The Nightmare After My 16th Birthday



“Ouch,” I said as I bumped my head on the corner of my nightstand.

The clock read 6:00 a.m., and the sun was ever so slightly peeking out from the sky. I loved days like this when I woke up early and got to see the sunrise right out my bedroom window. It was summer, the best time of the year: no school, no rules, just my favorite thing in the world: softball.


Hello world, my name is Autumn, and this is the story of something that happened in my life that changed it forever. I was just a normal teenager, living her life like a normal teenager would do, when all of a sudden, my life changed drastically. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but let me just say that I never ever would have seen this coming. I live in Los Angeles with my mom, dad, and brother. And this tragedy happened a week after my sixteenth birthday.

[And back to the story.]

Buzzzz, buzzzz, my phone rang. It was my dad.

“Hello… Bailey?”

“Uhm, this is Autumn.”

“Hi Autumn, this is Brad. Can I please speak to your mother?”

“Yeah, is there something wrong… Where’s my dad?”

“Can you please put your mother on the phone?”

His voice sounded angry, but delicate at the same time. Like he just found out a shocking secret that he wasn’t suppose to know. Brad, my dad’s best friend slash colleague. Why would he call me on my dad’s phone asking for my mom? I sat, thinking about what could have possibly happened. They were both supposed to be gone the whole week on a business trip, but Brad would never call me just to ask to talk to my mom. I handed the phone to my mom, and as soon as she heard Brad and the light tone in his voice, she told me to go away.

I walked back to my room, stressed, scared, worried. I tried not to worry about it that much, but the thought in my head kept coming back. I got ready to go hang out at the mall with my best friend because I realized that I couldn’t wrap my head around this all day. Her name was Violet, and we’d been friends since kindergarten… Eleven years, holy cow. She was my other half and always had been. We did everything together, literally everything. Except, well, she got her license before me. Uhhh… I kind of failed my first test, so I was praying I’d be able to pass the next week.

By the time I was out my bedroom door, my mom was off the phone. I was so curious to know what the phone call was all about, but I was certain it’s none of my business. My brother, Noah, finally woke up and something about him seemed off too, but was he ever not off? I didn’t know what was going on with everybody that day but as of that moment, I really didn’t care anymore. I was out the door, ready to forget my horrible morning.

“Hey,” said Violet.

“Hey,” I said in a grouchy way.

“What’s up with you today?”

“Nothing much… It’s no big deal.”

“Come on, It’s no big deal. You only say that when it is a big deal. ”

“Okay… my dad’s best friend called me this morning, and he seemed off. He called just to ask me to put my mother on the phone. It sounded like something serious happened.”

“I think I might know what that’s about. Last night, your mom called my mom. I overheard them talking, and when my mom hung up, she told me that your dad was in a deadly car accident and sent to hospital. I was going to call you, but my mom said that you didn’t know yet, and she told me not to tell you. I’m so sorry, Autumn.”

At first, I couldn’t believe what she had just told me, but I knew that she would never lie to me. Although, something about it didn’t add up in my head. Why wouldn’t my mom or brother tell me something this big? I felt hurt that my mom would tell her “best friend” before she would tell me, but I was even more scared of finding out the truth.

I hopped out of the car and stormed into my house. I slammed the door behind me as hard as I could to make sure my mom and brother heard me coming in.

“MOM!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.

No answer. I started running around the house looking for her.

“MOOOOM!” I shouted again.

“Dude, stop yelling,” said my brother. “She’s upstairs.”

I ran upstairs to my parents’ bedroom. She wasn’t in her bed nor in her closet getting dressed. The last noticeable place I looked was the bathroom. I crept in, thinking she would be there and, to my favor, she was. There she was, sitting on the bathroom floor. Her eyes looked watery and red, and she had the most depressed look on her face. I sat down next to her.

“I want to know why Brad called this morning asking for you on dad’s phone,” I blurted out.

“Honey, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you this earlier, but I didn’t know how.” She started sobbing.

She took a deep breath and continued.

“Last night your dad was in a really bad car accident. They took him to the hospital with broken bones and blood all over his body. They did everything they could to save him, but…”

Her body began trembling and her voice started trailing off. Tears rolled down her face, and I could now see that this rumor was true. I couldn’t believe it. My dad was dead.

I thought about this for a moment and wondered how this could even be true. I just talked to my dad yesterday morning and he seemed fine, but now all of a sudden he was dead. I didn’t really know what to do, how to act, what to say. And then it hit me, and it hit me hard. Tears rushed down my face faster than I had ever known they could. I just kept crying and I couldn’t stop. At that moment I had just realized that I would never be able to see the best man I knew talk or walk or dance ever again. Memories of us going to baseball games together and riding our bikes around town flashed through my head. I remembered when I was little, my dad would always go on bike rides in the morning, and one day I said I wanted to go with him and so he taught me how to ride a bike. And I remember trying out for a competitive softball team and I was so nervous and he told me I could do it and in the end I actually made the team. My dad was basically my best friend. Besides Violet, he was the only other person who always listened to what I had to say and always had my back. He never kept any secrets from me like my mom always does, and he took care of me like a dad should. I never got the chance to even tell him that and now I really hated myself for not doing so.


Doors opened and closed, and I could smell the scent of hand sanitizer all around. There were loud sirens in the parking lot and a quiet waiting room filled with frantic people. I did not like that; heck, I didn’t even want to be there. The only reason I even came was to officially say goodbye to my dad before we buried him. There was no point in even trying to talk to him when I knew he couldn’t hear me. He was gone, and he was gone forever.

“The Spencer Family?”

We all stood up and followed her. I hesitated because I was not sure if I was ready to witness what would come. But I guessed I was as ready as I could’ve ever been. We walked down a long, narrow hall. It was very quiet and there weren’t many nurses around. I guessed that was where they put people who didn’t make it, for their family. We stopped at the end of the hall and the nurse turned the knob to a white door. My mom and brother rushed in, but I decided to wait outside for a moment. I took a deep breath in then out, and I followed behind, closing the door after me.

I saw Brad sleeping in the corner, waiting for us to arrive. I turned my head slightly to the right and there he was, laying there as if he was sleeping. My mom and brother huddled around him crying their eyes out. I slowing got closer and closer until I could see his face: his emotionless, pale face. I started breathing faster and faster, heart racing. I could feel water build up in my eyes. I took one more step closer and held up my dad’s hand. I tangled his fingers with mine so that I was holding on and couldn’t let go.

“Autumn,” Brad said.

I turned around and he pulled out something. He handed me a bracelet, one that I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was my dad’s; he only ever wore it when he was away from home. It said, “You will never be alone, never.” At that moment I started balling my eyes out but only because I knew that I would be alright.


One thought on “The Nightmare After My 16th Birthday”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *