This has turned into a series of fiction. If you tend to skip days, and you’ve skipped the past couple, you might want to backtrack before reading this post. This story begins with the fictional post, Expecting the Unexpected. Click here to begin at the beginning. And, thank you. Of all the hundreds of thousands of existing options for entertaining blog reading, I am honored you stopped here and chose me.

Halos. Auras. Bright squigglies. They all fill her sight lines as she peels away from the life she flees and ridicule her drive toward the  existence she escaped. Oncoming headlights dance in mockery, a visual party on the windshield of the wreck of a truck. Her little brother sleeps with his head in her lap. It’s for him that she keeps the machine in the road, fighting the glare of the approaching beams two-by-two.

She rubs her eyes with the back of one hand. Is someone following her? Orbs flutter in the rearview mirror. Approach-and-drop-back, a pattern that continues for miles of mindless country road. Just when she feels the tentacles of terror encircle her lungs and squeeze the air, rueful paranoia takes their place. After all, if he were chasing her, he wouldn’t wait until she was practically back to the home place before overtaking them.

Her head hurts. She massages her temple and tries to recall the last time she really slept, the oblivion of the child passed out with his head on one of her legs. Did she ever know slumber so sweet?

Her mouth fills with the taste of metal as the ancient truck lurches. Light fills the cab and explodes like fireworks before her eyes. Was it a bump in the road, or did another vehicle just rear end her? She scrabbles for the mirror, but she can only see another series of fireworks, streaking reds and blues and oranges wherever she tries to focus. Desperate, she tries to see her hands. They look like grooved leather, scattered with spots and freckles. When did she get so old? A glimpse of her face in the mirror reveals a crone in place of the girl she was, her life sprawling before her.

Did she waste that life? Chain reactions in her brain obscure her memory. All she knows for certain, before the stroke scrubs her brain clean, is that she faced a crossroads that long-ago night, the night she left her first husband. It’s the reel that plays continuously as she loses her wits, slips into a world without feeling.

Her first chance to take an unexpected path is the one she’s lived her life regretting. It’s the snippet of searing regret that will play behind her eyelids in a thousand points of light.

For all time.

Denise at Adeeyoyo wrote an exquisite poem yesterday. It accompanies this series perfectly. Please follow this link to read her words.

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