A bit dark and gory after the jump, so proceed with caution.
Humanity has never gripped me like it did that night as I screamed into the lonesome night at a creature that had no more a mind to understand me than it did body able enough to escape me.
I had pointed my flashlight up and down the road at least half a dozen times, both praying no headlights would appear to guest star in my late night grapple with mortality and its intersection with morality while at the same time wishing some grown-up would show up — my dad preferably — to solve the situation I found myself in.
The road is a popular drag for speeders, especially since it runs right behind the high school. If you wanted to show off your car’s acceleration, this was the strip to do it. I vaguely remember riding along with one such crazy adolescent as we passed an assumed adversary on the road, topping 80 or 90 mph down the long, straight two-lane drive.
I, of course, wasn’t going nearly that fast on this night. Maybe five or 10 over, but mostly because this was the final two miles of a seven-hour trip and I badly needed to use the bathroom.
The first doe darted out confidently. I had no chance of ever hitting her, but I slammed on my brakes anyway to avoid what was sure to be the rest of her nocturnal grazing party.
And then there he was, taking a 45 degree angle to the road as if he was going to rush me off of the left side of the road.
I merged left to avoid him, but he refused to stop, choosing instead to barrel into the side of my car.
I shook the steering wheel steadily to keep myself straight, but hardly had to slow down at all.
I didn’t even stop. “No time for that now,” I thought, pining for my bed while looking over at my antenna, which now looked like a crumpled pipe cleaner tossed to the side from some craft project.
The radio hadn’t even skipped for a moment. That’s curious.
“Dammit my side view mirror is gone!” said the voice in my head, finally realizing there was something missing from my car like the final answer in some Sunday comics picture challenge.
I’ll have to go back for it.
But I knew there was one more thing I would need to go back to, as well.
This had happened before, of course. Continue reading