2018-10-23 14:41 fiction flash-fiction Benjamin Brood

At Dawn

At midnight they stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Although it was pitch black they imagined that opposite the station was a vista of great magnitude. A landscape that was indelible and American, a big sky and dramatic, worn crags of rock dotted with a tough, stubbly brush. They stood there in the cool night air and remarked on it. You see the way the sun creates shadows off the buttes, like solid splashes of ink. And the ground, she said, the rippling, tan expanse has something in common with the ocean — it feels endless and a little dangerous. They stood this way for quite a while, staring out into the darkness. Occasionally someone would drive up and walk past them into the mini-mart, wondering what they were doing, why they were standing there. Should we stay until dawn? he asked. I'm not sure, she said, we might ruin it by staying. What if it were an abandoned factory that was there, an ugly factory? he suggested. What if there was nothing but pavement? she said. It's best the way it is right now, he said. Shortly before dawn they went into the mini-mart for supplies and to pay for gas. Where are you headed? the attendant asked. Forward, not back, she replied. Mostly west, he said.