E is for Excerpt
I’m always talking about my writing here, but I rarely let anyone read any of it. So today I’m putting my words where my mouth is and offering you a short excerpt. It's rough, and definitely a WIP, but I hope you enjoy it. BTW…the first car I ever owned was a 1966 Green Chevy Van.
“I don’t see a decent size town for at least a hundred miles,” Cami said, peering over the top of the map. “I guess you’ll just have to pull over if you’ve gotta go that badly.”
Ted stared out across the barren country-side on either side of the interstate. Not a tree or bush in sight, nothing even a mangy dog would consider lifting his leg next to.
“I guess I’ll hold it for a while longer.”
Cami started folding up the map. “Suit yourself. Maybe somebody should’ve gone when we ate lunch, like I suggested.”
Ted let her not-so-subtle dig just hang there, refusing to take the bait and retaliate. He knew she was right, but admitting it went against every guy rule there was, and besides, it would only serve to egg her on. It didn’t matter though; the playful smile he caught out of the corner of his eye told him she was satisfied her point had been made.
“Come to think of it, reach back there and get me that empty Gatorade bottle.”
“I will do no such thing,” she replied, half-laughing as she slapped his arm with the partially folded map.
At least the dull pressure from his bladder might help keep him awake, he thought. They had been warned the I-80 drive across Nebraska could challenge one’s consciousness, especially after a meal, but this bordered on the brutal. Miles and miles of pure nothingness. Ted wondered how long it would be before his arms felt heavy and that overwhelming lethargic feeling overcame him. He was starting to second-guess Cami’s offer to take over driving for a while, but she was so damn insistent on going just a couple miles an hour over the speed limit, even out here where state troopers were few and far between.
The Eagles tune playing on the radio wasn’t helping matters, so Ted hit the seek button to find something more up-tempo. Just as a gospel choir began blaring from the speakers his attention was drawn to something out of place on the road a half mile ahead. As the car drew closer he could make out something resembling a rolled up sheet, or small blanket, its whiteness a stark contrast against the black asphalt. There was nothing else nearby, no cars or trucks, no hitch-hikers, just the apparent bundle of linen in the road.
Ted figured the bedding roll wasn't big, maybe the size of a loaf of bread, but there was something about it that told him to ignore the radio and pay closer attention. It was resting in the center of the right hand lane and though he was sure running over it wouldn't pose much of a risk, it could possibly get caught in the under carriage so he'd better play it safe. He checked the rearview mirror before moving over, but he knew the caravan of semi's they had passed recently were the only other vehicles on the road, and they were still a few miles back.
"Ted, what's that in the road?" Cami asked as she returned the map back to the glove compartment.
Ted didn't bother to answer because the fast approaching road hazard, now fifty yards away, was causing an uncomfortable feeling to flood over him. Why was something as light-weight as a sheet remaining stationary like that, despite the insistent wind blowing outside? And why did it resemble a shape so familiar, but so out of context with these surroundings. He flipped down the turn signal and started pulling into the left-hand lane.
Suddenly an icy chill ran down his spine when the surface of the sheet unexpectedly seemed to ripple and flex. Something was moving inside. They were right on top of it now, about to speed by on the left side, when Ted thought he spotted something else lying on the ground next to the sheet. No! It couldn’t be!
Cami must have seen it at the same time. "TED, THAT'S A PACIFIER!" she screamed.
Instinctively, Ted stood on the brakes. The screeching tires were deafening, seeming to last an eternity, drowning out the sound of Ted's breath being forced from his body as the seat-belt yanked him back before colliding with the dashboard. He tried to keep the car pointed straight, but despite his best efforts it pulled to the left, off the shoulder and into the center medium.
No sooner had the car jerked to a halt he heard the passenger door fly open. In the rear-view mirror he watched in horror as Cami sprinted unfazed towards the semi-trailers thundering down on them, and the baby blanket.
Were you aware I was holding a contest during the Challenge? No? You can read all about it HERE.