The Valley of Ghosts

The road dipped downward and the speedometer climbed. Down in the valley at the bottom of the hill was an ocean of mist, and I became a submariner. Shadows twisted in the light of my highbeams and nothing more. I had shifted into neutral to save gas; my tank was low. I couldn’t see the road in front of me, or the lights of any cars or streetlights. The mists rushing by my windows and my clockwise-spinning speedometer were the only indications of speed. I pressed gently on the brakes to steady my descent. My windows were wet with moisture but twisting on the wiper didn’t help my vision.

Still I rolled downhill, the N for neutral the only thing that made itself clear before me. I found myself honking my horn, as though to scare away the mist. It didn’t work.

The hill reached its steepest decline, and gradually the speedometer reversed, until at last it reached zero. Other than the sounds of the car fading to a idle purr I couldn’t tell I had slowed down at all–there was no road, no signs, no trees or hills. Just smoky clouds caressing the windshield in ghost-like tendrils. The radio crackled the occasional crooning word, the signal lost somewhere in the mountains, just like me.

The glowing N shifted to a P, and I stepped out of the car. I barely registered what I was doing until I felt my foot press against something that wasn’t a pedal for the first time in eight hours. I couldn’t even see the street, really–its frost mixed in with the cold mist. The wetness of it, like morning dew, beaded on all the fine hairs of my skin until I shivered them away. The wisp swirled around my breath. This was a place forgotten. A hole for ghosts. No cars followed or passed–not now, in the middle of the night on a Tuesday.

I lay on the asphalt and let the haze blanket me. Grey was the earth and sky. The red park lights on my car bloomed like devils. I couldn’t see the car itself. Just the lights. Just the lights and the mist. And me. At peace with the ghosts.

 

 


 

 

 

341’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Mist,” “Utterly ignored,” and, “The chariot.”

A peaceful end.

– H.

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