The Road to Oblivion

It was hot, dry and very empty, as only Texas can be. I stood by the side of the highway with my car half in the dusty ditch as my only company. I was alone, all alone in this world.

The air was swarming with insects, relentless in their attack of every inch of glistening, undefended skin. I looked down at my halter top already soaked with great splashes of sweat, my cut-off denim shorts sticking to my skinny thighs. It was going to be a long wait.

Only two vehicles had passed all day—a couple in a hired Winnebago on vacation and a young guy in a Chevy pick-up, delivering fence posts. Neither of them could help me, it just didn’t feel right, if you know what I mean. I had assured them they needn’t worry because I knew the right person would come along to help me. Both had headed on hours ago, disappearing into the shimmering haze of the horizon.

It sure was growing late now, the sun drawing ever-longer shadows. Was that someone really going to come? Each minute felt like an eternity. Would I ever find home again?

Within an hour he pulled up in a dusty black Caddy. He was in his early forties, dressed like a salesman. A very sweaty, somewhat dishevelled-looking salesman. He was slightly overweight, balding and smelled of stale cigars. He reminded me of my own dad when I was younger.

‘How can I be of assistance sweetheart?’ he drawled in a deep, southern accent.
Jeez, just what I needed after all this time!

‘Damn car conked out, no warnin’ no nothin’. Been here for hours by myself and no shit idea what to do,’ I replied with a tremble of vulnerability in my voice.

‘You out here all on your own? Maybe if I do you a favour, you can help me with a little problem I got?’ he sneered, taking the keys from my ignition and secreting them in his trouser pocket, very deliberately.

I got the message, but knew I had to play along. ‘There’s tools in the trunk, but dunno if they’ll be any use,’ I suggested. ‘Well, suppose no harm in looking. Still, we ain’t in no rush.’ He bent in to the trunk and it happened so quickly.

From behind, I slit his throat mercilessly with dad’s old hunting knife, the one he used to threaten me and my sister with when he came in to our room some nights after work when we were young. That bastard made me what I was today and this guy had reminded me enough of him. Just another one who fuelled my killing spree.

For my fourth time now, I closed the trunk, torched the car with its concealed body and drove off in a dusty black Cadillac, with new plates. The road to oblivion sure was a long one.

Aidan Matear

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