One moment everything was normal. There had been light, playful banter in the car which Julie had found it difficult to include herself (she was a naturally contemplative person and long car rides tended only to accentuate this trait). Her few feeble attempts at being a part of the conversation came back sounding like a mother hen to her ears and she soon gave up before the others could catch on. Julie let her mind drift off as she stared out the car window at the ice and snow blurring past in the waning winter light, vaguely wondering if coming along on this holiday with Cassie had been a bad idea...
The next moment, Julie felt the tires go loose under her. The car swerved sharply and suddenly one way, then the other and then the sense of ground was gone.
There was impact. Then another. And another. Like a lame bird trying to soar, the car repeatedly flew from and fell back to earth. The rough, rocky descent stirred up her guts and when it finally stopped, a brief outburst of panic had Julie's hands pawing at her torso to make sure they were still inside her where they belonged. She calmed down upon finding herself intact, only then noticing the incline of the wrecked car and the ache in her neck and collarbone from where the seatbelt had squeezed hold of her like some murderous boa.
A million thoughts ran through Julie's mind; Had something gone wrong with the car? Had Les gone into a skid? Had he seen something in the road? Did they hit a patch of ice? Was Les under the influence? Who was hurt, and how badly? Was there anyone else around? Did Les have insurance? Was this even Les' car?
But when she heard Cassie's sobs and cries of pain up front, the Big Sister in her snapped into action. Though she knew it was preferable after an accident to stay still in case of any unknown injuries or dangers, Julie was compelled to check on the other girl and she felt fine enough, anyway. Considering the angle of the car, she positioned herself as best she could to counter gravity's pull and unfastened her belt. Falling down/forward a bit, Julie caught herself to lessen the sudden weight on the back of Cassie's seat and winced at the needle-like jolt she felt in her right shoulder as she lifted her arm.
Leaning down, she reached a comforting hand out to Cassie.
"Cass, hon-Cassie, are you okay? How about Les?"