Prom


In a blur of sequins and silk, the four girls flew from the limo. Their driver, still at the wheel, willed himself to move to no avail. They slowed only to kick off their heels and shout for help. Vaulting the barrier cost Emma the deposit on her dress as splintered steel tore through the expensive silk. Carly was first to reach the car. Her legs muddied from sliding down the verge. A trail of diamante glittered in her wake, marking the way for the others. Emma slammed into the car door. The driver, head resting on the wheel, didn’t flinch. Sophia, unable to control her descent, took Emma’s legs from under her. Both landed in a heap on the petrol-soaked grass. By the time Riley had made her descent, their driver had regained his senses and located his phone.  

Flames sprouted from the crumpled hood and began to dance. Carly’s shawl was taken by the wind while she wrestled desperately to open the door. A mother in the front seat tugged at her seatbelt as she pleaded, through sobs, for them to save her baby. The infant screamed. That high pitched, gut-wrenching cry that only babies seem able to produce. Sophia and Emma had untangled themselves from each other. They worked together to free the driver from his seat and drag his limp body a safe distance away from the wreck. He mumbled something incomprehensible and tried to sit up. Emma placed a hand on his shoulder and locked eyes with Sophia. 

“Stay with him.” 

Emma half ran, half skated through the muddy grass. Riley and Carly were trying desperately to open either one of the back doors. The flames grew. The mother, still struggling to free herself, now began to feel the heat. 

“Move!” 

Emma raised a large rock above her head and plunged it into the back window. The glass exploded. Emma dragged herself through the opening to where the little boy was trapped, still screaming. She fumbled with the buckle with glass-filled hands before freeing him and passing him back through the window into Riley’s waiting arms. 

Relief of having rescued the youngest victim was short-lived as flames caught something in the engine. A loud pop and a scream as flames shot into the footwell, setting the mother’s legs alight. In a feat of adrenaline-fuelled strength, Carly ripped open the passenger door just as Emma found the seatbelt release. Carly dragged the mother from the car and doused the woman’s legs in the dirt, suffocating the flames but not the pain. 

“Emma, get out of there now!” 

Blocked by the growing blaze inside the car, Emma was forced to crawl back the way she came. She fell out of the window and stumbled towards safety. 

Bloody and bruised, the girls watched the flames engulf the car to a chorus of screams and sirens. 

The limo driver looked on in awe as both baby and parents were carried from the ditch destined for hospital and recovery. All four girls followed, supported either by paramedics or by each other. The only fatalities of the night were one blackened family sedan and four prom dresses. 


Story by Stacey Potter


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