The lovely Amalia T. is hosting her Dream Sequence Blogfest today. Click here to read the other wonderful entries by some really great writers. As for mine? It's part of a bigger something written a while ago. Anyway, happy Friday. Enjoy the blogfest and your weekend.
Your hand wraps the gearshift and your foot flexes against the accelerator as you slip through the sleeping city.
“John, John, John…”
Green lights stretch out in front of you, beacons in the pitch black that presses in on you. Dark, dull buildings stand silent sentry, and a line of parking meters and naked trees mark your passing.
“What’s the matter Harve? You don’t like the ride?”
“On the contrary, John, I love the ride and I love riding shotgun.” A long arm reaches out and a forefinger stabs random buttons, surfing late night FM stations again. “It’s such a beautiful night.” He settles back against the leather seat and sighs. “The sky is as black as Zoë’s hair. You should really…”
“No, no, no, no, no.” You force your fingers to relax, give up their death grip on the steering wheel. “You do not get to talk to me about Zoë.”
His slow, Southern drawl hangs in the space between you. “She walks in beauty like the night…”
“Give it up, freak.” You bank your irritation, let it ride. “You have no idea…”
“Which way, John? Right or left?”
“There’s a fork in the road up ahead.” Harvey waves a dismissive hand. “Which way? Right or left?
You pull the car gently to the right as he opens the glovebox and begins going through the contents.
“Someone has to make you see.”
“Let me guess.” You keep your eyes on the road, your voice flat. “That someone would be you?”
“You really should pay more attention to her, John. And to what you’re doing.” He shifts in his seat, cocks a thumb and forefinger at you. “I’m not your enemy.”
“Tell me the truth, Harve.” You slide a sideways glance at him. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“You know I’m only here to protect you.” Mirror-flat eyes lock you in their line of sight. “Among other things.”
“Don’t worry about me, Harve.” You flick your eyes forward and stare hard, navigating by the spill of light from streetlamps. “I’ve got it covered.”
“Right or left, John?”
“Right or left?”
Another turn off and the car drifts to the left. Suddenly you’re on the parkway.
“All roads lead to Zoë.”
“I’ve told you before.” You turn and give him your best double-barreled glare. “You do not get to talk to me about Zoë.”
“Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right…” He drums a back beat on the dashboard. “And there she is, stuck in the middle with you.”
“I know what you’re doing.” The cold in the pit of your stomach claws its way up and out, sets up camp in your chest. “It’s not going to work.”
“You know that I’m only trying to protect you.” He jabs a long, strong finger into your shoulder. “Among other things.”
“Haven’t you learned? You…are mistaken.” You roll tight shoulders, crack your neck, and blow out a harsh, jagged breath. “I don’t need your protection. Or your help.”
“Yes, John. I do learn from my mistakes.” The unpleasant smile curving his lips doesn’t reach his eyes. “Unlike you.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“So much you misunderstand about me.” The observation is friendly, almost. “As if I didn’t know what Zoë is to you. If I wanted to…”
“You stay away from her, you freakazoid son-of-a-bitch.” You think the growl you hear is you, your self-control slipping.
“Right or left?” Harvey points forward at the orange barrels almost immediately in front of you.
“Shit.” The sibilant hiss hangs in the sudden silence as you pull the car hard to the right, pissed because the freak next to you is settled comfortably riding shotgun while you’re sweating bullets and lost on an endless looping freeway.
“Champagne dreams, John. Reality escapes you.”
“I’m sorry you’re so disappointed.” You dig deep and find some control again. “What did you expect of me?”
“You to see reason. To be reasonable and to see the truth.”
“What truth would that be?”
“You can’t protect her, you know. You can’t be her savior.”
You wait a beat, try to breathe. “Fuck you.”
“Right or left?” Harvey shrugs and points again, forcing your attention forward.
The concrete divider is coming up fast.
The car veers sharply to the left and suddenly your heart is in your throat and your stomach is in knots as you hear and feel the sickening crunch of the body meeting the front end.
You see it launch in the headlights and come to rest as your foot tries to go through the floorboard on top of the brake and your arms lock in a wrestling match with the steering wheel.
The car fishtails and spins wildly to a halt at the side of the road and you are out of it and moving before conscious thought has returned.
“Oh god, oh god, oh god.”
You skid to your knees at the side of the mangled body, unaware of the blood pooling beneath it and staining your pants. Shaking with adrenaline and fear, brushing the long twisted hair from the join of neck and shoulders you reach out gently place two fingers at what should be the pulse point.
There is nothing.
Oh god, oh god, oh god. The refrain runs like a freight train through your head.
“John, John, John.” Harvey’s voice cuts through the white noise and screaming in your head. “You only see the curve, not the road ahead.”
“You can’t protect her. You can’t be her savior.”
Your gut is sending a message your brain won’t accept as you reach trembling hands out to gather the broken and bloody body to you. Cradling the twisted and bent form against your chest, you reach up to gently brush the eerily familiar hair from an obscured face.
You wake drenched in sweat, cold and clammy, pulse roaring in your ears as you jackknife to a sitting position.