By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 668
Back in the summer of '83, Ace was going off the track in a big way. He lost his wife and son in a drink driving accident, well because of a drunk driver. With the driver being a high profile lawyer and buddies with the Premier of New South Wales, he managed to get off the charge with no criminal record; no time served and not even a fine.
Ace began drinking' and driving' himself after the trial and disappointment of seeing a powerful man escape justice. Each day was bringing me closer to Hell, with the Devil in the passenger's seat of his automobile. The Devil said to him each time he started the car, “Hey Ace, let's not be silly, there's a life out there to steal.” I didn’t know this at the time, I just thoughts he wasn’t coping with life.
He was a good friend of mine and we had been in a band, The Rock Soldier, together since high school. I don’t know how I missed how stoned Ace was the night of the accident that he caused when we drove home from a gig down in Sydney. I thought he must have been coming to terms with his loss. I thought Ace was back.
It was midnight on 12 December and we were on the highway back to Brisbane after four months touring the east coast; playing at any and every pub or hotel that would book us. I was sick after eating a bad batch of Chinese takeaway, otherwise it would have been mean me driving, and the accident probably would not have happened. Ace assured me he hadn’t had a drink all week and he was sober. I smelt his breath and he seemed clean, so I felt safe with him at the wheel.
The sound of a police siren screeching like a banshee, hot on our tail woke me. I could see the flashing red and blue lights in the mirror and feel a chill in the car that was not from the AC being too high. I told Ace to pull over, but his eyes were glazed over and he did not seem to be focused on anything. They looked glazed over, as he had skulled a bottle of Jim Beam while I was asleep. I tried to grab his arm, but something stopped me. An unseen cold, bony hand grabbed my right arm and pushed it away. Nobody else was in the car, but I swear I saw someone, something, in the rear vision mirror when I looked back at the police car again. Something sort of human, but red and black, with horns like a ram and jagged teeth like a great white shark, smiling at me. When I blinked, it was gone and only the flashing lights of the patrol car were there again.
I heard Ace scream, “I am invincible.”
I didn’t see the truck we hit or remember that much else from that night. In amongst the wrecked metal, smell of leaking fuel and blood, I rolled in and out of consciousness. Ace’s neck seemed to be at a strange angle and as I could tell, he wasn’t going to be waking up any time soon.
Friends say they will stay with you right through that danger zone, but the closer you get to that fiery hole the more you realise that you will have to make it alone. I felt my right leg burn; I looked down and saw the bone protruding from just below the knee. That pain was not as bad as the pain I felt, seeing Ace’s soul painfully pulled from his corpse. Ace looked at me with terror in his eyes and there was nothing I could do.
When I think of how my life was spared from that near fatal wreck at least I know that if the Devil wants to play his card game now He is going to have to play without an Ace in his deck!
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