Crawling up the windy hill towards the gathering of cars is difficult today and I curse at myself for waiting until the weather got worse. I see huge storm clouds rolling towards me that are as black as night. I check my watch and it only says 2:37PM.
At the top of one of the ridges, there wasn’t quite room for a pickup truck to move all the way into the gulley. Although from where I’m standing it seems to be an older vehicle it would also seem like the easiest to maneuver out of this steel graveyard. Realizing that ‘winging’ hot wiring a car by oneself is not the most brilliant idea, I reach for the panel below the steering wheel anyway before I see the keys dustily swinging in the ignition. I step out, onto the unstable soil and peek inside a nearby Ford Taurus. Its keys are in the ignition as well.
I see movement to my right and swing around, startled. But it is only a flock of crows pulling remnants of fast food out the window of a buried Acura.
I hurry back into the pickup and rev the engine. The radio blips to life and I hear ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ playing scratchily under the transmission on some oldies station. Perhaps someone else reaching out into the void, perhaps a playlist left running, at this moment the explanation makes no difference to me. I feel both extreme fear at creating this much noise and blissful relief at the sound of another human voice, even if it is a recording. I realize I’m breathless with tears falling down my cheeks as the music continues in the void. The only other sound is Cleaver, who begins howling playfully with the music from his position on top of the ridge.
Gasping for air between frustrated sobs I shift the truck into reverse. The tires spin in the muddy dirt but the pickup begins to rock back and forth. Each time it rocks back it collides with the Taurus in front of me, each time with a more resounding crunch. I start shouting back after the collisions as if in protest. When the car finally rocks itself out of the valley I have a gut wrenching moment when I hear a pained yip.
Cleaver prances out from behind the car, undamaged, and jumps into the passenger seat. Navigating the terrain back to a paved road, I breathe a sigh of relief as raindrops begin to speckle my windshield.