Off the Chain
It was a warm and sunny evening, but my best friend K and I were stuck babysitting my 5-year-old brother. I lived in a golf course community in the South, so it wasn't uncommon that we owned a golf cart. We decided to take my little brother for a ride, back up to the developing part of the neighborhood. We used to go up there all the time - it was a good place for some harmless off-roading on the dirt, or just a good place to turn around and drive back towards the house.
My best friend took the wheel and I let the sun and the wind wash over me as we went faster and faster. We reached the edge of the neighborhood, crested a hill. I opened my eyes and screamed. A thick metal chain had been staked on either side of the road, stretching across it, acting as a fence. There was no way we were going to stop in time. My friend slammed on the brake, and I braced myself. All I remember was the scream of metal on metal, and the harsh impact of the chain shoving my head back. I heard K screaming next to me, "Put it in reverse!" I couldn't talk, move or breathe. I tried to move my foot toward the petal, but I was completely trapped. My vision started to blur as I wheezed and choked, my hands clawing desperately at the chain. I heard my brother crying. I heard K moving and crying, and the rattle of the chain as she squeezed out from beneath it. Then the golf cart shifted suddenly backward. Air rushed into my lungs as the chain was let loose.
I lay there for a minute, just breathing, listening to K trying to comfort my screaming brother. I finally crawled out of the wrecked golf cart and stood shakily to survey the damage.. The golf cart was totaled, tangled up in the chain, which had torn the metal bars off the front, displacing the windshield and collapsing the roof. My brother was miraculously unhurt, though. I believe he was too short for the chain to hit him. K looked like something out of a horror movie. Blood covered her arms and face, and her pale skin was covered in dirt. There was a deep gash on her arm, and I could see her neck swelling up. I rushed to comfort them, but as I knelt to stop my brother's tears, nothing came out. I tried again to talk, but again, nothing happened. I was in no pain at the time, probably from shock, but the absence of my voice was a strong indicator that something was very wrong.
The three of us managed to hail a golf cart to take us home, and I had K call my father to tell him. He and my stepmother rushed home from dinner and rushed us to the emergency room. It was the first of many, many doctor visit for both of us. K suffered muscle damage in her arms and huge, black bruises that lasted more than a month. My vocal cord is permanently paralyzed, leaving me with just a whisper of a voice - no singing or yelling.
All in all, though, we were grateful to survive - especially after the eerie revelation from the neighborhood developer. Because of the crash, the two wooden posts holding the chain had bent over and given somewhat. The developer told us that, as he had erected the 'fence,' that he had seriously considered putting those posts in concrete.
If he had, both of us would be dead for sure.