In the winter of 1982, Andy and Daphne were headed back to Richmond after a briefing he had given to a senator’s chief of staff on Capitol Hill. It was snowing lightly but the roads were safe—nothing to prevent their hitting the Interstate in their old but trusty Ford Bronco. It wasn’t until they’d got off I-95 that the light snow had evolved into a blizzard. It was late, and Milas was tired from the two-hour drive. He noticed with annoyance a tail-gaiter who was shining his brights in through the rear window. Milas took a turn onto the Richmond Henrico Turnpike and accelerated, leaving the discourteous driver behind. They were almost home.
Milas sped along the turnpike surrounded by a dense copse of snow-covered trees. He knew this stretch of road well. It was one of his favorite drives during the day, but now he just wanted to get home. He reached over, found Daphne’s knee, and gave it a squeeze. “You know I love your knees, right?” he said. It was an old joke they shared. They were Daphne’s least favorite feature about herself. And if he loved her knees, things only got better from there.
“Indeed I do,” she replied.
Without warning, something rammed the Bronco from behind. It was a hard tap on the back-left corner of the vehicle and was perfectly executed, causing them to slide out of control. The old Bronco handled terribly and Milas overcompensated by cranking the steering wheel in the opposite direction of their slide. They both watched helplessly as the Bronco left the road and hurtled into the trees. The car came to a brutal halt as it struck solid, immoveable wood. The force of the impact drove Milas’s head into the steering wheel. Stunned, he looked over at Daphne. Her body had been thrown halfway through the windshield. Milas struggled to get out of the car. When he managed to free himself from his seatbelt, he leapt out and fell to the ground. His leg was severely injured, and he cried out in pain. As he lay in the snow, Milas saw a car up on the road. Its lights were off. He shouted for help, but it slowly drove away. Crawling back to Daphne, he managed to pull himself upright and level with the Bronco’s hood. He called her name and received no response. He hopped around the tree that had crumpled the front of the car and came around to reach Daphne. Her eyes were open, but her body was still and her head lay at a grotesque angle. Daphne’s neck was broken. Milas howled with grief. His love was dead.
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