The night it happened, it was one of those dark and stormy nights that invites trouble. The Incheon night sky was like black velvet that was periodically ablaze with white light. The skies poured heavily down upon the city in thick sheets as thunder rumbled the city and lightning tore through the inky sky.
It was on this night that the couple drove through the storm. The husband drove intently, both hands clamping the steering wheel as his eyes scanned the street before him; the rain practically blinded him. When he saw the stoplight ahead glow an eerie yellow, he slowed the car until it came to a gentle stop at the intersection.
He took this time to gaze over at the passenger seat as the warm glow of the red light filtered into the dark car. With the chair slightly reclined, his wife slept peacefully in the leather seat. Her head was turned towards him, one hand cushioned beneath her cheek against the chair, the other resting protectively over her protruding stomach.
Between their seats, he saw his phone light up and vibrate. However, with a night like this, he refused to answer. It was too dangerous to talk on the phone in this storm, whether or not they were stopped at a light. As he caught sight of the light turning green in his periphery, he turned his attention back to the road and getting them home. He smiled slightly at the memory of why there were even out in such a horrid storm. Just over an hour ago they were at home having dinner with their three sons and his wife’s sister when his wife began to have pains in her stomach. She was only eight-months pregnant, but all of their sons were delivered a month earlier than their due dates; every single one.
It was a mix of panic and excitement that he had grabbed their prepared bags and left with her to the hospital; his sister-in-law promising to stay with his sons while they were gone. In all honesty, this pregnancy was quite a surprise for the two of them. Their sons were already grown up, the youngest had just turned eighteen and graduated from high school just the other month.
During this time of reflection over his beloved sons and the welcomed surprise of a fourth child, the husband noticed something up ahead. The car ahead of him was swerving and his break lights were blinking constantly as if the driver were pumping the pedal. He gripped the wheel even tighter as he gradually adjusted his speed in case something happened to that car. He glanced in the rear-view mirror and took note of a transport truck behind him.
After that, it happened in an instant. The car began to hydroplane and began to spin on the road. A truck tried to swerve out of the way of the car. Fortunately the truck missed hitting the out-of-control car. Unfortunately, the truck driver lost control of his own truck as he tried to straighten his large vehicle. The road was slick like ice and the driver could do nothing more than pump his breaks, grip the wheel harder and pray for a miracle.
The husband listed the things he could do, trying to pick one that would save them. He could speed up and hit the car ahead; he could slow down and get rear ended by the truck behind him; if he didn’t do anything, the truck in the other lane would surely smash into their small sedan. However, he didn’t have enough time to think of a fourth solution. The only time he did have was to reach over and take his wife’s hand in his.
“WHY WON’T THEY ANSWER!?” She ended the call and tried, in vain, to call her sister and brother-in-law again.
“Dad always answers,” Her eldest nephew swore as he sat in the driver’s seat of her SUV, navigating the vehicle through the storm.
“Not if he’s driving at night, and certainly not in this rain,” The second oldest nephew commented from the back seat as he peered out the window into the black night.
He sighed heavily before glancing at the youngest of the three. He sat against the other back door, his young face leaning against the cool window, falling asleep the moment they began to drive. The high school graduate had been sick for the past few days. When they suddenly hurried into the SUV, it had been after he had taken his medication. Despite desperately wanting to stay awake, he had drifted off to sleep with the soothing movements of the vehicle.
Slipping off his sweater, the second son gently covered his younger brother with it. Afterwards, he leaned forward in his seat, gripping the passenger seat before him, “Are you sure about what you saw?”
“I’m positive,” His aunt swore again as she ended the call and dialled for the hundredth time since they left the house. “I should’ve realized it sooner but I was drinking wine at dinner and your mom’s blocked me off since your grandfather died last year.” She practically slammed her phone on the dashboard as she stared out the windshield in vain, “But I should’ve at least seen your dad… I should-”
“Don’t worry, Auntie. We’ll-” The eldest let his words trail off as he slowed the vehicle.
Before them were police cars, two ambulances and four vehicles that seemed to have become one. He pulled to the side immediately and the moment he turned off the engine, his aunt jumped out into the rain, his brother following. He had flung open his door when he heard the door behind his do the same. He turned around,
“I thought you were-”
“I… It woke me up,” The youngest stammered as he climbed out, his eyes locked on the scene before them.
“What did?” He asked as he pulled off his jacket and flung it over his brother,
“That,” He pointed, “Sadness… so much…”
He couldn’t tell when the rain stopped and the young boy’s tears began. So, they burst into a full dash through the rain. They reached their aunt and brother as a police man was trying to block their aunt,
“Ma’am we can’t-”
“MY SISTER IS IN THAT CRASH!” She exclaimed over the loud splattering of rain and the sirens of the emergency vehicles.
“How can you know? You haven’t even seen-”
“I KNOW!” She grabbed the officer’s arm, desperately trying to move him, “I JUST KNOW!”
“Silver, four-door sedan. The woman’s pregnant,” The eldest stated,
“What?” The officer asked, unsure of what the young man meant;
“In the accident… That’s one of the cars, isn’t it?” He asked, his voice trembling,
The officer lowered his head slightly, not daring to look any of them in the eye, “Yes.”
“And there’s a pregnant woman too, isn’t there!?” The Aunt demanded, “Please! She’s my sister!”
“I can’t let you through,” The officer said, his voice heavy and rough,
“But surely we’ve proven that we have a right to go there!” The middle son stated, his fists clenched at his sides.
The youngest suddenly swayed against his eldest brother. “What’s wrong!?” The eldest asked, holding his brother steady,
“Such… such sympathy…” He practically gasped, his hands going to cover his mouth. His gaze swung towards the officer, “So… strong… why? WHY ARE YOU FEELING SUCH SYMPATHY!?”
The officer was startled at such an outburst. But it wasn’t the sudden yelling that surprised him; it was the fact that his feelings were read so accurately. “Please,” he said, now longer his arms and his gaze once more, “If I keep you here… at least I can save you from more pain… No one should have to see what’s happened here tonight.” He looked up at the quartet, his eyes shining with tears, “So please…”
His words sinking into her, the aunt began to shake violently with her sobs. She felt a pair of hands on her shoulders, turning her. She immediately crumbled into the arms of the middle son. The force of her cries eventually brought both of them to the ground, but neither cared that they were soaked through and through. Eventually, the eldest and youngest joined them, their arms surrounding, trembling. All the while, their tears mixed with the rain and their cries drowned out by the sound of sirens.
(The Brotherhood Series)