Backroads: Chapter 1

I sat on the porch swing drumming my fingers against the arm as I stared off into the road. I was irritated, they were late, again. They, would be my friends, Carter, Alan, and Jackson. They’re my best friends, been my best friends for years now. We all went to the same Highschool, and by some weird miracle and the common interest of sexy men we became close friends. Carter Smith the football teams star player, class clown and school heart throb. Jackson DuBoise, pronounced de-bwah, the class president and resident genius, knowing the answer to everything, but never throwing it in your face. Alan Schroder kind of the “Fonzi” of the group for all intents and purposes, refusing to follow the popular crowd he marches to his own beat, I kind of envy him for it. Than there’s me, Abernathy Ross, all I really have going for me is my obsession with books, theater, and writing well. That and I have maybe a thousand useless talents.

Anyways the point is we’ve been friends for years now, and I love them. They’re my family. I would never trade them in for anything but they aren’t as in tune with keeping a plan like I am. Anyways, that’s how I find myself sitting here waiting for their sorry asses, again. I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket, dialed Alan’s cell and waited. It rang six times and I was about to hang up when Alan finally picked up. He was laughing his ass off, Jackson was laughing in the background and Carter was yelling something that sounded suspiciously like “Hey sexy we can give you a ride you won’t forget.” He continued laughing and as his laughs began to subside, than he spoke. “Hey Abernathy whats up?”

I couldn’t help but smile at the antics that they were in the middle of and decided to take the piss out of them a little. “So is that the reason you assholes are late, you guys are trying to get your mother fucking rocks off.” This made him laugh harder. “We are down the road and will be there in five minutes, chill out.” I rolled my eyes. “Well move your asses, you guys said ten, its ten thirty now.” I heard Carter on the other side again “Is he bitching about us being late?” Alan said “Shhh…” than Jackson’s voice came “I TOLD you that he would get mad. We should have just called him and told him, it would have taken five seconds.” They argued some more and as they did I saw the car pulling down the road. Carters baby an Escalade Platinum, in “Raven Black” as Carter once stressed, the car was his baby and he had saved up years of paychecks to buy it.

The second I saw the car I hung up, what was it about my friends that made me love them and at the same time want to choke the life right out of them. I stood up and grabbed my bags and trudged off the Porch. “Open the back” I said as Carter rolled down his window and peered out. “YEAH shake that ass.” He shouted at me as I walked to the back of the truck, I rolled my eyes and opened the back. I tossed my bag into the back and went to the backseat passenger side door.

The car was already littered with trash, pillows and blankets, books, and magazines and other various items that one would find in a car in the middle of a road trip. The confusion came from my knowledge that they had only been driving for maybe an hour so far. “What the hell, Carter you didn’t clean out your car before getting on the road?” He chuckled at my statement and rolled his eyes. “Yes I did, but we got breakfast on they way.” I stared at him for a second. “You got food without me, oh you mother fucker.” I said irritated as I climbed into the car and shutting the door. Carter simply smirked at me and handed me a McDonalds bag. “You really think we’d forget about you.” I took the bag and simply chuckled, the rush of blood in my face more than obvious. Carter was always like that. Not only was he quite possibly one of the most attractive men that may have graced this planet, but he was so sweet that he made sugar taste like salt.

To give you an idea of just how fine Carter is, picture this, 6’0, 175lbs of pure rippling muscle. Dirty blonde hair cut short and spiked, pale blue eyes, and one of the widest most infectious smiles in existence. He was the envy of every Abercrombie and Fitch model, well that’s what we said at least. Than there was Jackson, short light brown hair on the edge of being dirty blonde as well, his eyes were blue too but they were closer to gray most of the time, average build, and one of the sweetest smiles you could ever come across. Alan had short dark brown hair, bright green eyes, thin build but well defined, he wasn’t hulking muscle like Carter was, but I still knew better than to fuck with him when it came to displays of physical strength. It helped that he stood at an intimidating 6’4, I am 5’10 I’m sure you can picture it. Me, well my looks are kind of plain, I think. Medium length strawberry blonde hair, skinny build but not border lining on anorexic. My eyes are a light brown and almost always framed by my glasses.

I opened the bag and pulled out the breakfast plate that they got me, I don’t eat those disgusting breakfast sandwiches that McDonalds tries pushing. Just the ideas of those breakfast sandwiches disgusts me. I popped the plate open and began to inhale my breakfast. It didn’t take too long to finish the breakfast plate, they don’t put too much on those plates to begin with. With me being as ravenous as I was it took even less time than was normal. When I was done and took my eyes off my plate, I looked up to wide eyed faces. “WHAT!?” Alan was the one that spoke. “We just handed you that. You took half a minute. Did you not eat something when you woke up?” “NO, you jackasses were supposed to be here half an hour ago. I woke up at nine thirty, I only had enough time to shower.” That was when Jackson turned to Carter. “See we should have called him.” Carter just rolled his eyes and shook his head. He pulled the car out and we were on our way.

We drove through town, Mooresville, North Carolina to give you an exact location, and we just talked like always, catching up. We hadn’t been going to the same school for a while now. Carter had graduated from High School two years ago and was going to a school two cities away. Alan followed him a year later and went to the same school. Jackson and I graduated this year and where both planning to go to the same school as well, but we still had yet to hear back. I was certain Jackson would get in, me well my grades weren’t the best, but they weren’t the worst and it wasn’t an Ivy League school so I wasn’t doubtful I would get in.

We talked about everything, people we tried dating. Alan and Carter had the most to talk about in that department really. College was more romantically and sexually free than High School. It pissed me off but it’s a reality homosexuals have to deal with, gay men more so than gay women. The whole lesbian love thing is more widely accepted, because it’s every straight mans fantasy to see two chicks making out. Yet another frustrating factoid that just gets my goat. We talked about school, of course Carter and Allan had more interesting topics there too. We talked about jobs, another topic Carter and Allan kicked our asses on. Still it didn’t matter, it wasn’t a competition they seemed just as interested in our contributions as we were with theirs.

Soon though we ran out of things to talk about, important and inane, and we fell into a calm silence in which each of us occupied ourselves with something to pass the time. Carter was driving so of course he already had his hands full with that. Alan occupied himself with his PSP he was playing Mortal Kombat and he was honestly kicking ass. Jackson read one of the twenty books that he had littering the back seat. I just occupied myself with my iPod and the outside scenery that we passed. It entranced me, watching the outside shift from valley to hills, hills to lakeside, and lakeside to desert. I stared out into the infinite landscape, focusing in and out as I often did.

We drove for what felt like another two hours before Carter spoke up again. “Hey you guys I need to get Gas. Next gas station I’m stopping okay.” We all simply nodded in acknowledgment. It was gonna be nice to stretch our legs out a little and I needed to pee like nobodies business. We pulled into a rinky dink gas station with a name that no one would know and glowing yellow and green neon signs that flickered and buzzed. All of us got out, each one of us stretching and yawning by our open doors. To anyone watching us I’m sure it would have looked synchronized. I closed my door first and made my way into the tiny station. Actually tiny isn’t a good word, microscopic was closer. There was one fridge in the back and maybe two aisles of candy, chips and other junk foods. The cashier was behind the counter and a plastic divider, well it looked plastic it was more likely bullet proof glass. I walked up to the guy at the counter, he was a balding man and his stringy grease ridden hair fell past his chin but not quite to his shoulders. His eyes were wild and he was frowning. “Marlboro Smooth’s and the bathroom key please.” I asked passing a twenty under the glass. He turned around in a jerky fashion and handed me the pack under the glass. I quickly realized I didn’t have a lighter with me so I asked “A lighter too please.” He nodded to me in the same jerky fashion. Rang me up and passed my change, lighter and a key with a rabbits foot key-chain under the glass back to me.

I was about to leave when he said in a raspy nearly angry tone. “Bathroom is round back at the end of the lot.” As he spoke his eyes twitched slightly and gave me the creepiest feeling ever. “Yeah gotcha, I’ll remember to bring the key back.” I said half running out of the station, that guy was too creepy for words. I shuddered as I walked around the station and headed to the back of the lot.

The back of the stations lot was nothing more than open pavement and a small hut type structure lit by a single street lamp from the left side giving the structure a creepy shadowed look. It was twenty feet wide from where I stood and had two doors on opposite ends of each other. One door had a little white stick man on it, the other had a little white stick woman, both visible from where I was. I walked to the restroom door, inserted the key and turned. I tried to pull the door open softly but apparently the door was just a touch too big for the frame and was stuck. So I pulled harder and the door flew open. I was bombarded by the strongest smell of ammonia and it almost made me gag from it’s suddenness and its intensity. I had to turn around and walk away, desperately needing fresh air.

I gasped and gagged, making retching noises as I desperately scrambled for my equilibrium again. I stood there hunched over gasping for more and more fresh air. I looked at the open doorway and saw that the inside was black as night. “Give it a few minutes, let it air out.” I said to myself and shuddered. I pulled my cigarettes out and packed them quickly before opening the pack and taking my first cigarette out. I lit the cigarette without difficulty, it helped it wasn’t too windy out here. Taking a long slow drag from the cigarette the taste of mint and tobacco cascaded its way across my taste-buds and smoke began to fill my lungs as the first whispers of the coming buzz began to take hold. I felt instantly more relaxed, as I eased my tensed stance and stood in a more relaxed position.

I paced in a small circle as I continued to smoke my cigarette, the wind picked up slightly. It rolled across my skin softly, it was cool when it blew and was soaked in the smell of rain. I turned my head to the black sky and sure enough saw rolling clouds slowly curling themselves across the sky above me. I tossed the spent cigarette to the ground and stomped it out. Looking back at the open door way I took a deep breath and covered my nose and mouth with my shirt, thank god all I had to do was pee. Walking in it was obvious that the bathroom wasn’t kept. Their were so many unidentifiable incendiary stains on the walls, counters and urinals. Had the smell not been so certain I would not have been able to identify it’s source.

Not wanting to step too close to the urinal for fear of contracting some unknown backwoods sexual disease that could only be cured by removing the infected appendage. I did my business from a foot away and only stepped as close as necessary when I had to. Not bothering washing my hands since there was no soap, in fact there weren’t even soap dispensers. I hurried out of the bathroom grabbing the key from the door and left it hanging open, it was a service to whoever may need to use it later on.

I walked back to the car keeping my hands in the air as if I was being held up at gunpoint. I yelled to Carter who stood by the pump “Did you bring any hand sanitizer, please tell me you did.” Carter looked at me inquisitively. He saw my hands and started to laugh. “Hey Jackson toss the princess her Purell.” Jackson came over to me and poured some of the sanitizer into my hand. “Thank you Jackson.” To which Carter gave me a shocked look of disbelief “What the fuck about me?” I turned and walked back to the station pulling the keys out of my pocket. As I walked I called over my shoulder “What about you, Princess?” I stressed the last bit a little. I could see Carter roll his eyes as he took the pump out of the truck and put it back against the stand.

I pulled the door open quickly and walked back to the counter with the creepy attendee. I placed the bathroom key on the counter and pushed it under the glass. He took it back quickly nearly scraping the skin of my finger off with the key. “Don’t dawdle for the next fifty or so miles and don’t stop in the next town, the dead live there. It doesn’t do well for the living to mingle with the dead.” He said ominously to me in his scratchy voice. “Yeah, okay.” Was all that I could respond with, he stared me down with his wild eyes and said. “Don’t stop till you get to the city.” I just nodded and began backing to the door my eyes fixed on him. I was ready to run if he moved for anything behind the counter. It was than that his eyes moved to looking outside, I followed his gaze and saw a black impala screeching into the stations lot. “Go now, don’t stop till you get to the city.” he said urging me out. I stood there wide eyed not able to imagine what the hell was wrong with this guy. He seemed to get irritated by my reaction to his insanity and shouted to me “GO.”

The barking remark rang in my head as I speedily walked back to the SUV and passed by the Black Impala. There were a bunch of guys in there, on a road trip like we were I assumed. One was obviously older late thirties, or early forties and he stood outside filling the tank. He was 6’3 wide shouldered and built like an Ox. Pitch black buzz cut hair sat atop his head he had silver side burns, the only real sign of his age and the reason I had guessed what I did. He turned and looked me in the eye and I was taken by the piercing Ice-Blue color that they were. He seemed to stare into the heart of me, scrutinizing my soul. He looked to the car and than back at me with increased interest. I glanced through the windshield into the car and saw four other sets of eyes on me.

This unnerved me further and I walked faster to the car Carter, Alan, and Jackson waited for me. I felt there eyes on me as I walked to the car, opened the door, and buckled in. I ventured a glance back at the car and ol’ blue eyes still stared, obviously uncaring of who was watching. I shuddered slightly and told Carter “Drive.” With that we roared out of the lot and away from the creeptacular crowd. I turned and stared back and blue eyes still stared after the car, it almost felt like he was staring right at me, that was impossible though. Still I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was staring at me specifically.

“Abernathy, what in the hell took you so god damn long.” Carter said in an ever so slightly raised voice breaking me out of my reverie. I looked at him and he was staring at me through the mirror, Jackson who had moved to the front passenger side was turned around in his seat, and Alan was staring at me as well. “Uh, nothing. I just took a while sorry.” Carter let out a sigh of dissatisfaction and Jackson turned around and continued reading his book, Alan went back to his video game and I put my headphones in and continued to stare off into nothingness whilst I daydreamed.

I don’t know when I feel asleep, but it had to have been right after we left the gas station. The dream was hazy, I was between awake and asleep which made everything from the outside come into the dream with me. I sat in a bar sipping a dark red drink, Ol’ Blue Eyes was my bartender and we were smiling and laughing lightly. The bar was dark and youthful while at the same time bright and sophisticated. It accommodated the largely diverse crowd within perfectly. With its stainless steel tables and counter tops, black leather stools and couches, and the vertical wall hanging lamps made into geometric shapes that cast a soft dull yellow glow throughout the room. Everyone in the room was having a fun time laughing and chatting, much like I was with the bartender. We talked but had no conversation, that is we were speaking but I wasn’t able to hear what was being said in the dream, but my dream self did and laughed at everyone one of blue eyes’ jokes and jests. Being deaf to my own dream was just a tad frustrating. I felt myself blush a few times here and their at comments blue eyes made. Which frustrated me even more that I couldn’t hear the conversation being had. What was more frustrating was that I heard music playing, as well as the rest of the crowds jumbled conversations, it was the conversation I was having and only that one that I didn’t hear.

I took a sip of my drink and was taken back by the amazing flavor of it, it was sweet but balanced by a slight bitter taste. It was warm to the touch but went down slightly cool. It wasn’t too thick that it made my mouth feel coated in some foreign ingredient, but it wasn’t so thin that my thirst wasn’t satisfied by the sip I had taken. After taking the slightest taste, that left me with the most amazing response, I looked at the drink to better get a feel for it and maybe discover what it was. It was in a martini glass a stem that was bent into a slight zig-zag. The liquid was a dark, opaque crimson color and it looked like a very thick drink. It had small bubbles scattered across its surface. Not any kind of drink that I was familiar with, than again I had never been to a bar so I didn’t really expect to know what I was drinking.

I was distracted by blue eyes again, and we continued to talk and laugh, but we were cut short when the doorway to the entrance opened up and a woman walked in. Her walk was pure liquid sex, every movement made you want her. She hypnotized a room without needing to speak or look anyone in the eyes. Her chocolate brown hair was in a tight up-do and she wore a black silk sheath that left almost nothing to the imagination the way it hugged and caressed her like a lover would. Her hazel eyes fixed on blue eyes and she walked up and stood right next to me and began to speak to blue eyes and from their faces and movements she was talking to him in a friendly fashion.

Despite her attractiveness the whole room went rigid with her presence all eyes were on her and blue eyes. I looked through the crowd and found three familiar faces, Carter sat in the far left corner of the room his arm draped over a guy who was maybe 17, he had dark brown hair, full pouty lips and dark brown eyes, and he wore a worried look as he stared on with Carter. Jackson was at the opposite end of the bar, a young man who was so thin he made a stick bug look thick. His eyes, like the woman’s were hazel, but his were softer and kinder than hers could hope to be. His dark brown hair was cut in a style that I could only describe as emo, but that’s not a bad thing. On him it was a damn near fantastic thing honestly. Alan was to my right over by a pair of pool tables that were almost set right up against the far wall. He stood there watching the woman like he was about to attack her, his eyes flickered from me to her and he looked ready to kill. It was almost as if he couldn’t believe she had the nerve to get as close to me as she had been.

I was jerked out of my musings by a hand falling onto my shoulder, it turned me around and my eyes were fixed on the eyes of the woman. She was noticeably different in appearance now, her eyes were no longer hazel, they were a shade of red the was two shades away from black. She smiled at me in a wicked way her lips rolling back revealing long, sharp, sinister looking fangs. She said my name but the voice that came out could not have been her voice, in fact it sounded like Alan. She said my name again and began shaking me softly at first and than harder and harder, than blue eyes jumped over the bar to help me when she slammed her mouth fangs and all into my neck. The pain was unbearable, and the world started to go fuzzier and fuzzier, my sight began to go black.

I jumped in my seat flying forward slightly and before I registered anything, a terrified shriek passed between my lips and echoed through the car. It took me several minutes to calm down and really register where I was again. I was panting slightly and a light film of sweat covered my skin from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. I looked around, the car was empty all except for me. My door stood ajar and Alan stood there looking at me like I had just projectile vomited pea soup or something. “Hey, are you okay?” Alan said softly reaching out to me as if half scared I might start screaming again. I just nodded, still taken back by the dream I had. The woman’s face was seared into the back of my eyes, and if my eyes shut long enough I could recall her every detail.

“Okay, uhm we stopped for the night. We’re all tired and we made some good progress today.” Alan said in a soft soothing tone. This brought me to the attention of the motel we were parked at. It was a LaQuinta so it wasn’t anything special. Carter bellowed in a jovial manner over Alan’s shoulder “Yeah we keep going like we did today we’ll be in Orange County before you know it. Whats the point of a Road trip if you aren’t on the road most of the time. Anyways Jackie and I are gonna room together and you and Alan have the room next to us.” All I did was nod and jump out of the car. We all grabbed our smaller travel bags and made our way to the rooms. We said good night quickly, and went into the rooms Alan turned on the TV, he wasn’t tired yet and I needed to calm down from the dream I had.

The room was cool in comparison to the outside, which was muggy and increasingly warm. There were two beds against the right side wall. On the left side there was a T.V and a table and chair. All the way at the back of the room was a large vanity running the length of the wall, two sinks, a make up mirror hanging off the wall, beneath it a hair dryer. Alan tossed his duffel bag on top of the bed closest to the door and I walked to the bed closest to the bathroom. I sat down with a sigh, I felt tired but there was no reason for me to be. It was that feeling of being weighed down, but there was nothing on your back. “I’m gonna set up my computer real quick, check e-mail and what not. If you need to charge your iPod just plug it in okay.” I nodded and smiled at him, he was always doing small things like that for me.

I decided now would be an opportune time to take a shower, Alan always bathed in the mornings, but I had to bathe at night. I never liked going to bed when I felt grungy, call it a complex. I took my PJ’s into the bathroom and locked the door, not for any real reason other than it was drummed into my head to lock the door when you use the bathroom. I turned the water on and let it roll through my fingers as I gauged whether or not it hot enough. When the temperature was right, I stripped off all my clothes and stepped into the shower. The feel of the water on my skin was like being wrapped in a warming essence it was soft and un-obtrusive, but still powerful in the feeling that it left behind. I felt the muscles within me relax and ease themselves. I didn’t realize how tense I had been until I felt myself relax a little. I sat there in the hot water for what seemed like hours but was probably mere minutes. As I stepped out of the tub I grabbed one of the white motel bath towels and began to dry myself off. My skin had turned a light shade of pink, and at the right angle I could perceive steam rising off of me like a soft hazy white flame, that ghosted its way from the surface of my skin and danced out into the open air. I stood their gazing at the bare skin catching random glimpses of the vapors rising off of me.

I heard the T.V turn on in the room outside, it brought me back to reality and with a soft sigh I stood and finished drying myself off. I put my P.J’s on and emerged from the bathroom. Alan was on his bed, already situated for sleep, and was flipping through the various channels on the T.V searching for something he would watch, if I ventured to guess. He looked up at me and smiled widely, he could be such a dork when he wanted to be. I think I smiled back, if I did it had to have been small because I never felt the muscles stretch. I turned to the vanity and counter top and began furiously brushing my teeth. After a few minutes I smiled widely and inspected them turning my head from side to side, scrutinizing my work. I ran my tongue slowly across the front and back surfaces of the top and bottom rows of my teeth they felt smooth which meant they were as clean as I was getting them. I filled one of the hotel glasses with water and popped a few Tylenol PM. I had a headache and I didn’t want to run the risk of dreaming of that woman again and anytime I took Tylenol PM I didn’t dream.

I crossed to my bed and pulled the covers back sliding in and switching off my bedside lamp. Alan looked over at me and asked in a soft voice “Ready for bed?” I just nodded to him, I felt the drug I had taken already taking its affect. My eyelids were heavy and the scenery became hazy. I was only able to discern the T.V getting turned off and the room going completely dark before my eyes closed and my mind was far from the world of reality.

The morning came quicker than I thought it would, the sun was shining through the thin divide between the curtains. It was like a dream the dust in the air making the daylight seem like a golden aura. I sat up with a soft groan and faintly recognized the sound of water running. I stood and crossed to the Vanity I brushed my teeth quickly and got dressed and ready for the day to come. A knock came and I opened the door to a wide eyed and excited Carter. “Hey you guys ready yet, Jackson and I have been up for the last two hours.” I glanced at the clock which read nine a.m “Carter you and Jackson have been up since seven, we didn’t even get to the motel till one. What the hell man.” He was so eager that he was starting to bounce up and down and that was when I realized. “Carter, how much coffee have you had?” I asked as he pushed passed me and into the room. He looked around and seemed confused for a second before he seemed to have heard the running water like I had earlier. He went over to the door and began to bang on the door. “Hey Alan move your ass we need to get on the road already.” That was when Jackson came into the room. “CARTER you said you wouldn’t bug them while I was getting breakfast.” I turned to him and glared at him a little. He saw my face and immediately knew what I was thinking. “Hey he snuck out before I woke up and bought a jug of coffee. By the time the smell of coffee woke me up he had three cups.”

All I could do was sigh, and look at Carter as he practically bounced from wall to wall, floor to ceiling. “Is there any coffee left?” I asked looking at Jackson with a pleading face. If I was about to deal with Carter when he was high on caffeine I would need a fix myself. As if he new exactly what I would need he passed me a very large cup of coffee, he even made it the way I liked it, five sugars and two creamers. I looked at him and before I could ask he said “Yes we have gotten coffee together that much.” I chuckled to myself and went to sit on my bed.

The bathroom door opened wide and steam billowed out, Alan emerged quickly with nothing more than a towel wrapped around his waist. I’m sure I looked like comedy gold at that moment. He was a god in humans clothing, well that’s what I thought at the moment. His skin glistened with a light film of water still gracing his skin, his pectoral muscles and ab muscles were defined but not obvious. His mop of dark brown hair hung seductively in clumped strands over his emerald green eyes. His pink lips seemed fuller than they had been before. I sat there slack jawed and didn’t snap out of it until I moved in such a way that I spilled hot coffee on my hands. “Shit, ow.” I heard Alan lightly snicker, shit why was I such a cornball. “Carter if you give me ten minutes we’ll be able to leave, but I need to get dressed so shoo.” He said and made a slight shooing motion with his hand.

Without missing a beat I handed my coffee back off to Jackson and grabbed my bag off the bed. I was out of the room first and I am sure that I was some shade of bright pink. I practically ran to the car my strides were so long, Jackson was in a light jog just to keep up. Carter with his long ass legs was keeping up with me no problem. As we got to the car he opened the back again and I tossed my bag in. “Shotgun.” I said before Jackson could even think about it. “Awww come on I barely had any time in the front last night, it wasn’t even fifteen minutes.” This shocked me a little, fifteen minutes was that all it was last night. The dream seemed so long, I thought I had been out for hours. “Was that all it was, I was only asleep for fifteen minutes.” I said in a soft whisper. Carter and Jackson just looked at me with identical wicked smiles. “What!?” Carters smile widened “We saw you ogling Alan like a horny gay catholic school boy.” I felt the heat rise to my cheeks, god it was bad enough that I was a corndog, but an obvious one at that. They were never going to let me live this down, the bastards. They began giggling like gossiping cheerleaders and all I could do was sigh in frustration there was no point in denying it.

I didn’t notice Alan leave the motel room. I was only aware of his presence when his hand was over my shoulder with my iPod in it. “You left that in the room.” he said in his slightly husky rustic voice. When the hell did Alan become so fucking sexy. I think I may have muttered a soft thanks as I took my iPod back. I was roughly aware of Carter saying that he was gonna take the room keys back to the teller and Alan deciding to go with him. By the time I had brought myself back from the haze that Alan’s presence gave me I was in the backseat and Jackson was in the front passenger seat. “HEY, no fair you jerk.” He erupted in raucous laughter and just looked at me with amused eyes. “You’re so easy to manipulate when you turn into breathing jell-o.” I glared at him. “I am going to find a way to kill you, just you wait.” he rolled his eyes at me and shook his head. “You should go for it you know, I think Alan would be receptive.” My eyes bulged at his very forward approach. “THERE IS NOTHING TO GO FOR JACKSON.” He quirked an eyebrow at my reaction “Is that the story your going with Abernathy?” I nodded and crossed my arms over my chest “And I’m sticking to it.” He shook his head and opened his second book for this trip.

We sat in silence for what could have only been five minutes, when Alan climbed into the back with me and the heat returned to my cheeks. What the hell was wrong with me, it was just Alan. Carter climbed in a started the car. “That was weird.” they said in unison. Jackon and I looked at them with curious eyes and Carter was the first to say anything. “The woman at the front desk was talking about there being nothing but towns of the dead for the next fifty miles.” He said and shrugged his shoulder. Jacksons eyes lit up with excitement “Ghost towns, we have to stop in one. I’ve never been to a ghost town before, that would be so cool.” Carter shrugged, which was the signal for ‘yeah whatever’. I put my headphones in my ears as we pulled out of the parking lot. There was something that unnerved me about it all, first the guy at the gas station, now this. It was all just a little too creepy.

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