A great herd of brown beasts came tumbling down a short ravine-wall on the right side of the road in front of my truck. To evade them, I had to smash the break pedal into the floor and rapidly shuffle my hands across the wheel, swerving off to the left and lodging my front left wheel in the road’s gutter.
My arms were so tense they wouldn’t move – the muscles throbbed throughout my wrists, and I noticed the feeling not only there but all over my body. My foot was still pressing the break hard into the floor, and it hurt to be pushing it down but I couldn’t stop; my joints seemed tangled, paralyzed by the mayhem caused by the shock.
I breathed; my neck came loose, and I turned to the left, but something was wrong with my vision. My eyes caught images faster than my brain could see them, and I felt dizzy. The edges of my sight blurred and my neck slackened, dropping my head onto the seat back. I gazed at the ceiling, examining the short, curled hairs of its surface, spotting shapes that looked like animals and faces. An acute pain in my ankle tore my head from rest and I saw that my leg was shaking incessantly. I peeled my fingers from the steering wheel and, rolling my shoulders, lifted my thigh up from the seat.
My foot came off the break and the pain in my ankle flared up – the truck also lurched forward and crashed down, the fender buried in the embankment, a few feet from where it sat before. The impact threw me forwards and my badge pressed into the car horn. Jerking back with my hands over my ears, my spine retaliated by cramping in between my shoulder blades and again in my lower back. I managed to unlatch the door and ram it open with my shoulder, tumbling out of the car into the dust on my back, my head tilted so that I watched, upside-down, as the last of the cattle crossed the road and ambled out of sight. Every muscle was sore – the sudden activity seemed to release my body from its paralysis and instead sent it into waves of pain. These were, I knew, signs of recovery, but they caused a splitting headache and I lay on the ground, relishing the warm sun and the coarse dust on my skin, while a slight breeze cooled the back of my neck, moistened by sweat.
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