April 3, 1999
Kristina fiddled with her crimson hair and watched through the car window as the vehicle sped down the highway. She’d never been in a car before. Only read about it and knew what it looked like in the picture books daddy gave her for her last birthday. She’d always wondered what “the outside”—as she’d always heard mummy call it—was like.
The car bumped a little and it pushed her focus back to her surroundings. She didn’t know the man at the ‘wheel-thingy’ but he talked to her daddy so she guessed it was okay. The car moved towards a place that had pretty tiny lights and she saw a person. Gradually as they moved towards the place, there were more and more people. This fascinated her because she never went outside apart from the garden so the only people she ever saw were mommy and daddy. All she ever saw was grass, flowers and large hills so she had every reason to be fascinated.
As they went farther, the car slowed down and she saw lights everywhere. Yellow, pretty blue, pretty yellow, even red, like the ones she could bring out of her tiny fingers. Mommy was always mad whenever she did so she tried not to think about it. The feeling was overwhelming. People everywhere. Lights everywhere. It was beautiful. Her little four-year-old mind told her where she was was a city. The man drove on until they were past the beautiful city lights, another highway.
Kristina didn’t notice the white ball of light coming towards them at a fast speed, but the driver did. He did but it was too late. It had already hit them. The impact sent the car barrelling off the asphalt, into the air and finally crashing into jagged rocks.
The pain Kristina felt was mind-numbing but she didn’t scream or cry. No. Somehow, she knew this time that mommy would not come running to her aid. She managed to turn her head to the man who moved the car. His body was bent at odd angles, obviously dead. She turned her head back to face the sky. It was dark. She’d never seen it dark. Mummy always called her in just when it started turning deep blue.
Slowly, the life went out of her, coming up from her legs. They went numb and she couldn’t move them. It moved up to her knees, slowly, inch by inch and it felt weird. Kristina didn’t like the feeling at all. She was so focused on her immobile body parts that she didn’t notice her hair move. Not by the wind, no. Something made it float. Starting from the tips, her hair began lifting into the air. Her head soon followed and the rest of her gradually dying body, too.
She was fully lifted into the air, the crimson seeped from her hair, into the magic-buzzed atmosphere, leaving it a dead, luminous white. It was silent and ethereal, the life in her, the little remaining light in her body extinguishing.
A soft voice whispered in the air, neither Kristina’s nor the driver’s. “You won this time, Asah. It’s your first and last.”