by Bruce Coville
Bruce Coville has published over 100 books for children and young adults, including the international bestseller My Teacher is an Alien, and the Unicorn Chronicles series. His works have appeared in a dozen languages and won children’s choice awards in as many states. He is also the founder of Full Cast Audio, an audiobook publishing company devoted to producing full cast, unabridged recordings of material for family listening. Mr. Coville lives in Syracuse, New York, with his wife, illustrator and author Katherine Coville.
Herbert Hutchison was fifteen when the car he was driving hit a patch of black ice.
This was a bad thing, for several reasons. First, he was too young to have a driver’s license. Second, the car was his mother’s, and he had taken it without permission. Third, he was already due to appear in court the following week on a petty theft charge. Fourth, he was slightly drunk at the time. Fifth — and possibly worst, from Herbert’s perspective — he was going about 80 miles per hour when it happened.
The fact that there was a solid rock wall on one side of the road and a deep chasm on the other did nothing to improve the situation.
Herbert managed to hit them both, bouncing off the rock wall with a crash and squeal of metal, then back across the road, where his still-speeding vehicle shot through the guardrail and hurtled a good ten feet straight ahead before it began its (very rapid) descent.
“Oh hell!” was all Herbert had a chance to think before the car hit the rocky slope, rolled over three times, then exploded in a ball of orange and yellow flame.
Still, it was an appropriate thought, as Hell was indeed Herbert’s next destination.
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