The Journey of an Hour by James Crooks

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SUMMARY: Pale hands grip the steering wheel of the metal behemoth like a vise. Unseeing eyes flung wide on the pale face dart from side to side in the inky darkness. Do you fear the dark?

The beast roared. Harder still, the foot pressed on the pedal, urging the metal beast onward. The metal creature flew down the deserted road, as if fleeing from something following it in the dark. Pale hands gripped the steering wheel as if letting go would mean death. A pale, unshaven face hung above the steering wheel, the dark green shirt that covered the body blending deftly into the inky darkness that filled the car. The bright green eyes were flung open and held that way, watching the road with the intensity of a man who watched his own death approach him. The blackness of the night was absolute except for the weak beams of the headlights. There was no moon or stars or streetlights, and even the dim light emanating from the beast's eyes seemed subdued. The hum of the metal creature as it sped down the road was the only sound that broke the silence.

The face and hands had gone a long way to get here, and had a long way to go yet to reach their destination. The eyes did not see well, the hands had forgotten the glasses, and they were punished with confusion. Turn after turn, the hands had misdirected the squealing metal beast, until the mind no longer knew where the hands had taken it.

The face had set off on it's journey easily enough, with a map drawn by the father's hands. After feeding the metal behemoth there was nothing that could cause trouble for the face's journey home. However, the hands had forgotten the glasses, and the unseeing eyes punished the hands for their crime. Now darkness consumed the metal creature and it's driver, indeed, aside from the road there was no sign of humanity or civilization here. The mind wondered if it would see the house again. The engine roared and metal squealed under the harsh master that was the foot. Despite the chill of the winter air, the heater had been turned off to conserve gas, the face dripped with sweat.

A red eye hung in the air ahead and the metallic beast moaned aloud as it slowed to a stop before glare of the angry eye. Moments passed as the eyes flung wide searched for a sign that would point the way home, but it saw nothing, and the angry eye shut. The green eye's gaze replaced the red, it's stern gaze urged the metal beast to move forward, and with a lurch it complied. Soon the beast was racing along the forsaken road again, covering a ground that seemed to streach out into the eternal darkness. The wide eyes glanced at the numbers that floated in the darkness of the metal vehicle. They had shifted only slightly. To the mind time seemed to pass very slowly, and yet it came no closer to it's goal than it had been before. The mind commanded the foot to press harder, and the beast roared.

Speeding down the lonely road, visions flashed before the single eye of the mind. It saw the loving mother and the stern father, the beautiful blond girl the eyes had stared at so longingly. Loving visions melted away, back into the cold darkness. Monsters rose behind the metal behemoth, great and terrible they were, with countless eyes searching blindly in the dark and countless mouths gibbering with madness.

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