Maria’s eyes fluttered open, focusing on the interstate rushing by. The radio remained silent, the soft hum of the heater filtering between her and Gale. She wasn’t sure how long they had been driving seeing as she kept slipping in and out of consciousness. The last memory she could recall of her being fully conscious was when she met the man. Gun shots had echoed through the warehouse, a single bullet finding her side. Maria felt an odd pull around the area as she breathed. Stitching most likely. She tried to recall the events that led to the shooting. She had run into Gale on accident. He was annoyed by her presence, threatened her life even. And yet here she sat in his car, stitched up and still alive. But for how long? Men had been yelling in the warehouse about something. It was important enough to kill for.
A leaf slammed into the window, catching her attention. The soft brown edges gleamed as light flashed over the car. The wind pressed the bit of nature flat against the cool glass, drops of rain pattering against the windshield and urging the leaf up. Wasn’t it just like her situation, trapped between a rock and a hard place on the edge of death? Maria cut a sharp glance at Gale, examining the emotionless mask he had plastered over his strong features. The anger she had seen no longer resided in his pale blue eyes.
“So what are you going to do to me once this is all over?” Maria asked, eyes training back onto the leaf sliding up the windshield, leaving a watery trail rippling after. “I don’t know yet,” he responded distantly, glancing in the rear view mirror. She flinched as the leaf ripped violently away from the windshield, leaving a splatter of water in its place. Maria repressed a shudder, her heart beginning to pound in her chest as she worked up her next question, clenching her eyes shut.
“Are you really going to kill me?” Her voice fluttered with her heart as the soft timbre of his voice filled the small space, his answer reluctantly falling from his lips. “Probably.” Maria forced her breath to unhitch from her throat and opened her eyes as the splatter began to bleed into the rain drops, becoming nothing more than a splotch on the glass.
“What will you do then,” she questioned. Silence pressed heavily upon them. Did she say something wrong? Maria cautiously glanced at him, wondering if he was debating on killing her now; Gale stared ahead pensively, jaw clenched. He turned after a moment, eyes piercing her soft gaze. Maria felt her breath still and her eyes widen marginally.
“Disappear. Start over,” he said. Out of the corner of her eye Maria saw the windshield wipers slide over the glass, swiping away any trace of water. Maria broke the gaze, turning her attention to her window. She felt his gaze on the back of her head. “That’s kind of depressing,” she admitted, feeling the heavy press of sleep on her eyelids once more. Gale turned his attention to the road. “It’s all this life has to offer.” Maria attempted to speak, managing two words before slipping back into a fitful sleep. “Not true…”