The pines whir past. Green and more green, and the slick gray ribbon of the stretching road. The rhythmic scrape of the wipers against the windshield, rain tapping on the roof of the car. He thumbs blindly at the dash, settles on a classic rock station. Shit, driving cross-country with his seizures is gonna be interesting.
He’s got more cash than he needs, a change of clothes wrapped around an old laptop in his rucksack in the back seat. A plastic bag filled with a four-day stash of twizzlers and beef jerky, a can of Monster getting lukewarm in the cupholder. His mom’s been trying to get him to switch to coffee, because at least coffee isn’t full of stuff you can’t pronounce…
He chokes back a sudden, horrified sob. Later. He’ll deal with this later, because if he thinks about how she’s dead, and how his dad’s dead, and how they might come after Bri or Sarah next, he’s gonna run this car right off the road.
The sky begins to darken, and the rain picks up. He weighs his options. There’s probably no way he’s gonna be able to sleep anyway, right? Might as well keep driving through the night. Get as far away as possible.
He focuses on an eagle circling overhead, and imagines the feeling of wind through feathers. The radio drones on.
That woman… she’s really striking in person, in a tragic sort of way. He holds her image in his mind, makes himself think the word. That’s my mom. There’s a stab of guilt, and he corrects himself. Not mom, never mom. Mother.
He only knows a few things about her, but he knows this now. She loves him. And she is loved.
The man’s voice echoes in his head. You have nothing to apologize for. He wishes he had the chance to tell her that, too. To reassure her. Someday, they’ll talk, but until then, at least she has… at least she has his father. At least she has someone to catch her when she falls.
Jackson runs a hand through his hair, forces himself to take a deep breath. He can’t deal with this right now. It’s too fucking much. He looks around the car for anything to distract himself with, and after stress-eating an entire bag of twizzlers, settles for singing along to the radio. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea… joy to you and me.
God, his voice sucks. The trees open up, and the jagged silhouette of the Blue Ridge Mountains looms in the distance.
Maybe he should go to Oregon. Oregon might be cool.