A car approaches, sounding like it’s devouring the earth. Like it is something unquenchable.
The heavy carcass of it flies across the ground, bringing with it a burst of wind, hot and heavy with carrion stench. Or maybe that’s just the exhaust.
You watch it come idly and wonder if you should step in front of it, just a little. Stick a foot out and try to break its stride, then laugh, laugh, laugh, as it stumbles.
You want to drag your teeth along its flank, shave some slivers of cherry bright paint off and toss them into your mouth, less for taste and more because you want to take such beauty away from an undeserving thing.
You hate this car because you know it, the seats that cling to your thighs and the smooth glide of the windows all the way down when you’ve only just touched the button. This car has thoughts, it takes initiative. It makes presumptions it has no right to make.
Now, it arrives at last and purrs, engine rumbling low and pleased.
This car loves you because it knows you, your eyes sliding shut in the passenger seat and your face slack in sleep. Your legs crossed impatiently, your lips sardonic and displeased. You have things you never share, places you’ll never go.
Stupid thing. What does it know?
It knows the night like you never will. It knows deer frozen, waiting on stick thin legs to be broken. It knows racing the moon and only losing because it must go home. It knows no fear at the gas station at two in the morning, just eager hunger, eyeing the bin with the windshield cleaners and hoping for a few quick passes while you hunch with your keys spiked from your fingers, near tears because you’ve fumbled your credit card onto the floor.
It knows that night like you never will.
The car loves you so it folds around you, cushions you like silk pillows, imprisons you like steel bars.
It tries to love her too, but in the end it loves you more. And the deer is so close and she twists the wheel just right so in the end it is her crumpled form beneath a furry body, beast and girl, crowned in glittering shards of glass, two become one in a now holy seat. And you, unbowed, unbent, unbroken, eyes closed, face slack, waiting for dawn.
The car remains still, lets liquid soak into its fabric—more than that. It drinks the sickly sweet offering like a god and this, this is what you cannot forgive. In her dying moments the car does nothing but take.
When you wake in the sterile room, alone and groggy and asking, “where is she?,” they say nothing at first.
She is still on that road, in the car, under the running moon. If they do not answer you that is where she is. If they answer you she is in the hospital too only she is still in her torn clothes, no time to change them because she is feeding the surgical table now, watering metal with her life except at least it’s polite enough to know better, to let her blood pool on its surface because it is not for it, it is not for anyone to have but her.
You are wearing the gown, you know. The one that all of the debutantes wear, the congratulations, welcome to the world of the living gown.
She is not.
So when you part for the last time you are no longer the same, you wake clean and healed and she sleeps dirty and bleeding and
You keep asking.
When they finally tell you, your car becomes that-fucking-car-I-never-want-to-see-again. But that’s a mouthful and your anger is impatient so soon it is just that car. Then, despite your best efforts, the car. The only car there is.
Cherry red and thirsty, a corpulent shrine, beating along the road like an open heart.
The car loves you.
You want to gut it with the ribs from your own chest.
fia meng reads too much. her nails are currently black and so her cat.