He took another gulp. The alcohol stung his throat. The sting felt good. Something ahead on the road froze his blood.
He was drunk. Angry and drunk. A bottle of whiskey was on the passenger seat. It was half full. He took another swig. He pressed down on the accelerator. Perhaps speed would help. His wife had done it again. Why couldn’t she stop? She said she was sorry, she always said that. He had slapped her hard. The children were afraid. They cowered and snuggled into a corner during quarrels.
They silently watched, tears streaming down their faces. He took another gulp. The alcohol stung his throat. The sting felt good. Something ahead on the road froze his blood.
She was unaware of the looming danger. A car was coming right at her, barreling down the road. She was pretty, had an innocent smile and her favorite doll was in her arms. Her birthday was only three days away. She was going to look for a little kitten in the pet shop. Her mother had promised to buy one as a gift. She would call her kitty and feed her every day. Had she looked to her left she would have seen the car. She did not look. She continued crossing the street. She was still smiling. Her little heart throbbed with excitement.
The car was only meters away. She had a bad feeling. A nagging worrying feeling. Her daughter was not in the house.
She was not in her room, and neither was she in the compound. Her birthday had got her really excited. She became careless when excited. The feeling persisted. A bead of sweat broke from her brow. That was a bad sign. She racked her brains trying to figure out her whereabouts. Then it hit her. Hit her like a ton of bricks to the gut. The kitten! She could not stop talking about it. She would have to cross a busy street to get to the pet shop. She made a mad dash to the door.
He was tired. The sun was scalding hot. He was sweating from every pore. Business was slow and he had barely sold any vegetable. He had to try harder. He had to feed his family. He noticed her because of her smile. It was an angelic smile. He scanned the area but did not see an accompanying adult. A potential hazard. His paternal instincts sprang to the fore. It was a busy street. She was only a few steps into the street. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a speeding car. It careened dangerously. She had not seen it. She was helpless. On impulse he sprang into action.
He instantly sobered up. The bottle of whiskey dropped to his lap. He was only meters away from her. He was going too
fast. He slammed on the brakes. The screeching of wheels startled the girl. She looked to her left. She saw the car. The driver looked frightened. Shock rooted her to the spot. Fear immobilized her. Her doll dropped. Her mother appeared at the end of the street. She was panting. Her face turned ghastly white when she saw her helpless daughter. The vegetable vendor was dashing towards her, hoping to save her. Her mother’s scream rent the air. The little girl closed her eyes.