This week’s InMon prompt, Difficulty Swallowing, came just too close to the mark. I’ve had a viciously sore throat for over a week now and I’m quite sick of it! So I’ve chosen another one for my story: through the windshield. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
It’s dark and raining. It’s been dark and raining for hours, and I don’t know when it will ever stop. The road is louder now, and I wonder if that means we are in a different state, or on a bridge, or something else, but it is too dark outside to make out anything except the headlights of the cars coming towards us, and the taillights of the ones leading us on.
Does each one of those cars hold a girl? Behind the headlights, should I be able to see frightened eyes – tired but sleepless – staring back at me, hoping for answers in the beams shining on them?
I feel like a little girl, and a big girl all at once. I’ve never been allowed up so late before, but now we are awake and driving and there is no sign of a hotel or a house or anywhere to stop.
We filled up a while ago, at a gas station next to a stop light. There was nothing else around and Daddy didn’t want me to get out, but I had to pee, so he let me go into the store. Above the counter it said “Queenston Gas”, but I never heard of Queenston, so I still don’t know where we are.
I close my eyes and for a second I can see Mummy’s face, thick and red. Her eyes are open and staring straight at me, but they are not smiling like normally; they are frightening, maybe frightened.
I open my eyes and Mummy is gone.
“Don’t fall asleep.” Daddy sounds strange. His voice is quiet but it feels like he’s shouting. “I need you to be brave.”
I wonder if it would be easier to be brave if I was asleep, but I know I would see Mummy like that again, and I am glad to keep my eyes open.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asks after another million miles of darkness.
I shake my head, even though I know he can’t see me.
“You’re safe now,” he says into the night. It sounds like he’s talking to me, but he’s using the voice he uses when he’s all on his own in the bathroom and I think perhaps he’s talking to himself. “It’s all going to be OK.”
The headlights shine on his face for a moment and I can see he’s crying. I want to hold his hand, then, but I daren’t touch him. I wind my fingers into my skirt and stare out at the rain.