171. Interstate

The lights sped past. He pressed down harder against the accelerator. The car screamed its mechanical scream, and he could almost feel the wind rushing past outside the car.

There was something familiar and comforting about the speed. It was dangerous, yes, but it was also under his control.

How long has it been? One hour? Two? The gas was full when he started off. The needle indicated that his tank was still half full. That, or the damn thing for stuck, and needs to be fixed again. It wasn’t like he cared if the car broke down, though. If the car refused to carry on, he’ll just leave it, and walk the rest of the distance into the next town. Hell, into the next state.

Whatever it took to get his ass out of here, wherever “here” was.

His cellphone rang for the twenty-sixth time since he left. Yes, he counted, because there was no help trying to ignore the sound when the radio refused to work. It vibrated against the dusty old cushion of the back seat, the muffled sound drilling through his ears. He’d shut the phone off, or reject her call, but Liz never properly understood what it meant when a man needed his space.

So this was alright. She’ll have to give up, eventually. Sooner or later, she’ll get tired of waiting out the ring tone, and she’ll cry herself to sleep, or something. Maybe call one of her friends. He didn’t care.

Maybe she’d call Eddie, a small voice called from the back of his head, and he slammed on the brakes hard enough to send the tires squealing as they struggled against the hydraulics stopping them.

The car went from eighty to zero in two seconds, and he was left with his forehead pressed against the steering wheel, the stench of burning rubber filling the car’s interior. In the back seat, his cell phone had stopped ringing.

The next town was no more than twenty minutes away. Probably fifteen, or even ten, if he drove like he did earlier, and the highway patrol didn’t get lucky. He could make it. $156 in his wallet, a packet of mints, a spare t-shirt in the trunk. There was nothing stopping him from speeding off. He was doing just fine a minute ago.

Who cares what happened to that cold, heartless bitch, right? She didn’t care a whole lot, at least not enough to keep her damn legs closed while he was out of town. God knows what else she hasn’t confessed to, or what she hasn’t done.

The cell phone began ringing again, and it hurt to her name in pixels on the display.

Could he really do it?

He turned the keys, and only a dull clicking sound came. He tried again, and again the dull clicking greeted him. He rested his head against the seat. Guess that was the end for the old beast. Good times, the last 20 years have been. He took the vibrating cell phone and got off the car.

The ringing persisted even as the phone laid in 30 separate pieces on the ground, but by that time, he was already on his way, his hands stuck into the pockets of his jacket as he made the long, long walk away from here.


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