I write stories that are strange, possibly a little weird. Probably a lot weird. That’s because I really believe that the world we live in is a truly strange place, and as a writer, I feel like it’s my job to tell about the way I see the world. Besides, what good would a fantasy writer be if he didn’t believe that there was more out there?
Let me share a true story with you.
The way the weather works in the Deep South is like this: Summer begins in March and lasts until November. We then enjoy two months of Fall, a month and a half of Winter followed closely by two weeks of Spring. Then summer hits you squarely in the face like a two by four.
I was thirteen. It was a beautiful March day in 1985. My Dad had traded for a Honda motorcycle from someone at the car dealership that he owned. He brought that Honda home and I rode it around the country roads where we lived. I decided to go for a ride on a warm, early summer morning. I wore a pair of shorts and a sleeveless muscle shirt, and I had a helmet with a full face shield. I debated on whether or not to wear the helmet, but decided that I should. Helmet on, I took off. I came to the fork in the road near my house and turned left. A mile and a half later, at the main access road, I took a right. The morning sun was rising, nearly straight up, not quite blinding. I sailed down the road, around one curve, then the next. I grew confident in my skills as a rider. I gradually slipped the throttle open. The speedometer steadily climbed higher.
The third curve was steep. Not that steep curves are necessarily the problem, if you know what you are doing. The problem this day was that there was a driveway that turned off the road right smack dab in the middle of the curve. The driveway was gravel and there were loose rocks spilled all along the road, right in the curve. I remember seeing the rocks, I remember the front wheel coming to the rocks, then I remember flipping head over feet for about twenty yards down the road. When I came to a stop, I couldn’t see anything. The face shield was so scratched and scarred from me sliding face first down the road, and everything was painted red. I went to unbuckle the helmet and there was searing pain from both of my forearms. I struggled to get the helmet off, finally breaking free and realized that both of my arms were completely skinned. My nose was bloodied which gave the helmet that nice red tint. Every breath brought on crushing pain in my sides. I rolled over to try to get leverage to make it to my feet. I brought my left knee under me and as I put weight on my right leg to stand, I was hit with unbearable pain and a wave of nausea swept over me as I dry heaved. At that moment I realized I had not eaten breakfast, and for that I was momentarily thankful. I looked down to see my lower right leg was covered in blood and you could clearly see bone where my right knee should have been. Like a storm gathering on the horizon, darkness started creeping into my peripheral vision. It only took a minute for me to be swallowed whole by the darkness.
I think it was the bouncing that brought me to my senses. I was laying in the backseat of an old Mazda four door car. We were bouncing down the dirt road that was one turn away from the dirt road that I lived on. I had no idea where I was, or who I was for that matter. The only thing I remember was a black man was driving the car and I was in his back seat. I felt the pain in my ribs and leg again, and once more I blacked out.
When I opened my eyes again, I heard my mother screaming at the man as he scooped me out of his back seat and gingerly deposited me on the front porch of my house.
“Did you hit him?!?!” My mother screamed at the man.
“No ma’am, I found him like this.” Were the only words I remember the man speaking. He climbed back into his little sedan, and off he went. We never saw him again. I had never seen him prior to the accident, which is odd because we lived in a small community where you knew all of your neighbors by the sound of their mufflers going down the road. I had no identification since I was too young to have a driver’s license and I was several turns from home. Apparently he had scooped my limp body from the middle of the road and placed me in his car and driven me home.
I recovered from the wreck which gave me six broken ribs, a torn up knee, both arms covered in road rash and a fractured wrist that was not diagnosed and eventually healed improperly. But I guess there’s a bonus to that situation. I can now predict rain with my left wrist.
Some people believe in angels, some don’t. I don’t know who that man was, but I know that I am thankful for him every day of my life. It’s not one of those things that you necessarily talk about in polite company. If you go around saying that you have seen angels or that you have been involved in some inexplicable phenomenon, you might get labeled as the family crazy person. Or you get labelled as the eccentric brother that we parade out for laughs, or sometimes you get looked at with blank stares and mouths agape. But sometimes when you tell that story, something resonates with someone else. That knowing look is exchanged that lets you know that the other person has had a similar experience and a sort of validation is noted.
Angels, inter-dimensional travelers, beings from another place or time, or just simple coincidence and chance. However you rationalize it, I choose to believe that the world we live in is a strange place. I don’t have things all figured out, and I tend to be distrustful of people that say they do. That probably says more about me than them. That’s why I write weird stories, to try to figure things out, and hopefully to bring a little whimsy into the world.
I don’t understand everything, and I’m OK with that.
What about you?