Gone In Thirty Seconds

One minute she was standing there, laughing, smiling, chatting, being her usual happy self. Then in thirty seconds it was over. There was the sound of screeching brakes, a cry of pain that words could not describe, a sickening thud. And then silence. A long mournful silence. Thirty seconds and it was all over. Laura was a bright, bubbly, happy 16 year old, maybe one of the happiest around. She had everything going for her. She did well at school, had the looks every girl wished for, a wide circle of friends and a boyfriend that thought the world of her.

In thirty seconds she lost all of it. It was a couple of days after the GCSE results had come out. The holiday so far had been great, the weather had been constantly hot and sunny and Laura was living her life to the full. She was still taking in the feeling of freedom after the strain of the exams. It was as if a giant weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Laura, of course, had got straight As in her exams so it was time to celebrate her success and a new start at a new school for A levels. A big evening out had been arranged.

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Everyone met at Laura’s house and danced around the room singing to Britney Spears whilst getting dressed up to hit the town. As the girls arrived the room filled with the chatter of exam results and the summer holiday. There was a strong feeling of relief in the air as everyone had worked hard and reached their expectations in the exams. Spirits were high and everyone was ready for the night ahead. Once ready, the girls all sat down to watch television and wait for the guys to come and pick them up. The guys arrived and everyone headed off down town. Laura was in a dream world.

The sky was clear, the air was warm and there was an overall summery feeling. Laura was in an even better mood because her arms were linked with her two favourite people, the ones who had helped her through the good times and the bad. One was her boyfriend James. They had met in Laura’s workplace a year ago. She worked as a waitress in a small, local coffee shop. James worked for his dad next door in the electronics shop. At ten o’clock every Saturday morning he would come in for his tea break and would order the same thing every time: a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate cake.

He had caught Laura’s eye the first time he had come in and after a couple of times Laura would have his order ready and waiting for him dead on ten o’clock. They got chatting and soon after they were going out. All Laura’s friends thought it was just another fling as she was well known for getting bored after a couple of weeks and moving on. Everyone was surprised when they had their six month anniversary. It was now a year later and they were still going strong. In her other arm was Laura’s best friend, Madeline. They had known each other for as long as either of them could remember.

Their parents were good friends so Maddie and Laura would get taken to each others’ houses and even at the age of one they could play happily together for hours. Now, sixteen years on, they could sit and chat for hours on end. There would always be something for them to talk about. They could run up a phone bill of five pounds with just one conversation. They were the closest of friends and they knew anything and everything about each other. They were inseparable. Yes, they would fall out, but they would soon be talking again. Laura could easily say she loved Maddie like her own sister, she loved her more than anything in the world.

She would give her life for Maddie and Maddie would do the same for her. The evening passed by like a flash. The group moved around every club in town. Laura and Maddie danced the night away like nothing else mattered. At three o’clock in the morning when the last club closed Laura and Maddie said good bye to their friends and headed off into the night. They decided to take the short cut through the woods back to Maddie’s house. They set off down the small road which wound through the woods, holding hands so not to lose each other in the darkness.

They were walking along laughing and joking as usual when suddenly out of nowhere a car came skidding full speed down the road. There was the deafening screeching of brakes, car head lights filled up the darkness around them, there was then a sickening thud and a chilling cry of pain. Then suddenly it was darkness again and there was a long silence as the car sped away into the distance leaving Laura lying cold and motionless and Maddie’s crippled, broken body next to her. Time stood still for Laura as she drifted in and out of consciousness. She could have been lying there for five minutes or five hours it was impossible to tell.

When she came round fully she realised it was getting light. She looked over at the crippled body of her best friend lying there. Dead. One solitary tear slid down Laura’s face and dripped on to the road. Laura felt numb with loss and hatred for the driver who did this to Maddie. The fact that Maddie was dead didn’t sink in. A year on and Laura still couldn’t accept it. She couldn’t accept the fact that she would never see Maddie again, never hear her voice and never hear her laughing again. Laura couldn’t accept that. She wouldn’t. After Maddie’s death Laura had stopped going out.

Her standard of work at school fell to a level she didn’t think possible. She lost touch with most of her friends from her old school as they had all gone to different places for A levels. The closer ones tried to stay in touch but Laura was in a world of her own, a world with no colour or happiness. James tried to stick by her and support her but even he didn’t have any success. He wanted to be there for her but she wouldn’t let him. He saw less and less of her until she told him not to bother calling again. Laura put up a protective barrier around herself keeping her from the world and the people in it.

She wouldn’t make conversation with people let alone let them get close to her. It was almost as if it was Laura who had been hit by the car that night. She had lost all the life in her body when Maddie died. However, a year after Maddie’s death Laura started to come out of her shell slightly. She became friends with a group of people she knew from her school. She also started to get back into contact with her old friends. Nevertheless, there is one person that she can’t forgive and that’s Maddie. She can’t forgive Maddie for loving her so much. Laura knew Maddie gave her life for her.

She knew Maddie had put herself in front of that car to save Laura. Laura had heard the screeching of breaks and had seen the car headlights lighting up the woods around them. She had also felt herself being grabbed and thrown across to the side of the road by Maddie. Maddie had not had time to move out of the way. Laura also can’t forgive herself for not having had fast enough reactions to pull Maddie out the way of the speeding car. When asked about it Laura just simply says, ‘it could have been me lying there dead……. it should have been me’.