There

The small town – could Eva remember the name from the map? – didn’t even qualify as a ‘one-horse town’ because there wasn’t a soul on the street.

Probably sensible – the heat! She’d torn her sleeves off hundreds of k’s ago, stripped off her jeans and worn shorts (for the first time ever!), and driven with bare feet (illegal).

Eva had broken so many rules in her rush to get to this point – her own rules, too. Most of her life was spent being a pest to other people, ranting at them about ‘the rules’ and how important it was to remain solid and steadfast in the face of temptation.

Not now.

This little town, in the middle of nowhere – wait, hang on! The middle of nowhere was way back there somewhere, in the long distant memory of the black tarmac, when it was still a sealed road! – this was where she’d aimed her mind, this is where she said would be her new abode. It was the dream of …

And just like the dream, when she got there, there was no there anywhere.

No people, no vehicles, no living creatures to be seen or heard or even imagined. And the worst part of it all: as she drove into the main street, a huge ball of tumble-weed-stuff rolled down the street in front of her car.

If she’d been anywhere else, she’d have driven right over it – but it was taller than she was!

The row of shops that fronted the main road all had lines marked for angle parking – how did they get paint to stick to unsealed surfaces? Then she realised it wasn’t paint, it was a line of bricks, or pavers, or concrete. She smiled – resourceful residents, this lot.

No lights showed up the contents of the inner sanctums of the shops. Some didn’t even have signs or names; most were boarded up with sheets of tin over the glass – or lack of it.

The end of the road. There it was. And here she was.

Eva drove to the end of the row of buildings, peered intensely at each one as she passed. Nothing. No sign of life, no sounds, no lights, no movement.

All still and silent and breathless – just as she’d dreamed. Waiting for her to find … it.

Twice more she cruised down the row, then along the back lane-way, then up the slight incline at the back of the town. She stopped at the highest point and got out of the car to stretch her body, find her hat, and look out at her new domain.

The bino’s were good, but even through the magnification, there were mirages and heat shimmers on the horizon. She adjusted them to see the town and scanned left to right, right to left, north to south, east to west. And again.

There. A tiny wisp of smoke – the mines!

This was where she’d been headed all these years, and finally, here she was. There.

Copyright Cage Dunn 2017


desert

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