New to this story? Read Part 1.
Patrick raced down the sidewalk, sweat trickling down his back. As he came within sight of his house he skidded to a halt. There, across the street, sat Nellie, playing in the flowers in their front yard.
Anger and relief surged in him, the first directed at his father’s negligence and the second flowing from the glorious knowledge that Nellie was safe. He squatted and rested his forearms on his knees, breathing in ragged gasps.
“PATTY!” a young voice cried with delight. He looked up. Arms thrown up in excitement, Nellie was running—
—running into the street.
a blur and a silence and a form—crumpled
—he was screaming—
so small so small so very very small
—he was kneeling beside her—
so still so still so very very still
someone, anyone—his father, there
HELP! GET HELP!
not breathing is she breathing don’t know don’t know how do you know
—his father staring, not moving—
someone, anyone—the truck’s driver, there
—walking, apprehensive turned apologetic turned
as he saw, he saw her, oh God no, not a girl, not a little girl
HELP! CALL 911!
—truck driver jabbering into cell phone—
is she dead is she dead she can’t be dead
she can’t be
—sirens wailing, uniforms rushing—
she can’t be she can’t be she can’t be
—name, boy, her name?—