Prompt: This year, your character resolves to get his driver’s license. A week after he does, he is driving on a lonely road when a pedestrian suddenly walks in front of the car. Your character hits the person, then panics and drives off. Now, he’s tormented by guilt. Has he killed someone? He can’t find any information about the accident in the newspapers. He needs to discover the truth and, if possible, make amends. But he doesn’t want to be arrested…
Jack was exhilarated. He had finally got his Driving License. Now he could go wherever he wanted to at his own convenience. No waiting for someone to give him a lift or no waiting for public transport. Now he was a Master of his own will. He felt free.
He decided to go take his freedom for a ride, and off he went on a long drive. After quite some time of going in random directions, he came across a peaceful neighborhood. Since it was afternoon, there was no one on the roads. This gave Jack an idea to speed up a bit and enjoy the racing on empty roads. However, soon as he had accelerated and started enjoying the speed, a person came out of nowhere. Jack lost control of the vehicle. It was over in a fraction of second. He panicked, and in the moment of shock, where he should have stopped and checked the pedestrian, he sped off without even looking at the rear view mirror. He went as fast as he could out of the neighborhood and rushed home. He ran to his flat and collapsed on his bed. He still could not believe what just happened. In a while, his intense worry turned to fever and he wept himself to sleep.
Jack took quite a long time to recover from his shock-induced-illness. He was bed-ridden for more than a month. In all the duration, every door bell or telephone call made me anticipate police coming to arrest him. But none came. Every day he would ask someone to read out the Obituary column and accident related news, but did not see any accident deaths. This worried him more and more until he could take it no more. He decided to confess to the people involved and come clean. After he recovered enough to move, against the doctor’s advice, he took off one day to that ill-fated neighborhood. Taking the car was out of option as he was petrified of ever being behind the wheels now. The face of the guy who he had hit was etched in his mind and so was the house from which he was coming out. It is a miracle how much you notice in those crucial seconds when time suddenly goes very slow. He got off from the bus in front of the house soon, but took a longer time to gather courage to open the gate.
The door was opened by an old, friendly looking lady. “You must be Dane’s friend. Please come in. I was expecting you” Jack did not have the courage to correct her. He would have to eventually confess, but thought to wait for some more time. The poor lady. He wondered how to soften the blow. As soon as he entered the drawing room, he came across pictures and pictures of that guy all over the room. He gravitated towards a picture on the mantle piece. Like all the other pictures, this one too showed a man well dressed in three piece expensive looking suit. He was looking meticulous and extremely handsome but, somehow his eyes looked very sad. All the other pictures showed him in similar outfits at different occasions, but always the same, sad eyes.
The old lady came out with a bag and a tea trolley filled with all kinds of cookies. “Here is the bag which Dane asked for. It is packed as requested. But please do have some cookies before you leave.” Jack did not understand. Maybe the lady is in a state of shock. He was pretty sure “Dane” is dead now. It would be cruel to prolong the inevitable now. He wanted to come clean and take the punishment whatever it was for taking a young son from his aged mother. “Ma’am, there is something I wish to tell you. Last month, I was driving down this lane when I hit your son. It was an accident but I should have stopped and done something. It is all my fault. I cannot even begin to say how terribly sorry I am for your loss.” Saying this, he started crying. The old lady sat down next to him and held his hand. For a while she did not say anything. When Jack looked up to her, he saw that she had tears in her eyes but she was smiling. “My dear boy, how terribly mistaken you are! And how unfortunate that you had live with this guilt for more than a month. If you had stopped that day, you would have realized that Dane is not dead. Slightly injured but definitely not dead.” And thus came the story which shocked Jack even more.
Dane or Daniel as he was called earlier used to be a high profile corporate lawyer. He used to earn a lot and had enough to give himself and his mother a very comfortable life for ages. But he was workaholic. Nothing even felt enough. So much so that he had broken up with his artist girlfriend for more than 10 years because he could not leave his job to travel with her. But all that made him perpetually sad with his life. But that day when Jack hit him, he felt he had died. So when he woke up in the hospital with a mere fractured leg, he realized he got a second shot in life. He took a sabbatical off his work and reconnected with his girlfriend. Now he lives his life to the fullest doing whatever makes him happy. The bag which his mother was offering Jack contained documents to make a passport for his mother. Dane was taking his mother on a round-the-world trip with his fiancee.
Jack left the house a changed man. Everyone does not get a chance to experience everything, but you can always learn from other people’s experience. In a way, Jack was also given a second chance in life. He decided to make the fullest of it – first being getting back behind the wheels and learning to drive responsibly.