I run back toward the ditch where I came from and I see a hand sticking out. "Teddy! I'm right here!" I call. "Reach up. I'll pull you out." But when I get closer, I see the metal glint of a silver bracelet with a tiny cello and guitar charm. Adam gave it to me for my 17th birthday. It's my bracelet. I was wearing it this morning. I look down at my wrist. I'm still wearing it now.
I edge closer and now I know that it's not Teddy lying there. It's me. The blood from my chest has seeped through my shirt, skirt, and sweater, and is now pooling like paint drops on the virgin snow. One of my legs is askew, the skin and muscle peeled away so that I can see white streaks of bone. My eyes are closed and my dark brown hair is wet and rusty with blood.
I spin away. This isn't right. This cannot be happening. We are a family, going on a drive. This isn't real. I must have fallen asleep in the car. No! Stop. Please stop. Please wake up! I scream into the chilly air. It's cold. My breath should smoke. It doesn't. I stare down at my wrist, the one that looks fine, untouched by blood and gore, and I pinch as hard as I can.
I don't feel a thing.
I have had nightmares before—falling nightmares, playing-a-cello-recital-without-knowing-the-music nightmares, breakup-up-with-Adam-nightmares—but I have always been able to command myself to open my eyes, to lift my head from the pillow, to halt the horror movie playing behind my closed lids. I try again. Wake up! I scream. Wake up! Wakeupwakeupwakeup! But I can't. I don't.
Then I hear something. It's the music. I can still hear the music. So I concentrate on that. I finger the notes of Beethoven's Cello Sonata No. 3 with my hands, as I often do when I listen to pieces I am working on. Adam calls it air cello. He's always asking me if one day we can play a duet, him on air-guitar, me on air-cello. "When we're done, we can thrash our air instruments," he jokes. "You know you want to."
I play, just focusing on that, until the last bit of life in the car dies, and the music goes with it.
It isn't long after that the sirens come.