There was something about driving at night that gave him a rush. He liked it so much that he’d taken to sleeping away his days and only driving once the sun had long set.
There was less traffic at night. Fewer careless assholes behind the wheel to worry about. The police were too busy dealing with crime, or catching catnaps, to worry about someone like him pushing 100 mph on the open road.
And if he was driving all night, it meant he wasn’t tossing and turning in bed as the nightmares came for him.
Sure, he still had dreams during the day, but they were nowhere near as terrifying as the horror movies that played on an endless loop in his brain at night.
Heavy day drinking usually led to his blacking out, and several hours of dreamless sleep. Sometimes he woke up covered in vomit or piss. Or both.
But he didn’t care. As long as the dreams didn’t find him. The staff at the cheap motel du jour could clean up the mess after he left. He’d be hundreds of miles down the road before they even realized they’d need to burn the mattress and the sheets if they ever wanted to rent out the room again.
There were no taillights ahead of him. Just the way he liked it. He wanted the road to himself. The less thinking he had to do, the better.
He cracked the window to allow the cool, night breeze to slap his face. The open road could only be enjoyed if he was alive, which meant no falling asleep at the wheel.
Not that he’d ever allow himself to doze off.
He turned on the radio, and flipped through the stations in search of the perfect song.
He didn’t know what it was. He’d just know when he found it.
And there it was.
Another crooked smile lit up a face that was in desperate need of a shave.
Every Breath You Take by The Police.
I’ll be watching you…
Something about the idea of Sting looking out for him tickled his brain. Where did Sting live these days? England?
It didn’t matter. As long as he was watching him, he’d be safe on the road.
That was the sort of logic that worked for him these days. After so many weeks of being on his own and purposely limiting human contact, this was the sort of thing that made sense.
Every smile you fake,
Every claim you stake,
I’ll be watching you…
When the song faded, he turned off the radio. Just in time to look up and see the sign welcoming him to Washington state.
He’d started out in California, and driven almost completely across the country before realizing how much he missed the West Coast.
He simply turned around and headed for the left side of the map again. At first, he thought it was the beaches beckoning him back.
He missed the feel of the sand beneath his feet and between his toes. The sound of the surf calmed him.
But he wasn’t California dreaming anymore by the time he reached the Mountain Time Zone. The road was pulling him north by northwest.
He needed to be away from the crowds, the traffic, the smog.
Fresh mountain air was his goal. That was his nirvana.
He turned on the overhead light and then glanced over at the dogeared brochure that had the passenger seat all to itself.
He wasn’t a hiker, but Mount Eishenhower was far from the beaten path. A perfect place to sleep away his days and hide from the nightmares that jeopardized his sanity.
He had been driving all night for weeks with no destination in mind.
Now he knew exactly where he was headed…