I finally finished writing my short story for my midterms. I’m posting it here because.. reasons.
48 To Go
Authors Note: This short story was based on a song written by The Fray, of the same title. This story was my personal interpretation of what could have happened in what I assumed was a couple’s road trip described in the song.
All I could hear were the sound of tires rolling on asphalt and sirens blaring, I could see men and women dashing all around our car. I was standing apart from the chaos, watching it from a distance. I had woken up with a raging headache and no feeling in my fingers, but I managed to get up and sit myself in a patch of dirt right by the side of the freeway. No one seemed to notice me, I had simply assumed it was because they were all busy saving lives and that someone would attend to my bruised and bloodied self when all the criticals were out of the way.
I sat in my spot trying to think back to how I ended up here.
I had begun to feel incredibly bored with my life. I lacked inspiration and I was stuck in a very deep rut. My life was always planned to the letter, finish high school, get into a good college, graduate with honors, get a good job and pay off all of my student debts. But now all I wanted to was to leave my dead end job. Never in the entirety of my student life did I ever do drugs and drink extensively, even now, I never found the whole young, wild and free mantra to be appropriate and useful. I had done all that I needed to do and I seemed to have done them well, but I felt like I needed something more in my life.
That’s how Duncan and I had began our trip to Santa Monica. We both felt the need to just go out and do something crazy for once in our lives. Exactly 2 days ago we had plotted our path and computed the time it would take to get us from Denver to California inclusive of all the stops we were going to make. We came at a reasonable assumption that the trip would take 14 hours and 48 minutes. After that we just picked up a few essentials, told our friends and family where we were going and left. Our first 12 hours had gone by just fine, but by the time we hit Albuquerque we had missed an exit (or two) and had decided to stop caring about the time it would take to get there. “We’ll get there when we get there.” Duncan said, and I was perfectly fine with it.
We’d stop at quaint shops selling the most bizarre things. We found lizard skins and little wooden figurines that no one could tell us about. Then we happened upon this bar that had a complete Old Western motif. In a corner stood a little piano and by the end of the bar was a brass spitoon that I was afraid to look into. But what was most interesting was the antique till made of brass and wood set on the counter top, initially we had both thought that it was simply for decoration but as we paid for our drinks we learned that it worked fine and was still in operation.
Twenty hours into our trip, we had already found ourselves in San Bernardino. By 6am the sky was starting to look like that halfway point between night and day. You could still clearly see the moon as the sky started to lighten up and eventually show hues of red and purple, a clear signal of the morning to come. The day had begun with such a feeling of serenity that no one would have figured anything panic inducing would unfold a few hours into the young day. I could feel the cool air hitting my face as we drove. My window was down and I was resting my folded arms on the car’s window sill letting my hair blow into any direction the wind would take it. I was pretty sure we were lost. We had been driving around all night and by today’s standards we should have been in Santa Monica. I leaned back into my seat and rested both my hands in my lap.“We’ll be there in 48 minutes.” Duncan said, then he took my left hand, brought it to his lips and planted a small kiss on my knuckles before resting our entwined fingers on my lap once more. I smiled and told him “I don’t really mind what time we get there.” I saw him smile as I turned my head back towards the view to my right. There was a comfortable silence between the two of us, nothing could be heard but the wind coming through the windows and the whir of the engine.
The last thing I remembered was the loud blaring of a horn from behind us and the sight of headlights that seemed to be rushing closer in our rear view mirror. It was followed by the deafening sound of crunching metal and breaking glass, I felt my body hit the dashboard with an impact that had knocked the wind out of me and had broken most of my ribs. I tried to move but I couldn’t, it felt as though I was right in the middle of two huge boulders closing in on me and I was slowly suffocating. I could feel something wet trickle down the side of my face, the steady stream began to move down my right arm and drip onto my right, or maybe left leg. My legs looked so broken being stuffed underneath the dashboard like that so I was unsure of which one I was looking at, but it seemed the steady stream was actually my blood gushing out of a wound I could not see nor feel. After what felt like a good 30 minutes later I noticed that a puddle of crimson had begun to form, and was actually spilling onto the car’s carpet. My upper body was pressed against the contours of the dashboard and my legs were so uncomfortably placed that I was sure they were broken. Before I could even begin to worry about Duncan I felt myself slipping into the darkness, I made one last attempt to move or at the very least whisper his name but my mind would no longer permit me. I had finally succumbed to the darkness that was calling my name with such a thunderous and compelling voice.
I then snapped out of my flashback and stood up from my spot hoping to find Duncan amidst the number of people who were frantically trying to administer aid to those who needed it. I stalked through scene trying to find him, but there were too many people and I was in no mood to feel as though I was in a child’s find-it book. I approached a highway patrolman, who was trying to keep guide other incoming vehicles in hopes of avoiding a traffic buildup, I tapped him on the shoulder but it was as though he didn’t feel it. I thought that maybe he was just busy and couldn’t spare me a few seconds. I begrudgingly continued my search the way I had started until I once again found myself in front of our car, or at least what was left of it.
What I saw made my blood run cold, it was only then I saw the paleness of my skin and felt the cold of my hands. My eyes burned, and my fists clenched. All I could do was close my eyes and let my anguish over take me. Somewhere in the distance I could hear Duncan saying over and over again, “48 to go, 48 to go…” I was about to drift off once more when I realized that Duncan’s voice was not alone I could hear another more feminine one, saying with him “48 to go, 48 to go…”