Driving Through the Dark

[This is my response to the Road Trip writing challenge. What do you think?]

“On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha, …”

“Could you find another station? I’m getting tired of hearing that crap.”

Mary flicked the radio off, and in the sudden silence another voice was heard from the backseat darkness, the stirrings as the sleeper woke from his nap.

“Mmuh, are we there yet?”

“No. Go back to sleep, Timmy,” came the first voice. “It’s nicer when you’re sleeping.”

Instead Timmy squirmed upright and peered out into the darkness. “Where are we?”

“We still have a ways to go,” said John, the driver. “Why don’t you go on back to sleep. We’ll wake you in plenty of time.” He knew it was probably a lost cause, but he could always hope.

His hopes were quickly dashed. “How much longer?” whined Timmy.

“Don’t worry, dickwad. He said we’ll wake you before we get there.”

“Don’t call me a dickwad, jerk!” The sounds of a scuffle came out of the blackness.

“Stop fighting, boys!” called Mary. “At least wait until we get out of the car.” The driver could be seen shaking his head in the dim light coming from the dash, but otherwise the dark was all encompassing, so the only way she knew her words had any effect was by the cessation of noise coming from the backseat. “Thank you,” she said, not bothering to look over her shoulder.

“Yeah, well Davey started it.”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

“Shut up!” yelled John. “I don’t care who started it. We still have a ways to go, so just settle down!” He took a couple of deep breaths, and listened for any further disruptions. Things stayed quiet, so he finally relaxed his shoulders and returned his attention to his driving. The exit off the interstate was coming up and he didn’t want to miss it.

The silence was getting oppressive, so Mary turned the radio back on and tried another station. She found one playing The Dirty Boogie. “Now that’s more like it!” said Davey.

Timmy could be heard grumbling, and then came the sounds of him digging through his backpack as John found his exit.

“Hey! No electronics! Timmy just dug out an iPod!”

“So what, jerk? You can listen to that dreck, and I’ll just listen to my own tunes.”

“But we were supposed to leave the electronics at home!”

Mary intervened. “Timmy, you know the rules. Give it up!” She held her hand over her shoulder and waited. A snap of her fingers, and the iPod was in her hand. “Thank you.” She stuffed it in the glove box.

The Dirty Boogie was replaced by Mack the Knife, a song that everyone in the car related to. There was peace as long as Bobby Darin was singing, but with the commercials came more discord.

“Can I have a snack? I’m hungry!”

“You’re always hungry, dickwad.”

“Yeah, well you’re always a jerk!” Davey slugged Timmy in the arm. “Ow!”

Mary tried to cut things off. “Boys? Play nice!”

“Yeah, well he started it.”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

“If I have to stop this car, someone’s going to be sorry!”

The threat from the driver seemed to do the trick, for the boys in the back seat settled down. The van rolled on through the night, with only the instrument panel and reflections from the occasional sign to light the interior. The commercials were replaced by Luck Be a Lady as the van made its way into a residential neighborhood.

“We’re almost there, boys. Another five minutes.”

“Yay!” came Timmy’s voice. Mary just smiled in the darkness. It was like this every time. She waited for the end of the song, then killed the radio. This time the silence held.

The driver killed the headlights before the van got to the next intersection, and rolled through the stop sign and around the corner. Engine dead, it coasted to a stop against the curb without him having to touch the brakes, keeping the brake lights from giving them away. “We’re here,” announced Amanda, imitating a creepy movie as she reached up and made certain the dome light wouldn’t come on.

The hit team reached up to pull the balaclavas down over their faces, the backseat rivalry gone as the experienced assassins exited the vehicle as one and and proceeded with silent steps the rest of the way to their objective.


About Kurt Schweitzer

A former vampire logistics facilitator, past purveyor of Italian-style transportation, and Y2K disaster preventer, I'm currently creating websites, novels and other fictions while reinventing myself. Again.
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