too young to kill | brite futures
One who likes to travel might know that the journey is more important than the destination from experience or one might simply want to believe it because they’re stuck inside a stuffy 1979 Trans Am with a bipolar creep and his deranged ferret in the middle of a desert in the middle of nowhere. My situation was the ladder.
I tried my best to make the best of this position because if I wasn’t stuck in this car, I’d probably be dead if that bipolar creep, Duke Warner, hadn’t saved my life and hadn’t to taken me with him when he left town because of mass anarchy and bombings in this country. I’m still not sure why I’m with him and his ferret in this suffocating car, but I’m honestly lucky that I got to leave the civilized world for a long drive through the deserts of Arizona, so I don’t question.
After several days of traveling, I realized that Duke and I didn’t talk much. He was a little reclusive and he enjoyed dying his hair the colors of the rainbow, for example it was a deep shade of teal at the moment, and his big, dark eyes hinted at his quiet nature. I, on the other hand, would ride around in my suburb on my bike with a group of other kids with my blonde hair blowing the wind behind me. So, after a few hours of nothing Duke broke the silence, “You know, Marcia, you have a perfect frown, s sure sign of a Foster.” I looked at him strangely as if his comment on the common trait in my bloodline was far odder than it was, only to see that he wasn’t looking at me but that he hadn’t broken his focus on the road. I leaned back in the leather seat against the tares in the upholstery that had been crudely repaired with staples and duct tape. He was a strange kid, that one, but in a weird way, I liked how he said my name. He said it with a tone of happiness with an enlightening aura, something not many people did when they said my name. He didn’t say anything else and neither did I. But eventually my own weariness lured me into a deep sleep.
I awoke hours later to darkness and to the subtle snoring of a curled up Duke. I sat up and looked around trying to get a grasp on my surroundings and rubbed my eyes. After a minute or two I leaned over and tapped Duke’s shoulder. As soon as the tip of my finger touched him he woke with a start. His breathing was heavy and strained. “Duke… are you okay?” I asked cautiously. He nodded and rubbed his brow. I sat back in my seat again and he situated himself properly in his seat once more. “You don’t talk much…” I said in a blank tone.
“I don’t do I?”
“No, not really and I’m sick of it…”
“Why? I thought you liked it when people shut up.”
“Because… because…” I stammered because in all honestly I had no idea why it annoyed me but it did and I think it was just that sometimes it’s nice to have someone to pour your heart out to. “Because… Because I’m lonely! Okay? I want someone to talk to! Someone that will talk to me! I’ve been in this car with you for DAYS! DAYS I TELL YOU! AND YOU’VE HARDLY SAID ANYTHING!”
Duke didn’t answer. Instead, he just stared at me. I noticed that my tear ducts had started to water and this didn’t help the situation. Big tears rolled down my cheeks as I sobbed silently and I buried my face in my hands and curled up in my seat. I stayed like this for a moment or two before I felt tow arms wrap around and pat my back. “Hey, listen Marcia,” Duke began, “I know that this is hard and I know that being in a shitty car for days with a creep like me isn't really a paradise retreat, but I… I…” Duke’s voice cracked and I knew he had started sobbing himself and I knew that it was from all the pressure and impact the last few days had put on our lives.
We sat like this silently for a few minutes before we broke apart and I looked him in the eye for the first time in days and he looked back at me with a smiling face. And just when we all thought that our journey to find salvation might work out in the end, we heard a gunshot, a loud, near-by gunshot and that was it, that was the end of any chance of our worlds had of having any sort of sense of serenity.
In the moment, the gunshot seemed surreal, like it had happened in my head and I didn’t even have to acknowledge it, that I could just dismiss it from my thoughts. But no, I couldn’t because it was real and it was close by. I squeezed Duke’s hand and he squeezed mine back. “Oh dear God,” I began, “Where the hell did that come from?” Then, without breaking eye contact Duke reached for a bag that was sitting near the pedals of the car and put it between the two of us. He unzipped it and we looked inside. The contents of the bag where quite simple: guns and ammo. I shot Duke an anxious look and I knew that his response meant that whoever or whatever was out there was about to walk into something none of us could walk out of.
1O minutes and 2 loaded pistols later, we were ready to go and investigate. We quietly climbed out of the vehicle and crept across the landscape carful to not make any loud noises. My heart pounded inside my chest with such force that I thought it might explode. I shakily held the gun in my hand, as did Duke, but he seemed to have more confidence in himself than I did, so lucky for me, he led the way. After about 5 minutes of creeping, we saw a large, shadowy figure only about 5 yards away. My heart nearly stopped when I saw it. My held tight to my gun. I wanted to shoot so bad, to just kill it and hope it wouldn’t hurt us, but before Duke or I made a move, I heard a loud bang and a yell before everything went black.