Friday, June 20, 2014

Lincoln Green

The heavy pounding of rain on the truck was broken only by the light static on the radio and the occasional clap of thunder, followed by a distant echo of roiling lightning striking rolling through the wooded hills in the darkness of the stormy night. Lynn shivered from the cold seeping through the rusty door, huddling closer to the middle where the central heater could warm her body. Holding her hands out, she smiled softly at the ring on her left hand.

It was a little snug, and the diamond was small... but it meant everything in the world the moment Bryan presented it to her and asked the question. Looking over at the bearded man, she smiled as she shivered. She was his, he hers. Or at least would be soon enough, once they got to town.
Eloping was hard when your father hated your taste in men and kept you under lock and key while forcing you to help mind the restaurant. But they'd done it, escaping that little town so they could head to the big city and start a life of their own!
"Shit," Bryan said as the engine began to sputter and whine, slowing down subtly as Bryan pumped the accelerator. "We're almost out of gas."
"So we're going to be stuck out in all of this?" Lynn asked, running her hands up her sleeveless arms, one hand moving through her short hair. "What are we going to do Bryan?"
"I don't know... keep an eye out for any signs or posts or anything."
Looking out her window, she watched the trees whiz past as the rain continued to pound the tiny truck, the winds whipping down torrents of water in great waves as thunder rolled in the distance. A sudden crack of lightning lit up the sky long enough for a vine encrusted sign to appear, half trapped by the foliage slowly consuming it.
"Lincoln Green, next right" the sign bore in faded white letters.
"Did you see that? A town is on the next right!" Lynn cried happily, looking over at Bryan with a smile on her lips.
"That's odd, I checked the map at the last pit stop and didn't see any towns on this route." Bryan said, looking down as the engine sputtered once. "But hell, I'm not about to complain. To town!"
They almost missed the next right, a narrow one lane dirt road that cut deep into the hills, curving and turning at sharp angles, forcing them to drive slowly through the mud and the muck. A few signs posted on the road were barely visible, the writing on them faded from the exposure to the elements. Lynn rubbed her upper arm, the tattoo she'd gotten on her eighteenth birthday sore for some reason, the word love written in her ancestral language of Japanese. Bryan had a matching tattoo on his left bicep, whereas hers was on the right. 
They sputtered into a small town square, almost ramming an old well that was set near the entrance. Swerving around it while swearing up a storm, Lynn looked around the town. All the lights were on, but she didn’t see any gas stations. She saw a bar, a bookstore, a barber shop… but no gas station. In addition, she didn’t see any cars.
“Pull in to the bar and kill the engine, we’ll go inside and ask where we can get some gas.” Lynn suggested, to which Bryan nodded.
Killing the engine with a twist of the keys, they just sat in the rain for a while, listening to it dance across the hood and roof of the truck. Lynn bit her lip and looked over at Bryan. “Think my Dad’s figured out I’m gone yet?”
“Probably,” Bryan said, looking over at her with a lop-sided grin. “Betcha he’s freaking out about it as we speak, calling me all sorts of names.”
Lynn giggled, before nodding to the bar. “Come on Romeo, let’s head inside.”
“After you Juliet,” Bryan said, opening his door and undoing his safety belt in one go before stepping out into the rain.
Running through the rain up to the door of the bar, Bryan opened the bar door for Lynn, before entering after her. Looking around, their hope for finding anything useful was immediately shot to hell.
The bar was dark, a flickering overhead light casting stark shadows over the room filled with dusty tables and chairs, along with a dusty countertop that formed the bar. It was obvious that nobody had been in here for years. The very air was stale and full of floating dust mites, making Lynn cough as she waved in front of her face trying to rid the air of any detritus.
“Let’s go,” Lynn said, shivering from the cold of the place. “I don’t like it here.”
“I agree.”
Both teens turned to see a sloped figure leaning against the bar next to the door, his black clothing covered in a fine layer of dust. Turning his head, they both gasped in shock at the sight of him.
Putrid grey skin with liver spots that looked wet, the man had yellow filled eyes with hazel centers, his cheeks sucked in due to his emaciated state. Sitting at the bar, he was hold an old beer stein that was long since dry, though he looked mighty depressed about the fact. His hair was black, and greasy, hanging low over his face.
“I’m so sorry,” Lynn said while backing up. “We didn’t see you there, we were just looking for a gas station and figured someone in the bar might know where we can find one.”
“You were right then, I can tell you where to get gas.”
“Gasoline? You can tell us where to get gasoline, for like a car?” Bryan asked, looking a little doubtful.
The man’s head creaked even more as he turned to regard Bryan, causing Lynn to wince; the head had almost turned a hundred and eighty degrees. He stared at Bryan for a moment before his lip twitched up into a smile.

“Pull up a stool, I’ll tell you a story.” 

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