Why did I take this turn?
My wife's words mull through my thick head, even as she sits there cringing with each shudder of the failing transmission. The exit, a dark hole in the side of the road beckons, the car sighing its last breath. Drifting deep into the walls of scrub surrounding the asphalt, all moonlight drains the world to black. Our dim lights flicker, then dash it to utterly.
The sharp skritch of gravel under woven leather shoes, polished to a shine even in the shadows, causes me to spin from my laborious rocking coercion of the behemoth up the incline, watching his olive suit emerge from the morass.
Get in your car, you will die out here. This is not your place. Guide the car into the streetlight at the top. Lock your doors, call for help and don't open them until it gets here.
The seriousness in his eyes, evaporates the questions on my lips, finding the secure thump of the car door to their liking. With ease, he propels us through the curtain of night, coming to rest in an island of soft light, under the stained wooded pole riddled with stapled fliers. Not so much as a goodbye, his steps retreat hollow back into the gloom, alone.
We will be there soon. Just lock your doors.
Reassurance that help is on its way drains from our weary breasts when the shadows begin to move. Pink bunny slippers, now ratted, their fur mottled with greasy grey splotches peek into the light, followed by leg bones draped in skin. Shuffling slowly, her gaunt skins powdery complexion is broken only by listless eyes and glistening tracks of tears to match the ones on her arms.
No sound escapes the baby held loosely, pressed against her distended belly by skeletal fingers, as her other hand extends to knock on the window before me. Knock. Knock. Knock. No words, just knocking. A signal it seems for her coven to follow her out of their rest, they rise from the refuse littering the lot of the condemned gas station. Frantic fingers find the ignition, torquing the key to click, click, click, a crickets chirp in the lonely night.
Yellow flashing lights, barely precede the arrival of the speeding tow truck swinging in beside us, a silent screech issuing from our assailants, as they fade out of existence. The hard clump of workman's boots ratchets like a shotgun, pursuing them to the recesses.
Get in the truck. We will be out of here soon. I will get you hooked up.
Our hearts thud in harmony, beating a rhythm into the spring loaded seats as we wait. They say you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes that they wear. We may never walk a mile in their shoes, but maybe there is some understanding to be gained from the steps taken in them, to carry them to this point in time.