A Change upon A Road

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.

Paradox

“He’s a pretty smart cat, Andrea,” Jack said.

He sat in front of Paradox shooting a laser pointer at his paws. My cat simply stared at him.

“Yeah, he doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do,” I yelled from the kitchen. I could see Paradox’s tail shifting back and forth like a lazy snake.

Jack shifted on the couch so I could see his moccasin covered foot. “How long have you had him?” He asked.

“Not long,” I said while stirring the noodles. “I got him from a shelter just down the street from here. He looked so lonely.”

“He just keeps staring at me,” Jack’s voice broke.

“Yeah,” I laughed, “he does that.”

With the noodles almost done I turned to the meat sauce. A couple of bubbles rose up. I immediately turned off the stove top, don’t want to over cook anything like last time. Jack would never let me hear the end of it, exclaiming at every party, ‘it was almost inedible’!

“You know, Andrea, I half expect him to jump up and bite off my entire head!” Jack’s flair for the dramatic only paled in comparison to his love of wine.

So, I placed a glass of Merlot on the table in front of him and he immediately forgot his fears.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Jack. Paradox is just a bit odd, that’s all,” I said simply. The big comfy chair next to the fire always belonged to me. I sat cross legged in it like a little kid and gripped my wine between my hands.

“And I just know how much you like things that are odd,” Jack responded. He twisted a little in his seat on the couch giving me a flirtatious flair.

“I guess that’s why I like you so much,” I giggled.

The tea kettle went off, spoiling our moment.

“Why on earth are you making tea?” Jack asked. His little eyebrows knitted together when he was confused. I found it adorable.

“It’s for the sauce. I mix in a tad bit of english breakfast to give it a kick,” I said as I ran to turn off the kettle.

“English breakfast in spaghetti sauce?” He chuckled to himself, “you’re a bit odd too, you know.”

“Yes. I know! See, I like myself, too,” I smiled to myself as I poured the boiling water over the tea bag.

“Oh, hello there Paradox, I didn’t see you move!” Jack started talking to the cat. Right on time too. About thirty minutes into every meal we have Jack begins to treat the cat like it’s a human. Once he even got a little high chair for Paradox to join us for brunch.

“We’ve got about ten minutes ‘till dinner.”

Just then Paradox bit Jack’s head completely off. I ran back into the living room after I heard him scream. A headless man sat on my couch. Blood was everywhere. Paradox sat under the coffee table, a bit of ear poking out of his mouth.

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