Pile-up on the New Sheppy Crossing

The announcement came through on the radio.
“Breaking news. More than a hundred vehicles involved in a pile up in foggy conditions on the New Sheppy Crossing Bridge…” Mum dropped the plate she’d been drying with a clatter, leaping for the radio and turning it up to maximum. The female voice of the news announcer echoes through the kitchen.
“It is believed that there are some serious injuries. Fire, police and ambulance are already in attendance. Motorists are being asked to avoid this area…”
I’m up and running, running to my mother, whose face is stricken and frozen in horror.
“Dad?” I choke out. Mum reacts, and she’s fumbling in her bag with shaking hands. After a moment she grits her teeth, turning her handbag upside down. The contents torrent across the floor, and she snatches up her phone and is dialling before I’ve had time to blink. Her eyes are too big, bulging in her head, and her teeth are worrying on her bottom lip.
The radio is continuing on in the background. “Up to thirty response vehicles including a hazardous response team.” The phone is ringing, ringing, ringing. I hear the recorded voice – ‘the person you are calling is unable to reach their phone…’ and mum takes it from her ear, redialling desperately.
“It’s okay,” I’m talking, words spilling from my mouth. I’m fighting to be heard over the news reporter, whose voice fills the kitchen.
My babbling reassurances do nothing to make me feel any better about this situation, but I can’t stop. “If he’s still driving, he’s not going to be able to reach his phone. There are loads of reasons why he wouldn’t pick up. Dad’s fine. He’s fine.” I keep repeating those last two words like a lucky charm, as though they’ll ward off any danger that may surround him.


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