Something big and black crashes against the windshield, and an explosion rocks the car. Turn into the skid! I see a flash and something in front of me. Something tall with black material flapping around it like the tail ends of an old-fashioned duster. Long, straw-colored hair. A scraggily goatee. A man? What's a man doing at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere? Why's he just standing there? Why doesn't he get out of the way? I yank the wheel back the other way, and the car swerves around him. And heads straight off the road. When the world stops bouncing and the car settles, I try to keep my eyes focused, but everything blurs around the edges. The waves ebb, and I hear a crunching sound, like boots on gravel. Straining to see, I barely make out . . . What is that? A flag? No, it's that flapping black material. I think it's the man I swerved to miss. A sweet, melodious voice makes its way through the undulating roar in my ears. “Let me help you.” Help. Yes, I need help.
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