The pale blue car sat parked along the side of the highway. Jane sat quietly staring out the window. Her hands held tightly to the steering wheel. The mountains around her, while originally her favorite destination, loomed like judges in great red wigs.
“I won’t do it.” She said to herself. “I won’t do it at all.”
Something deep in her brain pushed its way to the foreground. A voice, much like the childish voice she once used to mock her step-mother, started to speak.
“You loser, you uncanny loser. You have to do it.”
The voice stopped. Jane closed her eyes. She took three deep breaths. Opening her eyes she saw the long highway stretch even further out before her.
“See how long that road is ahead?” The voice resumed, she shut her eyes tightly not allowing in any light. “You can’t go down that long hot dilly dallying road. Take the next exit.”
Jane swallowed and turned her head to look out her window again. The red mountains stared back at her. A few cacti lingered useless in the valley.
“Maybe if you had gone to boarding school like Deborah wanted. Maybe you’d be a better person. Maybe you would have made it into med-school. Maybe you would have been the person you dreamed you’d be.”
“No.” Jane said, against the voice in her mind. “No, that’s not true.” She shook her head violently.
“Isn’t it?” The voice continued, “Isn’t it the worst – how no one respects you, that you have to drive all the way from Manhattan Island to San Diego, wishing you had friends?”
“You’re wrong. You’re wrong!” She screamed, her voice becoming real to her, “You’re wrong!”
“You know I’m right! You know it! Know it! Know it!” The voice took over her mind, extinguishing the other kinder voice.
She cried aloud, “I just wanted to see the pacific ocean, and live in the west for a while.”
The voice screamed, reverberating inside her skull, “you’re boring! Anyone can have that dream. Can’t you move beyond the thoughts of others, be original?!”
Jane started crying. She put her hands on her face to hide from the mountains. The voice laughed in her head.
Now that her hands had moved from the steering wheel Jane’s whole body began to move. Running out of the car the voice’s laughter trailed behind her. She undid the gas cap, then went back into her car and found her matches.
“Then I don’t need you,” she said.
The car burned in front of her for several minutes before she turned to look at the smoky road. Glancing around at the mountains she bowed down to them, then started walking.