My task: Imagine an accident. Write 3 versions of the accident: a one-sentence summary, a one-paragraph summary, and finally a scene.

Warning: Kinda bloody.

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At 11:57am yesterday, a black Cadillac Escalade collided at full speed with a navy blue Saab that turned left into its path at the intersection of Carmel Drive and Guilford Avenue in Carmel, IN. 

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I was eating a sandwich at my desk yesterday, catching up on Facebook when right outside my office window a blue Saab turned left in front black Cadillac Escalade which was driving at full speed through a green light. There were three teenage girls in the Saab. The only one who was hurt was the girl in the front passenger seat who had a cut on her face from the impact of the airbag. There were also three people in the Escalade. The woman who was driving also had cut on her face from the airbag and her six–month-old daughter had cuts from broken glass. Her five-year-old boy, who was unrestrained in the third row of the truck had a broken neck and spinal injuries. 

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I heard a honk then breaking tires then the crunch of metal colliding with metal and looked up from my desk to see glass spray in all directions. I saw the head of the driver of a black Escalade lunge forward toward her steering wheel, the muscles in her neck tightening and her mouth stretching out into the shape of an oval. She forced her eyes shut then disappeared behind the airbag as it burst in to her face. Her Escalade was coasting straight toward me but slammed in to a silver light post 10 feet outside my office window. 

To her left was a navy blue Saab spinning clockwise and coming to rest abruptly against the bank of the sidewalk. The back passenger door had been crushed by the impact and the girl in the front passenger seat was holding her face.

I stood up and put down my meatball sub. The woman in the Escalade reached her hands up to her bloody face, pulled them downward then together, siphoning blood on to her low-cut blouse and inside between her breasts. Once her face was clear she ran to the rear passenger door. Through the missing windshield I could see a baby in the backseat with her mouth open in the same oval shape as her mother’s.

Though the accident happened right in front of me, I took me two minutes to jog out of my office, 200 feet down a corridor to a rear exit, then around the back of the building to the scene of the accident.

Outside I heard emergency vehicles approaching. Three girls in soccer uniforms emerged from the Saab, all wearing white jerseys with the word “Carmel High School” in blue script and black shorts with black socks pulled up over their calves to just under their knees. The driver sat on the sidewalk, sobbing in to a cell phone.

I heard the Escalade woman screaming, “Jesus Christ” over and over. I ran to her and she thrust her baby at me then climbed over the bench in to the third row of seats. The baby was wearing blue jeans and a loose fitting pink onesie with a yellow duck on the chest and the words “Daddy’s Little Ducky” written beneath. I inspected her and noticed what I assumed to be her mother’s blood on the onesie. The baby howled as her mother yelled at someone in the backseat.

Traffic was backed up 50 cars in all four directions as the two cars, four of the passengers, broken glass, a navy Saab bumper and I were blocking north to south traffic. Cars traveling east to west could pass through the intersection, but were stopped to watch.

I cradled the screaming baby against my chest with my left arm beneath her butt and my right hand against the back of her head. I bounced myself gently up and down and said in to her ear, “It’s going to be alright, Ducky.” She shrieked and clawed at my face, so I patted her back once with my right hand. When I did, I pushed shards of glass, hidden beneath her onesie, deeper in to her skin. She arched her back and howled and I fought back the vomit I felt rising in my throat.