Silhouettes of Trucks Along Love’s Midnight Highway
“giddy yap”, Gene yawned into his motorcycle helmet. The air was cool, cold, even through all the layers of gore-tex.
Far away Madge pressed forward, hardly having the power to go any further, but further she must, onward. On a mission.
The problem was that the mission was boring, and the night seemed to last forever, on and on, and after some time she felt like she was running out of fuel, the wind cut through her, and all around the flat fields took on a phantasmal aspect. Though she passed through them at great speed she felt that just outside of the headlight’s glow rose up something threatening from the ground, and no sooner had she passed them then they swirled into position behind her, chasing, following her on, forcing her to continue. The radio crackled.
Nothing. No one.
“Got to be strong, got to continue..”|but really she was afraid, haunted, and running.
Mack looked out into the road. This time was stranger than before, but he could tell it was happening again. It was like before an accident, any accident, but especially the most horrible accidents, when everything slows down, how you know that it is coming, lights draw tracers across blankets of night, and then so bright, then falling. Nothing like that had happened here for a long time. Still, something was happening now.
“There is nothing to be afraid of, there is nothing here but the road” and the thought was comforting.
Before an earthquake, there are people who say the pupils of cats swell and take over the eye, the way a person’s sometimes do. “Perhaps,” thought Mack, “cats and earthquakes are lovers.”
Far away, a train whistle, and in a dining car I could feel something strange happening too. The foam in my beer became the head of a horse, and that horse was galloping across a red plain, in search of structure. “There ARE events in the desert…”began Robert Irwin.
“That’s right, distract yourself. Then you won’t notice the time. You won’t notice it going by, it happening.”
I was thinking about what Gene had been taking about the night before, that if time travel was really possible, shouldn’t we be overwhelmed with visitors from the future? “but what if”, he said then,”they are around us already?”
“I don’t believe in god,” was a reply, mine “and I don’t believe in fate, either. Of all the options the likeliest is that neither exist.” For there to be time-travel, obviously, it would mean the future already exists, and that somehow the past still exists, and to be honest, I didn’t give a shit. Not just now.
Mack was moving like a maniac by this point. In high gear, really going, and starting to warm himself. He was starting to feel tired, bored, his mind drifted. He had to do something to keep awake, and now that it was dark, he could feel his own lights growing dim, and he could see them out there, all around. He told himself that they were those ghosts of pre-sleep. Then he thought maybe they were the spirits of those who had died along this road, broken machines compromised by their drivers, and destroyed en route, alongside some far that tomorrow would be bathed in sun and colour. But yeah, that was dispelled as well. Move. That is what is necessary, that is your job.
Madge too was moving, and with a stronger sense of direction, that sense given from fear. Suddenly the radio crackled again “dahhh hello, is anybody out there?” came a voice. She knew it instantly. It was Mack.
“Mack,” she called back, trying to hide the breathlessness in her voice. After so many hours her wires grown tight with the cold, this sudden surprise, this release from fear sent her head spinning and for a moment she careened across the road, towards the middle. “Mack”, she repeated, asking “whats your 10-60?”
Then suddenly she knew. Breaks were applied. In time. The ghosts swept by to the left and the right, and for a moment it seemed that dawn had come and gone again, or multiple dawns, then off went all the lights. They sat there, almost close enough to touch, and not touching, just looking at each other in the darkness. Only breathing, and heavily. There was a presence between them that felt heavry, the air grew thick and vibrated from the heat coming off their engine gratings. Lights out.
I looked out the window of the train to Berlin. Far away and backlit by a white moon, I saw them there, facing each other. I saw the doors of both cabs swing open and the drivers almost tumble out and run towards each other. Did they embrace? They had hats on. But then they were passed, and any logic or any sense of purpose, all stories, forgotten.