the road. He attempted to pound the brakes but they hardly interacted with the vehicle and he was no flying down the interstate at a high speed. As he tried to regain control of the car he just hoped that there would be nobody in site though there was a yellow sign indicated a turn just up ahead shortly.
His foot pumped the brakes up and down and he turned the wheel sharply hoping to regain control but the truck was destined to hit the guard rail in the middle of the turn. He was able to turn the truck so now it slid with the side of the vehicle heading for the rail as opposed to a full head on collision but intersecting his path was a red Toyota and the truck slammed into it like a large hockey player checking his opponent into the boards.
The impact of the collision caused him to slam into the driver’s side door but aside from that and a lot of noise from the load bouncing off the walls of the trailer, he felt okay but he immediately thought of the car that was sandwiched between the truck and the rail now.
He took off his seatbelt and gravity pushed him towards his own door as the truck rested its side upon the car and the railing and was up on the wheels on one side of the truck. As he rolled out the cab he looked to see if it was close to tipping over and despite the angle in which the truck sat, it seemed stable for the moment but he also saw the back end of the trailer laying on top of the windshield of the car. He ran over with his heart rate about the same level as a long-distance sprinter after a race. A hesitancy to actually see the results of the image in front of him took over because he didn’t want to face the notion that a human body was squished under the metal of the trailer but there was a responsibility to see the result of the damage that came from his vehicle. When he arrived, he saw a woman unconscious but breathing from what he could see in the limited light, strapped in her seat by the seat belt but luckily the roof and the glass held the trailer back just far enough to keep from landing on top of her but they still impeded any hope of opening the door and getting her out. He grabbed his cell phone from his pocket to call 911, hoping the paramedics could get through the snow in time so get her to safety. The temperature was dropping quickly and it wouldn’t be safe for anyone to be out in this cold for entirely too long.
Nausea overtook him even more though as he got a glimpse through the slightly crushed roof and windows of the car. Someone drove by with their brights on and it gave just enough light to see inside and what he saw in the back seat was a car seat with an infant that probably wasn’t even a year old strapped inside. He had yet to dial the phone but with the site of this he breathed so rapidly that it wasn’t clear if oxygen was actually getting to his body and he felt faint. As his fingers shook he struggled to dial the number and he started crying. “I killed a fucking baby. Oh my God I killed a baby.” He yelled. “What have I done.” But as he yelled crying came from the car. “Thank God.” Though there wasn’t much more relief because there was no way he could get inside to bull the child out but it was enough to properly dial the phone.
He explained the situation as tears still ran down his face, causing his cheeks to freeze. With the glass on the ground he knew the cold air was reaching the fragile skin of the child and with the conditions of the road there was no telling how long it would take the ambulance to get there. He just hoped that they wouldn’t have the same issues with the terrain that he did.
He made an effort to get into an area of visibility just in case any cars stopped by but there wasn’t any traveling with the combination of the conditions and the time of night. Even if they had stopped they wouldn’t really be useful anyways, unless they had the jaws of life on them. On a couple of occasions the truck driver wanted to make efforts to push the truck in the other direction so it’d be possible to reach inside the car but even if he was strong enough to move a semi, he didn’t want to knock anything the wrong way and kill the passengers. All he could do was wait and pray.
He was startled when he heard a voice behind him, “What happened here?” A man appeared. The driver looked around for evidence of a vehicle that he may have missed parking behind him but there was nothing but a man with long hair, long beard wearing nothing but tattered pants that could hardly be recognized due to the lack of light.
“Um, I lost control of my truck. There’s a woman and a baby inside. The baby’s alive, at least he was last I checked. I don’t know about the woman. I don’t know what to do. I called an ambulance but with these roads….I don’t know how long they’ll be.” The man said nothing further but instead walked up to the truck. With limited effort he watched as the hairy man lifted the semi over his head as simply as a normal man could lift an empty trash can over his own, and he tossed the semi over the railing. It created the loudest sound the driver had heard in a long time but immediately the car was free. With that, the man pealed the top of the car off as though it was a tuna can. He reached in, put the woman on one shoulder and gently grabbed the baby and held it in his other arms. The baby still cried and the man informed the driver that the woman was still breathing.
“They need to get to warmth. My body can handle the cold but unfortunately there’s nothing I can do to transfer heat to them.” A vehicle came by, it wasn’t the ambulance but they did stop. They were going slow enough to see the injured woman and child. It was a man who they later found out was traveling to see family but he let them sit in the warmth of the car until the ambulance game. The hairy shirtless man went on his way once the car came. He ran towards the trees surrounding the road which was the same place he had come from. All this happened without the driver being able to ask any questions as to who this guy was. He tried to figure out how this man threw a truck like a toy and peeled a car roof like there was nothing there but the question wasn’t important as they tried to help two humans. Now that the horrible thing was dying down the man was gone. The ambulance finally arrived and took the woman and the baby with. The driver explained what had happened but there was more confusion when the truck took searching for to find. There would be more questions from the police, probably the insurance company and for sure his boss but for right now he wanted sleep. There was a hotel two exits down the road and the man who had stopped to keep everyone warm drove him there and wished him luck. He went to sleep thinking of the man who came from the mountains.