Biographical Non-Fiction posted April 24, 2022

This work has reached the exceptional level
Short memoir of a horrific accident I was in.

Right Place Wrong Time

by Haylee Hemphill

Paralyzing fear.
No faces, but souls.
It's life or death, but I scream to leave me. The souls fight back. It's not my time. Not on their watch. It's not ironic that I fought to stay, really. I guess I thought burning alive would give me something to feel one last time before never feeling again. Could you imagine what that would've done to my family. Broken bones; burnt to crisp. They say only the good die young, but I was given a second chance. A chance I thought I didn't even want.

Fading to black, but voices bring me back to bright lights. Don't talk. Don't touch me, just take away the pain. I long for one of the souls from before. Terrified was an understatement, but she brought me peace. A peace I would later learn to harness like the wind, but right now, the storm had only just begun.

The darkness captivated me. It was peaceful and pain free. What was even happening?
I wondered if this is what happens when we die.
Am I dead right now?

It was only temporary. Soon I would drift back out of the black into the chaos. The bright lights. The voices.

Take me back to the darkness. I want to go back to the darkness. I couldn't speak, but I was screaming on the inside. Everything happened so fast, yet in slow-motion. I felt everything and nothing all at once.

I finally knew where I was, but why? The days would fade in and out. In that time I felt the presence of souls. Familiar souls. It's almost like I was dreaming, but I didn't remember going to sleep and waking up was not something I wanted to do.

I followed the energy of the familiar souls. Their energy pulled me back to reality, but the nightmare wasn't over. Heading into the unknown was inevitable. Just like it always is, but I wasn't given a choice. I had always wondered what it would be like when we die. On many different occasions in my lifetime leading up to this moment, I swore it had to be more peaceful than the life I've been living, but I wasn't dead.

"You've been in an accident, both of your legs are broken and.."

They started to explain my injuries. The damage I would soon learn, was more than I ever could fathom.

"Please stop. I don't want to know what's wrong with me."
I spoke with a broken voice.

Terror and pain overwhelmed me. I knew if this stranger kept trying to tell me anything, it would be too much for me to handle. I didn't have the strength for that, but strength would find me in time.

Facing reality is never easy, but this was something I couldn't avoid. My body was broken. How broken? You may be wondering. Shattered knees. Broken femur, foot, ankle, and hand. Bruises, burns, blood shot eye. All but one rib broken on my left side. Ironically where I got "It's the courage to continue that counts," tattooed when I was 15.

I had lived through more trauma than you'd think, even by that age, but that's for a different time. This took the cake.

"2 Women Flown To Hospital After Pickup Truck Crashed Into House, Causing Fire"

That was the headline of the article I was shown. I didn't want to see more than that. I couldn't believe it.

How did this happen?
How am I alive?

I never wanted to wake up from a nightmare so badly in my life. That wasn't possible.

Most people only dream of waking up and being told you can not use your legs. You can't walk. Everything you've ever been able to do for yourself, simply forget it. Your freedom is gone. It's terrifying, having absolutely no control.

I was drowning. No, I was being held underwater, with no way of breaking through to the surface. The pain. The trauma. The betrayal. It's true that you find out the true colors of the people around you when you go through an extreme life event. There I was. Defenseless. Broken both physically and mentally. I felt so alone.


Non-Fiction Writing Contest contest entry


I would like to update on where I am today.

It has been almost 2 years since the accident! I just had my 5th surgery on Valentines Day. I am still working on gaining my strength back in my legs and here's to hoping that's the LAST surgery.

Thank you for reading!
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