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Authors: P.A Warren

Life After

BOOK: Life After
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Life After


Copyright © 2014 by Peggy Warren

Cover Art by Sprinkles on Top Studios and photo courtesy of Shutter Stock

Edited b
y RIP Author Services

Formatted By Cassie Cook

 All rights reserved.


No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


Hadley is Lost. Living is a struggle with her family gone, leaving her the lone survivor of a horrible car accident. As Hadley struggles to overcome the grief that comes with the loss of her family, she wonders if she wants to continue living. Life doesn’t feel worth living until she meets Avery. Avery…who makes her want to feel things she shouldn’t so soon after her tragic loss. Avery…who makes her want to live. With Avery’s love, will she be able to overcome the grief or will it consume her?




“It will get better. Maybe not today, or tomorrow,

it will eventually. Every storm comes to an end.”

Dedicated to all those that consider
books their friends.



Life has a way of taking turns you never expected. I had no way of knowing that the last thing I would say to my dad would be out of anger. I was so unprepared for them all to be gone. I mean really who is prepared for it? Ironically I remember how mom and dad used to watch a show about surviving doomsday and how they would always say be prepared for anything and everything. Well mom and dad, I failed that test.

Closing my eyes only to see that truck barreling down towards us. Grimacing at the realness of the crunch of metal, the screeching of tires invades my senses. The pain when the metal connects with my knee feels like it’s happening all over again in slow motion. I see blood covering me, the coppery stench filling my nostrils. I’m not sure how long it took the ambulance to get too us being that I was in and out of consciousness but I clearly remember opening my eyes and not understanding why my sister was jammed up limp next to me or why my mom wouldn’t answer my cries. I see the glass in my skin but I feel no pain. It was as if I was hearing everything underwater and I was drowning. What I couldn’t understand was why God chose for me to live and for them to die. I couldn’t help but think fate screwed me over. Later on down the road I would realize just how lucky I was to survive.

Reaching for my
notebook I open it turning to where my Bucket List is and run my hand over the page, caressing it. I created it a few years ago and have been adding to it since. My dad had been helping me with some of the more adventurous activities on the list like the rock climbing and helicopter ride. He even entered an eating contest with me just so I wouldn’t be embarrassed entering alone, and darned if he didn’t actually win that contest. We were supposed to go Jet Skiing the following weekend; instead I ended up attending their funeral.

Throwing the
notebook against the wall I walk away from it leaving it where it landed haphazardly on the floor.


Chapter One


“It will get better. Maybe not today, or tomorrow,

it will eventually. Every storm comes to an end.”



Fall 2012


I am alone,
a single soul. No longer am I a part of a family unit. The overwhelming feeling of loss is paving its way through my body. Who knew your heart could actually hurt or that you could feel so damn empty inside. I feel like brittle glass. I bet if someone touched me I would shatter into a million tiny pieces. Digging my nails into my wrist I embrace the pain my nails are causing as they sharply bite into my skin.

My mother used to
always say; Hadley, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I personally think it’s a crock of crap. I mean what exactly does it do to make you stronger? What exactly am I supposed to feel like? Superman? It didn’t make them stronger; all it did was take them away from me. Sighing inwardly, I was so close to death and I don’t feel strong at all. I feel like a suicidal wreck. I can’t help but know it should be me in that casket and not them.

The Minister’s voice breaks into my fading thoughts shaking me into the present. I avert my
eyes and stare off into the distance, my eyes on two birds circling the field in the distance. I wonder what it would be like to fly away, to not have a care in the world.

Lowering the caskets into the ground is almost too much to bear; watching the changing leaves dancing around the cemetery floating along with the breeze, I long to float away with them. T
he same crisp autumn breeze tangles my hair pulling it in front of my face and pushes my hair behind my ears while I look at the bright sun. 

The birds are singing br
ight happy songs and I find it ironic, it should be raining.  I hear women behind me sniffling into tissues, issuing a cough here and there. Someone near the back is gossiping and it’s taking everything in me not to turn around and tell them to shut up and stop crying. They didn’t lose their family. I did. I should be the one crying, but I’m not. My knee is throbbing in pain standing on crutches watching the minister drone on and on, the pain medication doing nothing to dilute it.

I can’t stand here watching this unfold, closing my eyes taking a deep breath before deciding whether to stay or go, I choose the latter and try to figure out an escape route. I’m eighteen, I shouldn’t have to be at a funeral, I should be out having fun, and instead it feels like my life is over.
None of my friends are here and last night my phone kept pinging with messages for parties that I had to turn it off.

My family is dead, and whenever I let the haze lift it hits me like a ton of bricks straight in my chest, that I’ll always be alone.
My heart is suddenly racing and it’s extremely hard to breathe.  Bypassing the knowing eyes of dad’s co-workers, I trudge from the graveside service. Leaves make a tornado around my legs as I retreat.

Reaching the truck with a heavy heart I sit inside drowning in the silence it offers. Tears overflow
while I watch the leaves hitting the windshield. The pain I’m feeling is nothing compared to the pain in my heart.  After what feels like hours, my Aunt Jenny, gets in the car. I didn’t know her very well growing up but she’s the only family I have left. A stranger.

“Hadley, you shouldn’t have left like that, you were representing your family leaving wasn’t the right choice. Not that I probably wouldn’t have done the same thing but still it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t say something to you.”

She looks at me, averts her eyes to the road and puts on her sunglasses not saying a word. We drive back to my empty house in silence.






Since the accident I only have one dream and it always starts out innocent enough yet it’s always the same. My dad and I are arguing and just as I am about to open my mouth, bright lights head straight for us. I don’t have time to contemplate why before the impact of metal on metal happens. After that all I can focus on is the pain, the smell of gasoline that is so very strong and being trapped upside down in the car. Every night I wake up to this same nightmare, it’s like freaking clockwork. They gave me pills for my panic attacks but they aren’t working. I guess I expected to take them and the panic would be gone—how wrong I was because it’s still here knocking in my chest. Banging my head on my pillow I just want to sleep for one hour, I’d take anything at this point. But when I close my eyes all I see is blood. I can’t flipping handle it anymore tearing my hands through my hair I think about anything to take my mind off this.

into the kitchen the first thing I see is my mom’s crossword puzzle lying on the table. Looking over to my purse that it’s sitting on the counter where I accidently left it with the pills inside I ungracefully head straight for it. Worriedly grabbing it I stick my hand in and begin rooting around in it finally making contact with a pill bottle. The label reads Xanex and I pop a few in my mouth, cringing as I cup a handful of water from the sink, smearing the drops onto my night shorts. Moving into the living room I’m greeted by my dad’s slippers on the floor next to his favorite chair. It makes my stomach clench and my eyes tear up. I was convinced I had no more tears left, but they are running down my face in ugly unapologetic streaks. I fall gracelessly into his chair and bury my nose in the cushion inhaling deeply, smelling his aftershave and cologne.  I hurt so much I’m not sure I  will ever be whole again. Staring off into space I let myself fall into a daze of memories. Those same memories that used to comfort me now bring me panic attacks.

My breathing
quickens and my heart triturates out of control… I’m a wave in the midst of a storm at sea; bright flashes overtake my site as panic overcomes me. I know this feeling, I’m going to pass out there’s no controlling it anymore. My fingers clench the arms of the chair as I fight to catch my breath, but it’s of no use. I’m going to pass out no matter what I try to do to stop it. Black spots dot my vision until I go under just like the wave in the snarling ocean.





The sound of the doorbell brings me out of my
panic induced faint and I take a huge gulp of air stirring in my dad’s chair. I stare groggily at the door and then back at the staircase, I make my decision easily. Standing up slowly I move as quickly as I can to my room ignoring Aunt Jenny who is calling to me from below. Sighing as I lean against the door I look at the room I grew up in. I feel like a stranger here. It’s an odd feeling like I belong in this place yet I don’t. Without them it’s just brick and mortar.

Empty, the same as me.

Moving my hands along my sheer white curtains I peer out my window and see the two Anna’s. They’re our neighbors both named Anna and we hear the story every time we see them together. My grandma used to play bingo with them before she passed away. I really don’t want to see anyone right now and if I know those old busy bodies they will want to stop and talk to me saying how sorry they are and what a pity it is, yadda yadda  all while prying for more information. I can’t handle that right now and going off on them isn’t an option. Luckily, my Aunt Jenny was able to drive down to take care of the funeral and sweet talk the doctors into letting me out of the hospital early so I could actually attend the funeral. I’ll be moving in with her and her boyfriend once we leave here in a few days.






I woke in the hospital alone, I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty scary waking up all alone and no one answering any of your questions. The nurses wouldn’t tell me anything until Jenny arrived. Which really had me picking my brain as too why my aunt would drive all the way down here for this. I kept expecting my mom or dad to walk in but they never did. The nurses kept looking at me with pity and sadness and at the time I thought it was due to my injuries. Oh how wrong I was. Once Jenny was there they broke the news about what happened. My family didn’t survive. I started screaming and didn’t stop until the nurse came in with a sedative.

Aunt Jenny was a major surprise to me. I haven’t seen her in years so it’s like we aren’t even family. She’s ten years younger than my mom, with curly blond hair and what color eyes
?. She works in Texas as a cheerleading coach or something like that. 

Jenny was si
tting in a chair by my bed when the sedatives wore off, and we stared at each other, a silent standoff. When Jenny walked into my hospital room the day after they broke the news to me about my family we both stared at each other, a silent standoff. My mom didn’t really talk about Jenny much and we never visited so I was very surprised to see her… The awkwardness in the beginning was well...awkward.

What do you say to a family member you’ve never met that’s basically stuck with you without a choice? I’m fully indebted to a person I hardly know anything about. Luck was by my side by being stuck in the hospital bed as we had lots and I mean lots of time to talk to get to know each other. Well okay it was more her talking and me listening to bits and pieces of her conversation while staring off into space enjoying the aftereffects of the morphine they gave me.

I can’t get over how different Jenny is from my mom, she’s so laid back. My mom constantly worried about image and here Jenny is in track pants and a tank top. The best part is she snuck in some fast food for me because she said and I quote, “Hospital food is garbage but this greasy goodness is Heaven.” While I unapologetically scarfed fries down. She told me a little about herself; apparently she is living with her boyfriend named Andrew who has in fact proposed a whopping ten times. Why she won’t put the poor guy out of his misery I haven’t a clue. I asked but all she did was shake her head and said she didn’t want to get married right now.

We talked
about why she never visited, apparently she and mom had a huge blow out fight before Jenny left for college about something she refused to say and they never spoke a word since.

“Mom shouldn’t have kept you away from me; she didn’t want you influencing me.” As soon as I said that I realized I made a mistake opening my mouth and slap my hand over it

“Hadley, we all make mistakes and you can’t be made at her now. You need to let bygones be bygones.”

After she left I was stuck in the silent hospital bed with way too much time to think and the inability to sleep.






After showering I find myself standing in front of my mirror staring at the person staring back at me.
I see myself but it’s as if I’m no longer a person but an actor just acting a part to get by. Standing solemnly taking in my reflection there is nothing more that I would like to do than break the mirror

Everything looks the same on the outside if only it was the same on the inside…My green eyes are still there as is my straight brown hair. My body is still slender and then there is the brand new white bandage covering the
stitches across the left side of my face. My left leg is covered in an ace type bandage and a brace, grimacing; I look away, unable to fathom my own disfigurement.

I’ve been told my knee will never be the same and I wish I could just peel away the damn bandage and see how bad it is. My stomach rolls when I think of all the
doctors it took to put it back together. Laughing inwardly, I’m like humpty dumpty, only I don’t think I can or want to be put back together again.

Closing my eyes ag
ainst my reflection I can feel darkness flowing through me... I grab the bible off the dresser and chuck it at the mirror, cracking in it into tiny little pieces, just like my life. Breathing heavily, I stare at my broken reflection, the multitude of cracks making my body look disproportioned. I pick up a piece of the broken mirror, turning it around in my hand so the sharp point is away from me. Watching the mirror I see myself sliding it along my arm as I watch it scrape its way down to my wrist leaving a very thin scratch that allows dots of blood to seep through to the surface. Looking back towards my reflection I see myself standing there holding the piece of mirror next to my skin, shaking my head out of the fog I realize what I just did and grab my towel and sit on my bed breathing deeply.

BOOK: Life After
7.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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