maelorin: (the sun is trying to kill me)
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posted by [personal profile] maelorin at 12:36am on 14/09/2007 under ,
solar plexus
The door opened. The sun shone in. Everyone was dead. "So much for the heroic rescue," he muttered. Shutting the door, we walked away.

Let me begin by saying that this is not one of those stupid stories where you're introduced to the main characters at some crucial, formative moment - and we're certainly not going to do any kind of 'three days ago' rubbish.

We were pissed off. We had come a long way, risked ridicule and bad roadhouse food to get here. Everyone said we were mad, nutters. Perhaps we were. But we were right. Unfortunately, not only were we dead right, we were alone, tired, and - did I mention alone? Half a thousand klicks from just about anywhere worthy of naming, let alone stopping at.

Right now, I can't remember what day it is, or the last time either of us showered. Ate is easy - yesterday evening. And he won't let me forget that I was the one who forgot to close the esky. How was I to know goannas don't give a rats arse if there are people about. Unlike dingos, a goanna will go after anything food-like - even if it's nailed down.

At least the whiskey's intact, or he'd never shut up.

Anyway. Now we've got our vindication. But that's not making either of us feel particularly great. There were some thirty kids in that tin shed. Probably about as many families who won't get to see their Jimmy smiling at his mate's wedding, or their little Penny, knocked-up, standing beside him winking as the celebrant reads off the card.

So. Having tried the radio, we're now driving back the way we came. If the radio doesn't pick up something first, we'll try that sun-blasted wreck of a service station we passed on our way in here. Neither of us are keen to discuss who's going to make the call, or indeed much of anything.


He's definitely pissed off now. A few terse words on the phone, and the frown has transformed into a scowl. Joy. Only another five or six hours to go. He's bound to want to drive most of that time, leaving me with shit all to do but watch the road. We didn't exactly pack for light entertainment. The way out was a series of bursts: drive, ask for directions, drive, refuel (vehicle and bellies), drive, check our bearings, stop and check every abandoned building, piece of tin, and pile of whatever.

Now it's just him scowling at the road, and me staring out the window ...


I should have known that I'd nod off. Sod all else to do. Now I've got to figure out where we are. He's so wrapped up in what he's doing, I doubt he'd hear me if I asked.

I get the maps out, and play with then for a while. The sun's going down, and we're heading towards it, so we'd better stop soon. Driving into a setting sun is just crazy out here. Can't see anything, and with so little out here, you could be off the road and not know it. Lost is not a survival strategy.

Checking the time, I've been asleep for almost four hours. So we could be getting close to the big truck stop. I could do with a cold drink, a stretch and a piss.

Then I notice the wrapper on the dash. The bastard's let me sleep through a stop somewhere while he filled up and grabbed a bite to eat. Now I'm angry enough to break his reverie. I lean forward to speak - just as we suddenly slow down and turns to tell me it's my turn to drive. The truck stop's up ahead. I can't see a thing.


Often the best that can be said for the food at truck stops out here is that it's probably hot. At the better stops it's also edible. Occasionally, it has flavour. None of which applies at "Mel's Truck Stop and Motel".

Still, after a half hour break filled out with soggy potatoes in salt, miscellaneous veggies deep fried in bright yellow casings of something crunchy, and a large bottle of universal cola I took us back out on the road. And then proceeded to drive for the next five hours. How much fun is this job, hey. Just like in the brochures.


Six hours and twenty seven minutes and oh, thirty seconds or so, after we opened the door, we were Home. The best thing about that being we have real beds to sleep in, with mattresses and everything. First time in nine days we could have a shower. Maybe in the morning. Right now, it's a few small tasks then sleep.


Morning. And now we get to do what we came all the way back Home to do. While everyone else is being flown out there, and everything, we get to tell the families. Fucking excellent. How do we explain to these people why we're not back there, doing the decent thing. Why it took us so long to get out there, to find them. Why we rushed back here to destroy their lives ...

"Hi Martha, I know we've only just met, but I have to inform you that little Penny isn't coming home. I'm sorry for your loss."

A solid kick in the solar plexus, for all of us. About thirty times ... the heroic rescue would have been much, much easier.
Music:: Faithless - Don't Leave - Don't Leave (Moody Mix)
location: apartment 8
Mood:: 'numb' numb
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