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Tyler Carter

I said “I don’t know why you ever would lie to me, but I’m a little untrusting when I think the truth is going to hurt you.”  I looked up at her briefly, and left the house.

It was a cool night in November.  I hopped on my bike and drove off without a predetermined destination.  I could feel the night air pass through me.  The low purr of my vehicle was the only sound audible in the still air.   The wind kissed my face, and I opened my mouth to taste it-  it was smooth, almost sweet.  The road stretched out before me, poorly lit by a single headlight.  The moon was out that night and the twilight illuminated the surrounding trees.  I slipped into a dream; awake, but distant from reality.  The landscape dropped off behind me, as if I was being chased by the edge of the Earth.  Hours passed in minutes, while the stars danced a tango in the heavens.  The sky resembled a back lit canopy with tiny holes in it.

I reached a bridge at the first hint of daylight.  I stopped and looked about.  Next to the bridge was a waterfall, loud and disorienting and throwing up so great a mist from the river it created that engulfed the bridge in a damp haze.  An old man was standing on the side of the bridge, looking down at the cloud at the base of the waterfall.   He wore a dark green poncho that nearly camouflaged him, and I hardly noticed him until he turned around.  I could not see his eyes because the hood of his poncho covered the top half of his face, but I had guessed his age by his poor posture.  He slowly raised a hand and I heard a bang.  The last thing I remember is feeling the water close in around me, and then black.

I awoke on the side of the river rested on black rocks, my vision flooded with sunlight.  I lay there, wondering how I got down that metaphoric rabbit hole, when something caught my eye.  I felt my clothes, heavy and wet, and found a hole in my shirt, just below my collarbone, about the size of a penny.  I stood up and looked around.  Past a few trees was a small cabin.  I scrambled to my feet and ran over to the dwelling.   There was a face in the window, and by the time I reached it, the door was open and a soft face smiled at me.

“Well, hello there,” the soft face said.  “I don’t suppose you’re hungry?”  The woman was young and talked slowly.  She went on to explain that she had company a few hours earlier, but had made much too much food for the crowd, and had more leftover than she know what to do with.  She kindly led me inside and sat me at a low metal table.  The cabin was essentially a large kitchen with a bed in one corner.  The kind woman procured a plate and placed a sandwich before me.

At this point, my body was screaming at me.   Stop, it pleaded.   No more, it begged.   Slow down, it told me.   That cabin was everything I wanted at that moment: shelter, food, a bed, even a warm smile. Somehow it seemed too good to be true.

A moment later, I rolled over.  It was still dark, and my body ached.  I squinted through the hazy darkness.  Several feet away I saw something shiny.  Again I felt my clothes.  I was bruised and beaten, and my clothes were soiled and torn.  I crawled over to the shiny object to find my motorcycle bent to pieces in a puddle of gasoline.   Then, I walked home.

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