Paved With Irony

She merged onto the Interstate to save herself.

The grooves in the road met the treads in the tires with a measured thump-thump, in a cadence so perfect that her heart used it as a metronome to keep pace.

The purr of her car’s engine spoke to the buzzing in her mind and calmed it to a gentle hum.

The exhaust system emitted a throaty growl as the tailpipe exhaled sweet fumes. In a normal response she would have inhaled deeply to saturate her brain cells with the life-robbing gas. Tonight, she allowed her lungs steady and mindful breaths.

Her thoughts wandered, but her peripheral vision remained sharp, most notably with the lines and the signs.

The dashed lane markers blurred into a line that reminded her to stay in the center. The signs sent their own messages.

Orange signs meant construction and a SNAFU in traffic matters ahead. She paid them little heed as hers was the only car on the road.

Green signs meant that a street was approaching at a certain point. When the point was reached, an arrow demanded that the driver exit.

Blue signs politely invited the motorist to do the same, with promises of fuel, food, and rest.

She ignored all. She was relaxed and thought about the crippling anxiety she felt just an hour ago and how she wanted to end it. Now, she felt a calm and peace. She knew all would be okay. She closed her eyes for a moment. As she opened them, she caught a sign that read, “Right Lane, 1.5 Miles.”

Her mind tried to piece it together. Right lane closed in 1.5 miles? She was in the center lane. Her thoughts wandered again. During Driver Education, her instructor warned her about highway hypnosis. She always thought that the concept was absurd. Tonight she realized it could happen.

Her mind came back to “The Present.” She saw that she missed the orange and white exit sign in the right lane. Straight ahead, she saw the sign that read, “Bridge Out.”

Earlier she merged onto the Interstate to save herself.

She smiled at her final thought.

“Oh, the irony.”

save point

They had created a written language all their own to hide messages from prying eyes.  They had a hangout they routinely gathered at to discuss ideas and formulate plots.  They had strict membership requirements to make sure that only the best candidates could join their ranks.  But, for a secret organization, as they styled themselves, they weren’t very secretive or organized.

Frank and Charles bummed rides from their parents and they met in John’s parents’ basement.  Their meetings rarely stayed on topic.  They had yet to agree upon a course of action or attempt a single coup.  Usually they ended up just watching movies and playing video games, their master plans for world domination left strewn across the top of their workbench, which every other night of the week doubled as a washing machine.

Everyone at school knew about their club, too.  The three members thought that because no one had approached with any interest of joining that meant they had managed to keep their existence somewhat quiet.  The truth, however, was that none of the other students wanted anything to do with their madness.  Frank, Charles, and John would have been find with that if they had known.  They’d have liked being thought of as mad.

They were mad.  Mad with a world spiraling out of control.  Mad about their inability to do anything about that.  Mad that they seemed to be standing alone against the bleak future.  As they went round and round trying to come up with something that might work, one brilliant idea for the rest of the world to latch on to and embrace before it was too late, they would eventually become mad at themselves too for not being able to agree on anything.

Their voices would raise, their fists would pump animatedly, and one parent of the other would yell down the stairs to “keep it down” or “knock it off” and then the three would roll their eyes, make truces, and take much needed breaks to clear their thoughts and start over.  The gaming consoles were never out of arms reach.

The fate of the world could wait until they’d reached the next save point.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I don’t know.  I picked one of the prompts and these were the words that came to me for it.  What would you write about for this week’s InMonster writing challenge?

Inspiration Monday logo

The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.

OR

No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:

WINDOW LIZARDS

MERCURY POISONING

SECRET ORGANIZATION

TIME STAMP

THE FINAL FRONTIER

ants go marching

The bright red tail lights pierce the darkness of pre-dawn.  Car after car is backed up at the stoplight of the corner by my house in such a quantity that the sheer number of lights provides ample radiance to identify the make and model of each one.  I must be running late, the morning rush has already started.

High above them, red turns to green and the brilliant scene fades in an instant.  Brake lights disappear and the cars roll forward through the intersection.  Their headlights do more to obscure than illuminate and my vision is lost in the forward march.  There are so many of them.  Where are they going?  What are their stories?  Why are they out of their houses and braving the cold so early in the morning?  What jobs are they rushing off to?

The tail lights disappear into the gloom of the distance, the number of cars subsides to a trickle, and the stoplight turns yellow and then red.  The brake lights return, the cars pile up again, and the world below becomes visible again.  I find it fitting that when they are forced to stop the world comes into focus.  We all need to pause and look around from time to time.

I’m running late, though, so I turn away from my window and start my own day.  A few minutes later I find myself sitting at that same stoplight waiting my turn to be allowed through the intersection so I too can rush off to work.