Five Minute Fiction 65
An ongoing weekly experiment where I give myself five minutes to write something. Don’t think about anything. Just write. When done, walk away, coming back later to correct any glaring errors.
On A Dark Desert Highway
The headlights of Jack Billet’s Mustang stab sharply into the night, bouncing off the center road reflectors of the two lane highway with an ethereal aura. Out here in the deep desert the only other signs of life were the car he passed ten miles back going in the opposite direction, the occasional glint of wild eyes hovering in the black curtain where his car headlights yielded to the night, and the hysterical passenger squirming in the leather bucket seat next to him.
“Who the fuck where those guys?” the passenger asks. “Jesus Christ! Were they really shooting at us?”
“No,” Jack calmly replies, “they were shooting at me. They don’t care about my babysitter.”
With the speedometer glued to 90 Jack drives staring into his mirrors, looking for any hint of lights cresting over the persistently undulating tarmac behind them. From the corner of his eye he spots the reflective surface of a small sign. Mile marker 35, he thinks. Just a few more miles.
“Listen,” his passenger squeaks, “I know I’m just the hired help. To make sure you don’t run off, or whatever. But damn, I’m not muscle. I don’t even know what we’re supposed to be doing out there in the middle of Gods nowhere. I’m just someone trying to work off a debt. I didn’t know there’d be shooting.”
“Slow down and take a deep breath,” Jack replies. “I think we lost ‘em. Haven’t seen another pair of lights since…”
The driver’s side rear view mirror explodes like a firework, leaving behind a shattered hunk of black plastic swinging crazily from electrical wires. Bullets rip through the rear window with a dull sound like fists hitting leather, blooming white glass powder flowers in the safety glass. The ground on either side of the Mustang sparks like a blanket of fireflies as bullets ricochet off the warm asphalt.
Jack stamps down on the accelerator and launches into the dark at 120MPH. “Get down and hang on!” he shouts as another mile marker sign flashes past like a ghost. One more mile. “We’re nearly there!”
Swerving across both lanes, trying to dodge the bullets screaming in from the ebon gloom behind them, Jack scans the dusty shoulder of the road ahead. There’s the painted rock, he thinks. We’re gonna make it.
“Get ready,” he shouts at the flailing arms and legs beside him. “Our turn’s coming up!”
“Our turn?!” the passenger screams wild-eyed.
Feathering the brake pedal with his foot, Jack reaches down and pulls up on the emergency brake. Tires squeal and smoke. The entire car rattles and shakes with a tooth-loosening vibration. With quick twitches of the wheel Jack nudges the Mustang into a controlled slide, bouncing it off the pavement, through a gap in a barbwire fence, then guns the engine. Behind them a cloud of dust erupts from the unpaved road, camouflaging them from their pursuers.
Safely behind this dusty cumulus cloud, the bullets stop seeking them out.
And even though Jack’s passenger grips tightly to the oh shit handle above his door, he still managed to strike the roof of the car with his head. “I thought you said we lost them!” he shouts.
“Yeah, well, sorry about that. They must have been driving with their lights off.”
“Fucking brilliant!” the passenger shouts, cradling his head in his hands, his fingers tenderly exploring the top of his crown. He winces and stops, lowers his hands, and examines the crimson tips of his fingers. “I’ve been shot!”
“No you haven’t,” Jack replies. “You just bumped your head.”
Balling up his fists, the passenger pounds at the dashboard. “God damn it! This isn’t happening! I just wanted to work off my debt, not get killed!”
Jack half smiles, but doesn’t say anything.
“What the hell are we doing out here anyway? What’s so important in the middle of the damn dessert?!”
Turning his head, Jack’s face beams at his passenger with a smile that could melt the most hardened of hearts. “Why, we’re on a Grail quest, my friend.”
Laughing now, Jack guns the engine, smoothing out the ride over the rough dirt road, and points the nose of the Mustang towards the fine glowing line in the distance where the stars collide with the curve of the horizon.