Her mother and father are fighting once again, while the young girl pretends to sleep in the back seat. The father tunes his wife out by blaring the music. Frustrated and exhausted the mother lashes out hitting his arm, screaming at his to listen to what she has to say. He holds up his arm, defending his face. Having little focus on driving, the car begins to sway off the paved road.
The girl stops pretending to sleep when she feels the rumble of the car driving on the wet dirt and rocks. She sits up to ask her father what’s happening but is whipped to the side as the car’s wheels loses traction causing it to smash into a streetlight. The shattering of glass pierces the silence as the crunching of metal echo through the forest. The little girl watches as if it is slow motion. The streetlight looked different from the others—older with darker paint. She once saw it in a story book. She sees the panic in his eyes through the rearview mirror and squeezes her eyes shut.The front of the car wraps around the pole as if it was a scarf tossed over someone’s shoulders. The lamp post stays strong and tall, but its light flickers ever so slightly. Her father is faced down on the deflating air bag. Time speeds up once again for the girl, and the initial shock is replaced by panic as she cries.
The lamppost shines through the window, lighting up her mother’s face in the passenger side. The girl closes her eyes wanting the image to go away. No matter how many times she opens and closes eyes, the lamp post light still slithers in, forcing her to see. She cannot bare to look any longer at the blood stains on her mother’s face and clothes. She unbuckles her seat belt, and grabs her stuffed bear’s paw. Her small hands clench the door handle, and swings the door open. The puddle under her feet soaks her socks as she stands. Looking up at the sky, she sees how the lamp light above causes the falling rain drops to twinkle. The girl wishes she could be strong and tall, she wishes she could light up the world so that help could come.
A booming thunder startles the girl and she begins to cry. The trees shake from the strong winds. She turns her head to see a truck oncoming. It slows down, seeing the mangled car at the side of the road. An elderly man steps out of his car and walks over to the lamp post. The girl sees him, knowing help is here and walks towards him. He sees the young girl in the light and holds out his hands to her. She steps outside of the lamp post’s glow and disappears. He steps back, jarred from her absence. He looks around as if he needed another person to confirm what he saw, but no one was there to witness. He takes out his out-dated flip phone and calls emergency services. As he paces, he looks up the light post. His eyes follow the light path through the window and sees the mother’s face. Overwhelmed by the scene, he leans against the base of the lamp post.
~ ~ ~
The little girl’s heart shatters when the man walked away from her. She stands in the dark, wondering why he doesn’t comfort her as he talks to the operator. She watches as he explain the scene while using the bottom of the street lamp to support his weight.
Her mother always says not to talk to strangers, therefore the little girl does not say a word. However, that does not mean she can’t hold his hand. She walks back into the light, where the man stood. Positioned beside the man, she looks up at him, waiting for him to get off the phone. He does not notice her, so she taps his arm that has its hand on the pole.
The operator tells him help is on its way, he nods and hangs up and closes the phone, ending the call. He goes to put the phone back into his coat and sees the same girl from before with haunting eyes staring up at him. He lets out a scream, dropping his phone, and backs away. The little girl flinches at his reaction, lowering her head closer to her shoulder. The man hesitates for a moment, wondering if what he sees is real, but as he backs into the darkness, the little girl follows and disappears. Leaving his phone on the ground, he runs back to his truck, jumps in and drives off.
~ ~ ~
The sound of sirens approach from a distance. She stays hidden behind the lamp post. It comforts her as she wraps her arms around it.The emergency response team works fast at cutting out the doors to the car to get to the family, not noticing the little girl watching. The lamp gives off enough light for them to see and work effectively, when normally they need their own source of artificial light.
The little girl stays back as the men and women work at saving her parents. They get the doors open, and pull out her mother, her father and a small body. She steps out of the light, to get a closer look at who it could be.
The emergency response team hope fades, as they check each body. Sorrow fills their hearts as they declare the whole family dead. The little girl overhears, and the lamp post’s light goes out.