I was almost creamed on my way home last night, and it has left me a bit rattled.
Here's the set-up. I live on an east-west road, heavily traveled these days as more houses go up around us. There is an north-south road that crosses half a block from my house. That road has a stop sign - the east-west road, the one I was traveling on, does not.
It was early evening, right after dusk. I approach the intersection from the west. There is a silver mini with a white top at the north part of the intersection. I maintain speed. I don't have a stop sign. I'm expecting it to wait until I pass.
It doesn't. The mini lunges forward into the interchange. No time to hit the brakes, no time to hit the horn, no time to curse - the driver hadn't even seen me coming, probably looking the other way. I jog the wheel to the right, making a wide curve around the front of the mini. It nearly t-bones me. Quick mental flash to when I was a kid, two weeks away from taking my driving test, getting clobbered by a driver pulling out of a driveway without looking.
And then I'm past and I swing back into the lane and I look in my rearview to see the last of the mini disappearing on the road south. No honk of horns, no pulling over, not even a squeal of tires. I live half a block from the crossroads. When I pull in, the Lovely Bride is getting out of her car - she had just gotten home.
I was shaken. Another random roll of the dice, and she would have heard the crash, seen the carnage. I was lucky, luckier than I deserved to be. I left one of my nine lives at the intersection, spend too much karma, too many action points, shaved off one of my regenerations, created a couple alternate universes with various casualties.
And in the middle of the night I awoke in a mild panic, fearful that I had not escaped, and that what I was experiencing was just a delusion and I was still at the intersection, waiting for the EMTs to pry me loose from the wreckage. It was a mindless panic, but one that could not be denied. And I sat up and thought about all the other cases where I had avoided horrible consequences, where there were an ever-growing number of alternate universes that were suddenly un-Jeffed.
One of the cats, wondering if I would feed her, nuzzled me. I picked her up and she twisted in my arms, catching me with a back claw for a sudden, inadvertent scratch. And with the pain I suddenly felt better that I was still in the real world.
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