Prompt: Never Again
Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it.
“Hi, I’m Carl,” he said as he climbed into the passenger seat of the dark, 1966 Mercedes 190. The interior light didn’t work, and all he could see was the shadow of a woman at the steering wheel, silhouetted by the half-moonlight behind her.
“What is your surname, Carl?” she asked.
“…Cameron,” said Carl, as he pulled the door closed.
“Well, Mr Cameron, I’m Miss Fisher. I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Miss Fisher accelerated suddenly once the door was closed, and they jolted forward. Then she slowed, and they drove into the darkness. There were no street lamps, and the headlights showed the road precisely 22 feet in front of them, and no more, as if the road didn’t exist until they travelled upon it. Branches with leaves heavy from the earlier rain, bowed over them as they passed.
Miss Fisher nodded at the gas can in his lap. Her tone took on a severely serious tone, as if she was a doctor breaking bad news to a family. “Out of fuel?” she asked sadly.
Well, obviously, Carl thought. But he said, “Yes, indeed, third time it’s happened in as many months, got to upgrade I think.”
“I didn’t pass any cars back there,” Miss Fisher said pleasantly.
“No, I was off the road,” said Carl.
“What were you doing off the road, this road, at this time of night?”
Carl didn’t like the dynamic of this conversation, not at all. “I could ask you the same thing, Miss Fisher. What are you doing on this road, of all roads? Not the safest stretch of highway.”
“Sometimes a person has to get from Point A to Point B,” said Miss Fisher. “We are at Point A, on our way to Point B. I hope your destination is Point B, Mr Cameron.”
Carl could smell a perfume, it smelled like the jasmine that grew near his grandmother’s front porch. Miss Fisher was not his grandmother’s age. She was young enough. She was not fat, nor too tall. Nor too strong.
“I think the journey is more important than the destination,” said Carl.
“A philosopher,” said Miss Fisher. “I like that. But I think Mr Emerson was referring to the journey of life, not a ride with a stranger to the nearest gas station.”
“You are smart,” Carl said. “I like that in a woman.”
“You make me blush, Mr Cameron,” said Miss Fisher.
“Do I?” said Carl. “Let me see.” There were no bucket seats in this car. He moved a little closer. The scent of jasmine was stronger.
“Move away, Mr Cameron,” said Miss Fisher.
“Now, now,” said Carl.
Miss Fisher raised a gloved hand to push him away, and he grabbed her wrist. He twisted it slightly, just to send a little message. He didn’t really hurt her.
She accelerated again, and he was thrown back into the seat, laughing, until she reached across with the same gloved hand, and grasped his throat tightly just below the mandible.
As she put her foot on the brakes, he lurched forward, and she twisted her wrist hard, as she was trained to do, and something tore, and he stopped breathing.
It was closer to dawn when the headlights of the Mercedes picked out another hitchhiker, his thumb out. His left wrist was in a cast, and the scent of bourbon that filled the interior of the car as he climbed in indicated to Miss Fisher that he was a little drunk. Maybe a lot drunk.
She had passed his car, a Ford Explorer, silver in colour, toppled over in a ditch. He was lucky to be alive, strolling so carefree down the shoulder of the road in the night, looking for a ride to Point B. When she nodded at his left wrist and asked if he’d hurt it, he rolled his eyes, knowing she couldn’t see him in the dark. He kept forgetting to call her Miss Fisher, and addressed her by the name of Lily, for no reason Miss Fisher could fathom. He rolled down the window, and clumsily lit a cigarette. His cast was covered in signatures and symbols.
When she was finished, she put him in the trunk with the other one, Mr Cameron.
She drove back to Point A as the sun rose. Point B, she thought, was ever elusive. But one day, life would be more than the journey. One day she would reach her destination.