The right side of his face was hot. Even though DJ was all the way over in the HOV lane, he could still feel the intense heat from the burning car lying upside-down on the grassy incline beside the road. He saw the smoke from a mile away, but refused to believe the possibility that there just might be a dreadful situation ahead. Now it was directly to his right, completely engulfed in flame. Only the skeleton of the car remained as the last bits of metallic skin fed the inferno. Occasionally DJ heard the loud pop of some inner mechanism exploding. He involuntarily blinked every time the car shouted another death sigh. Above his head cars were speeding by on the bridge, only glancing down at the source of the smoke. DJ pieced the simple story together.
Someone went careening off the bridge.
The line of cars ahead of him had slowed to a crawl. Everyone had to get a glimpse of the scene, hoping to see a violent sprawl of death and destruction. DJ was getting extremely frustrated and had to wipe ice cold sweat from his incredibly hot neck.
"Fucking GO!" he shouted at his steering wheel. No one was moving. This only escalated the panic in his brain because all he wanted to do was put this mess behind him. Any second now the gas tank could explode and spread the fire to his car, trapping him in a burning prison of steel & glass. He couldn't stop thinking about the possibility. Every time he played the images in his head they would become more intense. While his death was constant in every instance, the details were increasingly gruesome. Other cars crushing him and shattering all his bones, his internal organs boiling like small pillows of ravioli. The final image was a massive crow flying away with his charred black skull crammed in its beak. He nearly passed out from the stress.
No car ahead of him budged. ”MOVE!" he screamed, rolling down his window. The couple directly in front of him put their car in park. The passenger seat window rolled down and he saw a woman's arms extend out holding a disposable camera. A flash popped from the camera seconds after the inside of the burning car emitted its own pop.
“Dios mío, are they snapping pictures?” DJ whispered in disbelief. His right hand slowly raised to his mouth, trembling the entire journey. The woman even stepped out of the car, extending a long beautiful leg that absorbed and reflected the light spewing from the burning car. If this had not been such a nightmarish situation, DJ might have yelled something like “Hey baby, lookin’ hot!”, but this was not the time or place. He did make a mental note to use that joke in the future.
The woman pulled her sunglasses from her eyes and placed them on her forehead, as if to get a better view of the blaze. DJ saw her mouth form the words “Holy… fuck,” and she captured another moment in disposable film. He could hear the click of the camera from inside his car. Out of curiosity, DJ tilted his head to the right to get a better view of what was engaging this woman.
Before his head could come to a rest his entire field of vision turned white. It was simultaneously blinding and dim. Accompanying the intense whiteness was an extremely loud clap seconds later.
The flaming car exploded.
After his mind had been treated to this feast of auditory and visual delights, an intense heat began to wash all over his body. It was like being tucked into a giant warm bed. Every inch of his body was ignited. Flaming covers & sheets draped over him in a slightly comforting fashion. This was short lived, however, as he could then feel his skin peeling off.
This was DJ now. Roasting and catapulting backwards like a red hot peeled apple. By the time he hit the cement he was only raw meat but still very much alive. He could feel every minute detail of the gravel beneath him, and it was so intense he attempted to scream. As he opened his mouth nothing came out, but a small trail of flames led by gasoline entered in.
This was what DJ did on the afternoon of October 10th.
Massive chunks of his burnt skin were flopping around the cement like a dying seal. He still wasn’t screaming. For DJ, this was pure horror and pain mainlined directly to his brain.
He wanted to be something scary for the Halloween party but this was a little much.