12:34 am. 12:34 am. The glowing dashboard of my car blinks insistently at me as I force my eyes down to the untouched accelerator pedal. I could just go. I could just leave. I’ve been driving for a long, long time. What’s a few more hours?
I could just leave.
But I sit here, engine still growling like a rabid animal cornered by predators, headlights bathing the road ahead of me in an otherworldly fluorescence.
My head, almost unconsciously, snaps back up to stare out of the windshield, like a string on a puppet being tugged. It’s too dark to see, even with my lights on. I open the car door and step onto the tarmac with a lot less force than I expect. The air is cool and sharp against my skin. It feels like a bird being let out of its cage for the first time. Like a pig being herded into an abattoir. Freeing. Deadly.
I can see it clearly now. It’s watching me, as always. It’s been watching me since the beginning. Since I left.
It watches. It knows. And it does not appreciate what I have done.
What have I done?
"I want to go back. I want to get back in my car and slam on the gas and drive away....."
12:35 am. 12:35 am. The glowing dashboard blinks futilely at me as I step further away from my car, my sanctuary, my prison. What am I doing?
I want to go back. I want to get back in my car and slam on the gas and drive away, until it leaves me alone, until it stops watching me. But I step further into the road, knowing full well that a car could come speeding down the lane at any moment.
Could this really be so bad? To take responsibility? To give up? It knows.
I can’t run forever.
I hear it whisper in my mind, almost silently; I don’t speak the language, but I understand it completely.
I can’t run forever.
12:36 am. I
t’s not going to stop watching.
12:37 am. I
t’s not going to stop following.
I have no choice, really.
This is the only way.
I drag myself towards it.
When did I blink?
How far have I even gotten?
Does time even mean anything anymore?
My head turns so quickly I think I hear something snap. The rays practically blind me, consuming my vision. There’s a roar loud enough to drown out the whispers. It’s a car, barrelling towards me with no intent in stopping. It’s five metres, four metres, three metres away from me. Two metres. One. Half a metre.
12:34 am. 12:34 am. The glowing dashboard of my car blinks at me as I grip the steering wheel. I’m holding on to it so tightly I’ve lost all feeling in my fingers, the metal cold and stinging against my sweaty palms. I hesitantly glance through the windshields. It’s too dark to see anything, even with my lights on.
I think it’s gone. For now, at least. Or maybe I just can’t see it. I don’t step outside to check.
I’m not an idiot. I can’t escape it, I know that.
But I can run a little longer.
I slam my foot down on the pedal and that familiar flat, repetitive landscape of road and leafless trees starts speeding past me illuminated by the dull, lifeless glow of my headlights.
I’ve been driving for a long, long time. What’s a few more hours?