Accidents Happen

Accidents Happen

by Sharon Karaa


Publisher Sharon Karaa

Published in Romance/Romantic Comedy, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Romance, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


If I asked you what Death might look like, you’d probably go for something along the lines of an angry skeleton wearing a monk’s robe, and carrying a very sharp farm implement with which to rip your soul from your body—am I right? Maybe he’d even have glowing yellow orbs where his eyes should be, and speak with a voice that goes right through you, despite not having any vocal chords to speak of. And he’d have a strange obsession with egg-timers.

In fact, apart from the angry bit, he was nothing like that.

Sample Chapter

Dyin’ Ain’t Much of a Livin’

It was February 18 when it started. It was cold, even by February’s standards, and it had snowed for three days solid. At some point during the previous night, temperatures had dropped severely, and the streets were frozen under three inches of solid ice. The sky was as clear as the air was cold, and stalactites hung like magic crystals from the guttering of the house.

I remember it well because that was the day I died.

At precisely 9.57 a.m.

And believe me when I tell you, my death tested the very definition of irony to its breaking point.

You see, there were a hundred different ways my life could have ended that day. More than a hundred. Countless ordinary ways for an ordinary girl to die. I could have slipped on the bar of soap John had carelessly dropped on the floor of the shower. I could have been electrocuted drying my hair. I could have suffered a broken neck while tripping over the cat or falling down the stairs. I could have had a heart attack. It happens, even at my age. I might even have choked on the smoothie my beloved had made for me before dashing off to work. Or—and this might be stretching it—he might have poisoned me by dropping weed killer in the coffee pot. Husbands kill wives all the time, and vice versa, I’m sure. Except we weren’t married yet and I wasn’t fabulously wealthy enough for him to have a good enough reason to do it.

A head-on collision with another vehicle would have been easy enough to arrange on a day like today. The roads were treacherous. I could have been hit by an SUV while taking a right turn and talking to my mother on my hands-free at the same time. I could even have been hit by a train while driving over the crossing without checking the lights.

You see? So many ordinary, run-of-the-mill deaths could have befallen me. Yes, an ordinary death for an ordinary girl, busy doing ordinary things.

But, no.

Hey, who needs ordinary, anyway? I could have had an absolutely fabulous death. I could have died a heroine, sacrificing myself for my fellow man by throwing myself in front of a runaway train. Or—and this one’s my personal favourite—how about being eaten alive while saving the world from flesh-eating grannies who had picketed Tesco’s car park in protest over the new five pence bag charge?

Yes, a fabulous death would have been the way to go. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

But again, no. Not even that.

I can only conclude that Death has the wickedest sense of humor known to man. Otherwise, why would he have chosen the ending he ultimately gave me?

You see, my death was not that ordinary at all. And it certainly wasn’t fabulous. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever live it down.


I lay in bed, listening to John’s car start and him driving off, and breathed a sigh of relief. I could get out of bed now and not have to endure his cheerful chatter. The man woke up like a kid on Ritalin. Me? I needed two coffees and half an hour of silence before I finally pulled myself around. To say I wasn’t a morning person would be like saying politicians bend the truth—the understatement of the century.

I had the day off work but wasn’t looking forward to the manic run-around I had planned. My wedding was in precisely eight days and I still hadn’t finalised the hymns with the vicar or sorted out the favours. One hundred fiddly, little cream boxes filled with hand-made chocolates and finished with duck-egg blue ribbons. Not exactly original, I know, but I wasn’t particularly looking forward to my wedding day anyway. Still, those little boxes weren’t going to pack themselves. Then the rings needed to be picked up from the jewellers and, after lunch, I’d promised mum I’d go with her to choose her outfit. I say promised but insisted might be more accurate. I didn’t want her turning up in her biker leathers, even if this wasn’t going to be the perfect day every girl dreams of.

To top it off, I had to pick up John’s birthday present. His birthday was two days away and I’d booked us a table at Jesmond Dene House, the only restaurant in Newcastle with Michelin stars and definitely the place to be seen for a budding politician. That’s John, by the way, not me. Christ, I didn’t know one end of a statute from another. I’d bought him a gold tie pin for his birthday—the cheapest one I could find being the only one I could afford — but I still broke out in cold sweats over the price tag, and that was with a staff discount courtesy of my best friend, Janice.

I dragged myself out of bed and made my way to the bathroom, stripping off my pyjamas as I went and letting them drop to the floor. I turned on the shower and continued planning my day as I waited for the water to warm up before stepping under the spray. I was so busy planning, I almost stepped on a bar of soap John had thoughtlessly left on the floor of the shower. Tutting, I picked it up and placed it back in its holder, reaching for my gel as I did so. Who used solid soaps in this day and age? Did I even know the man I was going to marry? Still, it was too late to worry about it now. Besides, I wasn’t marrying him for his personal hygiene habits. Truth be told, I wasn’t even marrying him for love, although I did. Love him, that is. Just not in the way a woman usually loves the man she is about to marry. No, I wasn’t marrying for love—I was marrying him for his money. Shocking, I know, but don’t judge me until you know the whole story.

Smelling lemon fresh, I stepped from the shower and wrapped myself into a warm towel then padded back to the bedroom, leaving watery footprints on the tiles. I plugged in my dryer and dragged it and the extension cord into the bathroom so I could use the mirror. My face looked haggard and my eyes held a sadness I didn’t want to acknowledge. I pulled a face. I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I had things to do. I suddenly remembered I also had to confirm our choice of wedding cake with the baker. John had wanted the hazelnut and almond with mocha buttercream but I had a nut allergy so we’d decided to go with a traditional fruitcake (minus the nuts, of course) and a nut-free marzipan made with semolina. I dashed into the bedroom, almost tripping over my shirt that was walking across the floor on the back of poor Henry, my beloved cat, and pulled my red notebook from my bag. I turned to the page for today’s jobs and added the cake to my list in neat, little letters.

I had my notebook clutched firmly in my hand as I stepped out into the wintry morning and closed the door behind me. I turned to see that the picture-perfect snow from the day before had become hardened ice. I prayed the gritters had been out as I watched my breath turn to vapour in front of my face. Pulling my coat around me, I tiptoed to my car, trying my best to stay upright, and breathed a sigh of relief when I eventually climbed into the driver’s seat without once landing on my arse—a minor miracle in itself.

The drive was on a slight incline and I decided, once I’d managed to demist the windscreen, to test my brakes before making the journey to the train station. Traffic would be a bitch today and parking at the train station meant I’d avoid the worst of it. I released the hand break and allowed the car to roll forward before pressing hard on the brakes. The car slipped for a fraction of a second before coming to a halt. Good enough, I thought, just as my mobile phone started blaring at me. I flicked the switch on the steering wheel to kick into hands free as I put the car into first gear and made my way out to the street.

“Tabitha? Are you there?” My mum’s voice echoed around the inside of the car.

I rolled my eyes and hoped she’d remembered it was after lunch I’d promised to pick her up. “Hi, Mum.”

“Tabitha? Is that you? You sound funny,” my mum replied.

“It’s hands free, Mum. I’m in the car.”

“Oh good, so you’re on your way? Could you stop by the corner shop and buy me a pack of Golden Virginia? That bitch of a nurse has stolen mine.”

My hands clutched the steering wheel in frustration. It was going to be a long day. “Mum, no one has stolen your tobacco. Have you looked in your drawer?”

“Don’t treat me like a child, Tabitha Jade Brownlee. You’re not too big to go over my knee! Oh, and while you’re there, you might as well pick up a bag of black bullets and a tin of tuna fish for Missy. Not the cheap kind, mind you—John West. You know she’s a fussy eater.”

Missy, my mother’s cat, had died two years ago. It was going to be a very long day.

“Mum, we can pick up everything you need from town. I’ve things to do this morning, but I’ll be there to get you after lunch, okay? Look, I’ve got to go, the roads are really bad and I need to concentrate.”

I flicked the switch to end the call before she could begin to protest that she couldn’t last three hours without a cigarette. A part of me was hoping she’d find them, even though I wanted her to quit, because she’d be a bloody nightmare on nicotine withdrawal.

I eventually arrived at the Park and Ride without incident. The roads had been gritted but the car park had not, so I carefully manoeuvred the car into the first available bay I could find. I climbed out of the car and cautiously made my way to the ticket machine. I was fishing in my purse for a coin when a Ford Focus came skidding directly towards me. Frozen to the spot, I watched in horror as the driver, an older gentleman wearing a flat cap and a Newcastle United scarf, slammed on the brakes and pulled his wheel to the left at the same time.

The car skidded just enough to whisper past the hem of my coat before coming to a stop. The driver’s window rolled down and the flat cap poked through. “Oh my Lord, are you ok?”

I looked down at myself, just to be sure. “I’m fine, you missed me,” I said, and then smiled in relief, although my knees were knocking together in fright and I was seriously worried I’d peed my pants.

“These bloody roads are terrible. I’m so sorry if I scared you,” he said, his face ashen.

He rolled up the window and continued on his way, inch by painful inch, giving me a little wave through the rear windscreen. I dropped my purse back in my bag and returned his wave. I was so busy waving that I didn’t see the ice-cream van hurtling down the bank at break-neck speed. I certainly didn’t see the faces of David Parker and Jonathan O’Riley — the two fourteen-year-old boys who had stolen the vehicle — peering out, panic stricken, I imagine, as they realised they were going to collide with the Focus. But I did see David Parker’s arms as he swung the wheel to the right, seconds before they impacted with the right leg of a huge, overhead advertising bollard.

I watched in shock as the van smashed into the pole. As if in slow motion, Jonathan O’Riley’s body was thrown through the windscreen of the van. I recall with perfect clarity the trajectory of his body as first his bloodied head, his blue hoodie, and then his denim-clad legs appeared beneath the giant Mr. Whippy cone complete with pink sprinkles and a flake that adorned the top of the van. I marvelled in abject horror that a body could be thrown with such apparent ease as he all but floated through the cold morning air. Time caught up with itself a second before his head smashed against the icy road. His body collapsed and bounced once before skidding a few yards, leaving a vivid bloody snail-trail on the virgin ice to mark its path.

The sound of his head cracking against the ground catapulted me into action. I ran. I managed to reach the boy without breaking my neck on the ice and knelt down beside his still form, trying to assess the damage. His face was peppered with tiny cuts, all oozing blood, and I almost fainted dead away. I cut off the panic that was threatening to overwhelm me and checked to see if he was breathing. His eye-lids fluttered but I wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or a bad one. A scream came from somewhere and I realised it was his partner in crime, who had climbed out of the dilapidated van and was standing looking at his friend, in horror. Mr. Flat-Cap came up behind him and turned to block his view, putting a kindly arm around his shoulders. I turned back to the still form in front of me. He was still breathing, thank God, but he was in a bad way. Blood was oozing from a head wound and I felt my own rush through my veins as I fought not to pass out.

It was at this point, as I searched my brain for those three First Aid lessons I’d had in my short stint as a girl guide, that the advertisement being held up by the bollard and which was now leaning at a very unfortunate angle, pulled free from the one remaining screw that was holding it up. Luckily for the boy, I was crouched over him when it came crashing down, and my head took the full force of the impact as it landed and pinned me to the icy road. All eight feet long and sixty pounds of it.

Of course, I never felt a thing as the blow killed me outright.

The irony? The advert was for Durex, the prophylactic of champions, and the signage read: “The end of the world shouldn’t be the only thing coming.”

I kid you not. Google it.

I tended to agree.


Excerpted from "Accidents Happen" by Sharon Karaa. Copyright © 2017 by Sharon Karaa. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Sharon Karaa

Sharon Karaa

Sharon Karaa was first published at the tender age of fifteen. Flush with success, she waited another umpteen years before making the decision to become an independent author and publish her first book, The Last Challenge, in 2014. Since then, she has published a further two books and is polishing her next offering ready for publication in the next month. Sharon writes comedy because she needs something in her life she can laugh at other than herself.

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