Chapter One of Lucky Star

Luck. You either have it or you don’t. I don’t. But that might be starting to change, with the exception of my car which completely died this morning.

But I’m trying to look on the bright side. And on the bright side I’m starting a job today. A real job where I’ll finally make decent money. And I have my own apartment now. Well, it’s not mine. I live there with some guy and his girlfriend but at least I’m no longer living in my parents’ basement. I’m finally on my own, in a new city, with a new job.

So yeah, things are going well, except for the fact that I have to bike to work today. But hey, it’s good exercise, right? I’ve heard positive thinking leads to positive results so I figure if I keep looking on the bright side, my luck will keep changing for the better.

Something wet hits my face. I ignore it and keep riding my bike, a hand-me-down from my brother. It’s a blue ten speed that’s rusted because he always left it outside. I wasn’t going to move it here but at the last minute I decided to take it just in case my car gave out. Good thing I did or I might’ve missed my first day on the job, which could’ve meant losing the job, which can’t happen. I really need this job. 

Another drop of wetness hits my face, then another. I glance up at the sky. It’s clouding over and getting dark. It better not rain. I’m wearing brand new black dress pants that ate up a good chunk of my pitiful savings.

A drop hits me right in the eye. It burns and stings and blurs my vision.

“Shit,” I mutter, blinking repeatedly as I pedal faster.

Thunder booms from above and the few drops of rain become a steady downpour.

“Seriously?” I yell at the sky as the thunder booms again. “You couldn’t give me a break today? Just one lousy break?”

I’m almost at work. If I’d left just a few minutes earlier I would’ve beat the storm but how was I to know it was going to rain? I don’t watch the weather.

My new pants are getting soaked and sticking to my legs. At least my blouse is covered by my jacket, but the sleeves are riding up as I grip the handlebars. I can already feel the water seeping up my arms. Damn! Why didn’t I leave earlier?

I’m approaching a stoplight and see the countdown on the walk button. It has eight seconds left. If I hurry I can make it across the street. The office is just a block away. I’m ten minutes early. I’ll get there, run to the restroom and use the hand dryer to dry my clothes.

I hunch down and pedal faster, my eyes focused on the countdown timer, which is now at five seconds. As I enter the intersection I’m hit by a force so strong it launches me from my bike. Thunder claps, and for a moment I think I might’ve been struck by lightning.

My body lands in the street with a thud, my head hitting hard against the wet pavement. I see stars, then my vision fades in and out. I hear yelling but it sounds distant, like an echo.

Cars start honking and I hear a man’s voice.

“Miss, are you okay?” he asks.

I feel him next to me but can’t see him. My eyes are closed. I feel like I’m falling asleep.

“Talk to me,” he says. “Tell me where it hurts.”

Pain shoots through my head and remains there, throbbing, getting worse by the second.

Cars start honking and someone yells, “Get out of the damn street!”

It’s followed by more honking and then someone yells, “She’s been hit!”

Voices start chattering all around me. I feel people there but can’t see them. My eyelids are heavy. Too heavy to open.

“Stay back,” the man beside me yells. I feel him covering me with something. Maybe a jacket?

It all seems to be happening in slow motion. It feels like I’m not really here. Like I’m just watching from afar. Am I dead? 

“Miss, can you tell me where it hurts?” the man next to me asks, but I’m unable to answer. Instead I moan a little as my head falls to the side.

Warm strong hands slip under my neck and I hear the man again. “Don’t move. You don’t want to damage your spine.”

His hands move to the side of my head, holding it in place.

“I’m so sorry.” His voice is soft and steady but I can hear his concern. Why is he worried? What’s wrong with me? Am I dying?

“You’re going to be okay,” he says, which makes me wonder if I asked the question out loud. I don’t think I did. I can barely open my eyes so I doubt I was able to talk. “The ambulance is on its way.”

The man’s hand continues to hold my head in place while his other hand reaches down and wraps around mine. “I know you’re scared but I’m right here. I won’t leave you. I promise.” He lightly squeezes my hand. “Just stay with me, okay?”

My eyes try to flutter open but can’t. It’s like they’ve been weighted down.

“Stay with me,” I hear the man say as he clutches my hand. “They’re almost here.” I hear him exhale a long heavy breath. “God, I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”

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