I’ve been driving for what feels like an eternity. The sun had gone down so long ago I don’t even remember what the light looks like anymore. I remember getting in the car initially, though the memory is hazy, but I can’t quite piece together how or why I ended up here. Something just urged me to drive. I get flashes of these images—flickers of memory from before this trip. Yet they’re not enough to explain what’s happening.
This road is so narrow only a single car can travel down its rough path at a time. But I don’t think I’ll ever encounter another vehicle on this lonely road. Not out here. Not in these deep mountains. I’ve been driving so long—so far without stopping. I don’t know how I haven’t run out of fuel yet. Or why I’m never hungry or thirsty for that matter. I just keep driving. And even though I want to stop, I can’t. Something keeps urging me forward.
The forest gets more dense with each mile traveled. The shadows blanket my cherry red Mustang in perpetual darkness. It almost seems like the foliage is beginning to devour the road. I can even hear the smooth sides of my tires scrape against the brush. It’s strange, though. Other than the car there are no other sounds out here. No animals rustling under the trees. No wind flowing through the branches. It’s as if I’m the only thing out here. I’ve never felt so alone before.
Time inches along. Whether it’s hours or days makes no difference. I feel like this trip has no end. The road is all but gone now. Some time ago it had degraded to nothing more than dirt and rocks. My car bumps and smacks into the tress at a constant rate. I can see the damage to the body adding up, yet the car doesn’t slow down. I don’t know how long it can continue like this. I don’t know how long I can continue.
Eventually the forest takes over the road completely. My car stalls out and I have to walk. There are no trails or clear paths. I’m forced to make my way through the thick foliage. Only now it is my body instead of the car that takes the beating from thorns and jagged branches. Blood flows from almost every part of my body due to all the cuts, but I can’t stop going forward. I don’t why I can’t stop. It’s like my legs aren’t under my control.
Everything is black now. I can’t see anything, but I know I’m still in the forest because I can feel the sharp branches poke my skin and smell the fresh scent of cedar and pine. I’m so alone. There is this overwhelming sense of being forgotten—this unending anguish that tears away at me worse than any thorn or branch could. My entire body is engulfed in an excruciating burning. I fear this will never end.
There’s something much worse than the physical pain I feel, though. I now understand why this is happening to me. I know I deserve this and it will never end. For that flicker of memory has finally solidified. I know exactly what happened before I started driving down the lonely mountain road. I was drunk.
I had left party early with my girlfriend. I was hammered drunk and had no business behind the wheel. She tried to convince me to let her drive, but I was determined to never let anyone else drive my beloved Mustang. I remember her crying as the car picked up speed when I hit the straightaway on the back road to my house. She begged me to slow down, but we had been fighting earlier in the night and I wanted to scare her—to make her as upset as she had made me.
It was so dark that night. The moon was hidden behind the clouds and the towering trees blocked out any light that might’ve peeked through. If I had slowed down I would’ve noticed the deer before it smashed through the windshield. I can still hear how Anna’s gut-wrenching scream was cut silent so unnaturally.
Before everything went black I noticed how cold I felt and how blankly Anna stared at me as we lay face to face. I was thrown far away from the car and I assumed she had been too. But then I saw—I saw her body was trapped in the overturned car. Her body…
Then it was all over. I was alone driving down the lonely mountain road. And now I’m trapped. Trapped in eternal darkness.
I deserve this.
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