Roadtrips are always good in theory, at least that is what Shawn was told when Alex, his fiancé, had decided that not only was moving across the country a good plan, but driving from end to end was the icing on the cake. Despite the fighting, Shawn knew that she was all he ever wanted, as he gazed across at her, she retreated further into the foetal position the uncomfortable car nap had forced her into. Tiny snores escaping every so often causing Shawn to smirk to himself. He carefully opened another can of Red Bull, at least his third that night alone, but he was determined the next place he would sleep would be his new home. As he took a sip he noticed his companion had awoken, bleary eyed and squinting, as the lights of the highway poured in through the window, "What time is it?" she managed as she snatched the Red Bull from Shawn, chugging in a most ladylike fashion.
"Can't even remember the time, eh? Honestly, I swear you're nocturnal with the way you sleep."
She glared, then let a smirk crack her visage of anger. "You're such a brat, Shawn, are we at least nearly there?"
He shrugged, "You know Alex, corn looks shockingly like other corn when you drive past it for two hours, you get me, bro?"
His childish accent at the end of his words made Alex's grin widen, "Alright 'homes,' I'll just check the map."
Another snicker escaped Shawn's lips, "A woman reading a map? Here we go."
Alex rolled her eyes, still smirking, but now trying to see the fine details of the statewide map in the passing streetlights. A few minutes passed before she finally placed her finger on a road, "Aha! Not even moved in and I've found a shortcut! After the junction up here, take a right, and then a left onto the country road."
Shawn frowned, "The country road?"
Alex nodded, "Yes, it's a main road, it's just... Country lookin'." Nodding in half-agreement, Shawn pushed hard on the accelerator, soon he could finally sleep and take a very energy-drink induced trip to the men's room. Fifteen minutes had dragged by when Alex perked up, "This is it here on the right, hardly a country road! It has lights, you freakin' baby." Shawn rolled his eyes playfully, hating that she was right, but thankful at the same time. The road was actually quite scenic as the sun was just setting, bathing the countryside in twilight, broken only by the blinding streetlamps above. The road curved gently to the right, Shawn made a note to be aware of cars appearing from around the corner he couldn't quite see.
Playfully rubbing Alex's leg, so unbelievably happy to be at this moment in time, Shawn broke his loved up trance only to gaze towards her. Alex gazed up the nearby hill, atop was a beautiful manor home with a single lamp illuminating the doorway, it seemed almost like a southern paradise, despite being slammed in the middle of corn country. Alex sighed deeply, "One day, we'll live in a house like that."
Shawn put on his best southern belle impression, "Why Ms. Williams, you are positively the devil, I do declare!" The two laughed, returning their focus to the road. They felt as if they had been driving for at least half an hour, despite the map saying the route takes a little over ten minutes. "We must've missed the turning," Shawn finally admitted.
Knowing the tirade of abuse that would follow, Alex was oddly quiet, "What?" she finally replied, "Oh, don't be silly, I just read the map wrong..." She paused, gazing out the window at a nearby bus shelter, its windows smashed.
Shawn snorted, "Punk ass kids, why can't they just get high in a field?" Alex nodded, unaware of Shawn's words as she watched the side of the road intently.
Shawn glared over, his rant just about ending, to see Alex's face pressed against the glass. The sun had set, the only light illuminating both sides of the road was the harsh lamps above, and passing greenery was all to be seen. Shawn began to speak, "Are you alright, babe? You're looking a bit pale..."
As he attempted to say more, Alex hushed him, her face a sickly white, "Look... At the side of the road."
Shawn obeyed and gazed out into the night. "No way," he exclaimed, more shocked than he'd expected as his eyes fell upon another smashed bus stop.
"Don't fret, it's asshole kids, they aren't even in our area." Alex seemed to be rocking gently, watching the window. "Seriously Alex, you'll never be bothered by them, just try to sle—" The words hadn't left Shawn before Alex let out a whimper, pointing out into the street again.
A third smashed bus shelter emerged from the ever slanting road, Shawn frowned, he now knew what Alex was so afraid of, and couldn't help smirking. "Did you watch the Twilight Zone or something? It is punk kids going along in a car, destroying the shelters."
Alex glared back, viciously so as she spat out some words, "Three fucking bus stops in less than a fucking mile with one fucking house to service?!" Shawn prepared for the argument ahead but was caught off guard by Alex's use of the word 'house,' his eyes darted out the window as another bus shelter passed, and up to the porch light.
Sitting on the same hill was the manor house the two had admired, down to the last detail. The flickering porch light seemed to be on its last legs but the two had other concerns than a faulty light. "Shawn, what's going on?" His own face now a sickly pale, Shawn looked around desperately for an answer to her question, anything, even a flying unicorn to show he'd fallen asleep at the wheel. No such sign appeared, just the ever repeating shelter and house.
Taking a deep breath, Shawn began to slow down, "We can't repeat if we stop. We'll work this out."
As the car came to a halt, Alex laid her head in her hands, "This is too much." Shawn gently rubbed her back, letting the lights within the car die away, the engine coming to a complete halt. Alex gazed up at Shawn, tears in her eyes. As she parted her lips to speak, her eyes widened, she simply screamed, "DRIVE! DRIVE NOW!" Not daring to look aside, or even to breathe, he slammed the car into drive and began to rocket down the road, his speed picked up tenfold, the caffeine and adrenaline making chemical love in his veins. The shelter and house zoomed past in faster instances, Alex let out another shriek, "Slow down! You'll kill us! SHAWN STOP!"
Screeching echoed throughout the endless twilight around them as Shawn brought the car's speed down, his breath finally returning. Fear turned to frustration as Shawn pulled hard on the handbrake, causing the car to skid, facing the opposite direction. Without missing a beat, the car sped off, back the way they came. Minutes passed, maybe half an hour before they spoke. They hadn't seen the bus shelter, or the house, in fact, the road had seemed brighter. Alex rubbed her forehead, "Was there acid in that beer or something?" She actually smiled, and as she did, it filled Shawn with endless delight, calm returning to him as well.
"Must've been, hah!"
As the road began to straighten out, Alex began to mutter to herself, staring out into the night. "What's wrong?" Shawn said, he could feel the adrenaline start to pump, he knew their ordeal was not over.
"Shawn, the lights, are going out." Shawn followed her, pointing a finger, out into the endless stretch. She was right, at least a mile off, pure darkness was kept at bay by the shattering lights."
We aren't going through it," Shawn declared.
Alex's eyes immediately began to well up, "We can't go back."
Throwing the car around for a second time, Shawn screamed at the top of his lungs, "WE'RE NOT FUCKING GOING!" The screeching of the tyres again filled the world around them, Alex wept into her knees, unable to cope with the situation.
As the shelter and house rushed back to them once again, Shawn simply picked up speed. With every mile passed, he noticed the lights behind him begin to shatter faster and faster, the endless game of speed was not in his favour. With a heavy thud, the exhaust began to give way, Shawn panicked, staring into his dash for an answer, "... We didn't refuel," Alex muttered, holding her hand to her head, "I said I'd do it and... I fell asleep. When you were getting breakfast."
Shawn shook his head, "This isn't your fault." Tears began to roll down his cheeks as the car stuttered to a stop, the lights shattered above them, accompanied only by Alex's scream. Slipping his hand into hers, Shawn placed a kiss on her head, "I love you," he whispered, determined to remember her face as the darkness consumed it. The streetlights in front of the car had finally died, in front of them was only darkness, silent and encroaching. Alex closed her eyes as the light within the car finally began to fade and Shawn's sight vanished into a sea of black.
Written by AjayCassells