Becoming Nocturnal

I slapped myself in the face. The sting was less effective than the last. Despite the fatigue that had now taken permanent residence behind my eyes, I had no choice but to keep driving, until daylight at least. My hands tightened around the pleather of the steering wheel as I looked up the check the rear view mirror making. Nothing but shadows chasing me. I turned my eyes back to the road. My muscles were fatigued from being on edge, wary of every new foot of road exposed. Out of habit I made sure my flashlight was charging and my extra battery was full.

I couldn’t remember what it felt like, but I knew that the desert hadn’t always felt this dark and ominous. Then again I was never afraid of the dark before. The moonlight which was once comforting had become a dim adornment in the sky. Now I truly knew the terror of what could be hiding in peripherals and shadows. As if in response a loud howl cut through the silence of the night.

I pushed my foot harder on the gas pedal. I had to remind myself this was a new world now and I had no choice but renounce memories of sunny days and carefree youth.

Must have only been a few months ago, but still they managed to creep into my vision, replayed in the midst of my constant worries.

“Sara! Don’t scare me like that!” Trina yelled as she slapped my arm with some considerable strength.

I laughed, the sound being overshadowed by the squeal of tires. She claimed she hated when I was reckless and did donuts in a parking lot or race people at lights, yet she was always laughing with me by the end of it. Her grin wide and free of worries, at least for a moment, hair whipping around her face.

“You always say that and I still always do it,” I gave her a pointed look and dramatically rolled my eyes, “Just admit I provide some much needed excitement and fun to your life.”

Trina rolled her eyes in response but I could see the corners of her mouth tugged upwards at the corners in an involuntary smile.

I shook my head in an effort to disperse the images. The remembrance of happier times made the feeling of loss all that more afflicting. A distance ahead I spotted a cluster of lights that made themselves out to be a fort of sorts. My options were grim at best. I had already had to face the consequences of trusting other people. That’s how I ended up haggard with just a quarter of a tank left and three hours til sunrise, my usual bedtime.

Almost hard to believe how quickly my shit got fucked.

After only an hour of sleep I was roused awake by rustling noises. I was suddenly grateful that I had shedded my naivety in exchange for paranoia as I gripped the blade in my clenched hand. I kept my eyes shut feigning sleep. They were searching through the bag at the end of my feet. The few words I could make out did nothing but validate my paranoia. I didn’t wait to ascertain their intentions for sure. I threw the sleeping bag open and lashed out at the closest ones legs. I was rewarded with a shriek of pain as he went down clutching his ankles. Taking advantage of my element of surprise I lunged towards the other one, missing the first ankle, but snagging the second; thrusting the blade harder to ensure their lack of mobility. I swiped my bloody covered bag and made a mad dash for my car around the corner.

It had been a miracle that I had been able to get in my car. I had been on the road since then, nodding off since sun down. Most monsters now a days dwelled in the darker hour of the day, but it was a death wish to forget about the monsters that were hard to discern from friend or foe, and had no such restrictions such as light. But at least my blades provided a semblance of protection for those kinds of beasts. With that thought I pushed forward slowing down in front of the tall wooden makeshift gate. The lights blaring down so bright I had trouble making out the faces of those walking toward me.

I rolled down the window, “Got room for one more?”.

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