by Sabrina Kanavatsas, staff reporter
The next morning was oddly calm. Katherine and her friends all woke up on their own with no alarms or sounds to wake them. They were all well rested and relaxed and had nothing planned to do for the day.
The morning started with Dill playing his music on the speakers as usual, laying himself on the two bean bags Katherine had. Chris was lying on his stomach on the two seated couch, playing on his phone. Katherine and Patrick were both sitting on the couch on the other side of the room playing a card game. About half an hour later, Katherine had the idea to go out to a diner for breakfast. Everyone thought it was a good idea since they’ve never done that before together and decided to go.
They slowly got dressed and were ready to go out. They all cleaned up the basement a little together, which is unusual since it is usually just Katherine doing the cleaning, while everyone else lounges on the chairs. Soon they were all outside and began walking to the diner. It was a slow walk, and everyone was taking their time. The weather was in the mid 60s, which was the highest it’s been all week. It was the first time this year that they were all able to walk around in short sleeves outdoors comfortably. There was a small, cool breeze, too. There were not many cars on the road; it was very quiet and calm. The dominant noise was the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind, which was very relaxing.
At the diner, everyone except Chris ordered milk shakes. They all ordered a different kind of breakfast meal and the food came out pretty quickly and exactly the way they wanted it. The conversations were entertaining. After a little while, Patrick asked the waiter for the check and as they were waiting, they were trying to plan out what to do for the rest of the day. It was decided that they would all take the bus to the mall, which is nearby the roller rink they worked at. Katherine always carried a lot of quarters on her, so she was able to pay for everyone’s bus ride.
About an hour later, they arrived at the mall. It was a little after noon so they assumed that there would be many people there. However, it was oddly quiet. To get to the mall, they had to walk across a busy street that led to the parking lot. They decided to not go to the crosswalk since it was farther away, so they waited on the side of the road. Katherine and Patrick were in front, while Dill and Chris were behind them.
Katherine and Patrick decided to start crossing and thought it was safe, but they were a little distracted talking to each other. Suddenly, Chris noticed a car going abnormally fast down the road going toward Katherine and Patrick so he yelled out at them. They quickly turned around, saw the car, and jumped out of the way. The driver then swerved a little unexpectedly and hit Dill. The front right bumper knocked Dill a few feet over and caused him to hit the concrete pretty hard. The driver then waited a little as if they were hesitating something, then stomped onto the gas and crashed straight into a tree.
Chris sprinted to Dill to check if he was okay, but he wasn’t responding. The right side of his head seemed badly injured and was bleeding excessively. Chris was able to find a pulse, but it was very faint. He hugged his brother and was trying to comfort him by whispering to him that everything will be fine, and that he will be okay. Chris was telling him about the plans they made for the weekend, and that they will still hang out and do them as soon as he wakes up.
Katherine and Patrick started getting emotional watching Chris holding his brother, so they decided to leave him alone for a few minutes as they checked on the driver. As they got closer to the car, they saw that the front of it was completely smashed. Katherine was trying to get her phone out of her bag to call an ambulance but she suddenly heard Patrick call out for her to come over. Katherine came over and took a look at the driver and was in sudden shock. It was Willow.
Someone else must have called an ambulance because sirens were heard. Half of the paramedics rushed to Chris and Dill. They put Dill on the stretcher and quickly took him into the ambulance. They told Chris that they will do the best they can to help Dill, but that Chris had to find his own way to the hospital.
The other half of the paramedics rushed to Willow. They used a crowbar to rip the driver’s side door open and brought Willow out. However, she was pronounced dead at the scene. One officer that was there looked around the car while the others put Willow on a stretcher. Katherine, Patrick, and Chris were sitting on a curb waiting for a ride to the hospital at the moment. While they waited, they noticed the officer take out a piece of paper from the car, read it, and then put it in a clear ziploc bag and seal it.
Before they knew it, the ambulances quickly left the scene and a few officers remained, questioning the three friends and other witnesses. Everyone explained what they had seen and what had happened. Then the officers left to their cars and discussed.
While sitting on the curb, they hear Katherine’s dad honk at them to get in. They all quickly got in the car and left for the hospital. Patrick and Katherine both had their hands on Chris’s shoulder, telling him everything would be okay and that Dill would be just fine. However, Chris kept feeling guilty about what happened and kept blaming himself. He felt like he could have done something to prevent his younger brother from getting hit, or felt like it should have been him who got hit.
The rest of the car ride was quiet, and very emotional. Chris was trying to hold back his tears, but Patrick and Katherine told him not to. However, they were being hypocrites since they were holding back their tears too. There was no traffic on the road, and still barely any cars. Katherine’s dad was going above the speed limit, but no one seemed to care. They just wanted to get to the hospital on time. Before they knew it, they got off the highway and immediately saw the hospital.