And They Rode Off into the Sunset

Karen squeaked as her iPod slipped from her hands and fell into the black hole somewhere between the passenger seat and the door of their convertible. She fumbled with the aux cord a moment longer before tucking it under her leg while she fished beside the seat. 

Timothy opened his mouth to ask what on earth she was doing, but the question went completely out of his head when the right rear tire popped with a loud bang. The wheel jerked in his hands, and he cringed as he saw Karen’s head strike the door out of the corner of his eye. He quickly regained control of the car and slowed to a stop on the shoulder. 

She came up wincing and checked for blood with the palm of her hand before lightly probing her tender scalp with her fingertips. 

“Are you okay?” asked Timothy, concern evident in his tone. 

“I’m alright,” Karen answered, with one more quick check of her fingertips to make sure they were free of blood. “What happened?”

Timothy shook his head. “Blowout,” he answered. “I guess I must have run something over, but I didn’t see anything.” He shrugged. “I’m glad you’re okay, though.”

Karen opened her door just a hair and leaned over to pick up her iPod from the floor next to the seat. “At least you can have music while you change it,” she offered Timothy. She plugged it in and hit shuffle. 

Timothy made a resigned grumble in the back of his mouth and got out to assess the damage. Nothing was bent or broken, and he whistled along to David Guetta as he uneventfully changed the tire. In next to no time at all, he was back behind the wheel, and they were on the road again, driving through the desert on their way to adventure. 

When the sheriff passed by the spot a few minutes later, the only thing to mark their stop was a few footprints on the dust just off the shoulder. 

A third version of this and this

It Was a Dark and Stormy Day

I woke sweating, choking back a scream. It was that damned dream again, about the storm. It was never the same storm, could be summer, winter, spring, but I was always trapped, and I always woke in terror.

My first big move was halfway across the country, to the Midwest, where I found a great apartment in the middle of the city. Not the tallest building, but not nearly the shortest, either, and I was somewhat less than halfway up. But the windows and the view made up for a lot. I could stand on the windowsill and still not touch the ceiling.

I used to spend hours just standing there, gazing out of my windows onto the glory of the city. But a few weeks in, something changed. I’d seen one too many storms building in the distance, and I’d heard one too many anecdotes telling me to head for the hills if i should see colors in the clouds. I started having nightmares.

I had them off and on for years until the day reality smashed me right in the subconscious.

I was headed home, but when I looked off into the distant sky, I saw the telltale signs of bad weather. The clouds were low and dark, and streaked with an ugly shade of doom.

But they weren’t just any clouds; these were the exact clouds of my dreams. I’d seen them dozens of times, in every season. I knew them, knew their movements, knew what was to come.

I broke out in a cold sweat as I began to tremble, nearly losing the shopping bags that I gripped in either hand. I headed straight home. When my feet stopped in the old familiar spot in front of my living room windows, I froze. Yes. This was definitely my dream come to life.

I watched the scene unroll before me, the scene I had witnessed so many times in my sleep. First one landmark, then another obscured by the coming darkness. The panic began to claw at the inside of my chest like a small animal, trapped in a cage, taunted by unruly children.

It broke before me, hammering the windowpane with raindrops and hailstones. I could only stand there, unblinking, waiting for my end to reach me.

But soon enough, it was over, and I swayed where I stood with the emotions coursing through my body. It was over, and I had survived.

I later learned that everyone had survived, that there were no casualties at all from the freak storm.

What else did I have to be thankful for? The reality of the storm had reset my dream machine, and I moved on to other terrors in my sleep, never to witness the storm again.

Casual Friday, Gadding about Storms, and Wed Stories.

A Puncture From A Puncture

The day was long; the road was longer. When Karen scanned the horizon, she though to herself maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Her hair was blowing in the hot desert wind, but a chill went down her spine nonetheless.

Anyone could be out there. Anyone at all. Waiting. Watching.

She pulled her feet back into the car.

Timothy white knuckled the steering wheel, keeping his eyes on the road just ahead of them. He briefly let go to reach for the radio dial, but a news story stopped him.

“Anyone on Highway 51 should be aware of the escaped convict last seen in the area. Don’t stop for anyone. This man is highly dangerous, and has murdered–”

Timothy turned the radio off.

Karen looked to him, fear in her eyes. “We’re on 51, aren’t we?”

Timothy gave a slight nod. “We are, but we’ll have no need to stop, so nothing to worry about.”

They should have finished listening to the bulletin. Timothy struggled with his grip on the wheel as the car veered suddenly to the left, as a tire had just burst and given them a reason to stop.

He tried to reassure Karen that he could change it in minutes, but she gasped and put her hand to her mouth when he pulled the spare from the trunk. It was flat.

“How could this happen? Why didn’t you check the spare?” Karen screamed, her eyes flitting back and forth across the empty plain, searching in vain for something to focus on.

Timothy closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then reached out a hand to steady his girl.

“We’ll be fine. If there’s a wanted man on the loose, the sheriff will be by shortly. We’ll be fine.” He may have been reassuring himself more than Karen.

She caught the uneasy look in his eye as they re-entered their car, locking the doors behind them.

When the sheriff pulled over behind the car, twenty-three minutes later, her blood was still dripping from her outstretched fingers.

Timothy was never found.

A rewrite of this for that.