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a novel

Hugh McGuire





He talked about the car crash all through the evening shift. Sylvain was shaken, true, but there was something reverential about his tone, as if he felt honoured to be the universe's first chosen beholder of these deaths, and now that the two of us were alone, finishing the last of the kitchen clean-up, he grew more animated in his descriptions, more precise, more excited. His eyes sparkled as he spoke.

It was incredible, he said. Just incredible. The blood, the bone fragments. The damage done to a human body.

The sound of the crash had woken him at 7:12 a.m. that morning, and he had rushed out of his Villeray apartment, wearing only a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, despite the cool of the October morning. He expected survivors, he said, and took his cell phone with him, dialing 911 on the way down the stairs. The little red car had smashed head-on into a poorly-placed concrete divider, and as he rushed towards the steaming metal, Sylvain lost hope of finding anyone alive. The damage done to the automobile was frightening, and he braced himself for the carnage he would find inside.

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