Artwork By Daniele Gasparini

I haven’t published a short story for a while. And with the approaching Pink Full-Moon, the feature photo prompted the story below. Enjoy 🙂

Saturday, April 4, 2020

“Hey, it’s me. Give me a ring if you’re hearing this. I made it to Motel Owari. My cell receives but isn’t dialing out. And yes, it rained out here. I’ll do my best with what I see to gather some ahead…”

Continuing on my ride, I shut the bike’s headlights off. Following along the highway’s streetlights, flickering flashes ahead confuse me gazing out into the distant areas. The engine could detour my position—and by easing the throttle I’ll save on fuel. Riding further from town, each streetlight is now over a quarter mile apart. And splashing lightly beneath my bike, I pass up opportunities to fill up.

Can you tell I’m broke?

With the empty canteen bottle holstered next to my cell, there’s no way I’ll miss her call this time. But in place of time, my gas gage indicates a few hundred miles to ride.

Looking ahead, the lights shine dimmer, so the fog must be dense up there. Either way, they promised a still pond beyond the Motel. Who would dare come this far alone past the plaza?

She said there’d be a payphone before the highway. And of course, cell reception out here was never secure—but I kept my promise. As the protector leaving his caregiver to sit and wait in panic, I could be riding into death’s pond.

My defense if apprehended is survival—squadrons aren’t promised to return either. As the road below no longer splashes back, I stare further into the thick fog. Riding closer to fading streetlights, I glance behind, squinting at each pink clustering plaza light.

I stop, hop off my bike, now surrounded by fog without a light to shine in sight. Turning on the headlights to beam 200 feet ahead and revving my engine, I jump back on and begin trailing behind its straight lit path before me.

Breathing in as the road unfolds, the middle hash-marks become moments to exhale.

-Budd

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Budd writes to encourage readers to explore the depths of their inner ocean, an unexplored self, because it's fun once you get through the emotional part... "The words we speak become our vehicle; what you read is how I digest them.” -Budd

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