Hey!! Welcome to 2018!! Let’s hope it’s a hell of a lot better than the year that shall not be named. Anyway, the very first flash fiction for the new year is set around the picture below. So here it is!
Mary Kathryn rolled down the snow covered road, her foot an uneasy companion on the brake pedal. The windshield wipers slapped furiously at the falling snow, but the stuff came down faster than the wipers could manage. The clock on the dash read six-thirty. She should have been at her destination two hours ago. Spend a week up at a beautiful mountain cabin her friends had said. It won’t be a problem at all. It’s so easy to get to. Easy her ass.
She poked at the GPS mounted on the front dash. In a snotty tone he grumbled, “Recalculating.”
“You’ve been recalculating for the last twenty minutes you piece of shit.” Mary Kathryn shouted. “You led me here. I wouldn’t be here, but for your directions. So get me out.”
The only reply was, “Recalculating.”
“I’ll show you recalculating.” She ripped the offending piece of electronics off her dash and hurled it out the window into the snow. “Recalculate that, why don’t you?”
For a moment, she felt good, triumphant, but then realized she’d thrown out her only means of navigation. She had no maps or written directions. She only had an address and it was currently stored inside the GPS that now sat outside the car. Outside in the snow. In the snow that was falling faster than she cared to notice.
“Fuck,” she muttered, bringing the car to a stop. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” She added for emphasis.
Wearily, she put the car in park and climbed out into onto the snowy road. She hadn’t pitched the thing that far, she reasoned with herself, so it should be easy to find. She walked confidently to where she was sure it was and found nothing. She kicked at the snow hoping she would suddenly see black plastic, but it didn’t happen. Frantically, she dropped to her knees and began to comb over the ground. What the hell? One small mistake and she was permanently lost? Never to be found? Until the spring thaw when someone would find her lifeless remains in the middle of the road only mere feet from the damn GPS.
“Please, oh please.” She said as she sifted and dug through snow. “I’ll never curse again. I’ll be polite to people who don’t deserve it. I’ll start eating better and exercising.”
Her hand closed around something small and square. Pulling it forth she discovered her GPS and cradled it to her chest. Okay, she was okay now. Huffing out a breath she climbed to her feet and stumbled back to her car. The snow was falling faster or maybe it just felt like it since she was out in it. Either way, by the time she closed herself back in the car she was wet all the way through and freezing. Ignoring the shivers, she dried the GPS off with a towel and tapped the screen. The thing hesitated only a moment before it came on and told her it was acquiring a satellite signal.
“What? You had a signal. Why do you have to try to acquire one again?”
She laid it on the passenger seat and began the breathing exercises her therapist had given her. Slowly, she pulled a breath in through her nose, held it, and slowly let it out. She tried to imagine calming images such as a roaring fire, waves rolling on a white sand beach, and a cup of hot chocolate. When she felt calmer, she opened her eyes and smiled. Yep, she was fine. Everything was okay.
“Drive to highlighted route,” the GPS directed.
She picked it up to discover no highlighted route shown on the screen, only a series of squiggly black lines that could have been anything from roads to worms.
“What highlighted route?” She demanded.
“Drive to highlighted route,” the voice replied.
“What the fuck!” She shrieked. “There is no highlighted route, you mechanical piece of shit.”
“Drive to highlighted route,” the voice now taunted.
She turned the screen to face the snow storm. “Do you see a fucking highlighted anything? I don’t. I see a big load of nothing. You were supposed to take me where I wanted to go. That’s how our relationship works. I put in the address and you tell me how to get there. But instead, you prattle on about recalculating and highlighted routes. Are you fucking nuts?”
“Drive to highlighted route,” came the snotty reply.
“Bite me.” She tossed the idiot box in the backseat and put the car in gear. Obviously, the thing had some kind of defect so she would just get herself out of the mess it had gotten her into. She gave the car gas and began to once again move down the snow covered road. It had to lead somewhere, right? I mean, no one would have built a road that led to nothing. MK snorted, yeah right, with her luck the thing would lead her right off a cliff. And the damn GPS would still be yelling at her to drive to the highlighted route. Asshead thing.
MK gave the car more gas as it struggled to break through the snow covering the road. She doubted this place ever saw a snow plow. Hell, she doubted it saw people since she hadn’t seen another vehicle in hours or was it days? She wasn’t sure anymore. When…if she ever made it back to civilization, she was going to kill every one of her friends who badgered her to go on this slow trip to hell. So what if her life was boring? So what if she hadn’t dated in so long she couldn’t remember? She had a job she somewhat liked. Okay, tolerated. But it paid the bills and right now that’s what she was looking for. Not some grand adventure. Unfortunately, she’d found the adventure, but she didn’t know how grand it was. Being trapped in a snow storm with no clue where she was or where she was going wasn’t exactly something she had wanted when she’d started out.
She leaned closer to the wind shield as the wipers attempted to keep her vision clear. The snow was falling so hard that even on high the wipers were getting bogged down. She hated to admit it, but if this kept up she was going to have to stop since she wouldn’t be able to see. Then what? She wasn’t sure. Her foot got heavier on the accelerator as if that was going to help things. All it did was make the car shudder and the wheels begin to slide. She eased up only slightly as she continued down her own personal road to Hell. It had to be because she couldn’t think of any other explanation. She couldn’t figure out what she’d done to deserve any of this, but it had to be pretty horrible to warrant this type of abuse.
“In one mile, turn right,” a muffled voice from the backseat proclaimed.
Mary Kathryn started, remembering she’d tossed the GPS back there. One mile? One mile! Yes. All she had to do was stay on the road and she would get to where she was supposed to be. She did a little jig in her seat and leaned even closer to the windshield. Energy surged through her body as she thought about the interminable journey coming to an end. One mile and she could quit the stupid car. One mile and she could relax, crack open the wine she’d brought and drink until she passed out. Life was good.
She didn’t care that the snow was coming down so hard she doubted she could see the right to turn. At this point, she’d walk. She just wanted to sit someplace that didn’t move. She blinked to clear her vision. Only a little longer, she told herself. You can do this. You are woman and you can do anything. She sang about how cool she was as she brought the car to a crawl. The GPS, once an evil piece of crap, now informed her that she would be turning any minute now. She sang to the GPS then, telling it how awesome it was.
With the GPS egging her on, MK slowly began turning the wheel. She couldn’t entertain the thought the thing was wrong or she could be turning off a steep cliff. All she wanted was to reach her destination. That was it. Nothing more, nothing less. With a lurch, the car eased onto what she thought was a road. Since it wasn’t shooting like a rocket down a hill she was happy as she began to straighten the wheel out. From the backseat the voice of doom called out.
“What? I made the turn.”
She took her foot off the gas, but the car kept going. Fortunately, it didn’t go far, just a few feet. Unfortunately, it slid down a small hill until it ran into a large something. The belt snapped her back against the seat and the engine whined. She blinked, unsure of what just happened. One minute she’d been on the road and the next…she wasn’t sure. The airbags hadn’t deployed so that was a positive. The car was also running. Taking a deep, shaky breath she eased the vehicle in reverse and touched the gas. All that did was cause the engine to whine louder and the tires to spin. She was stuck. Well fuck.
“Drive to highlighted route,” the voice prattled from behind her.
Mary Kathryn burst into laughter. Sure she would, just as soon as the snow melted and she could back her car out. She was also planning to get a new GPS since this one obviously had issues. Serious issues. Maybe it needed therapy. Sighing, she shoved her door open and tentative stepped out. Instantly, she dropped down and found herself ass deep in snow. Of course the car would wind up in a snow bank. Where else would it go? She boosted herself back into the car enough to turn the engine off and grab her purse. She wasn’t sure where to go, but she couldn’t stay where she was.
She looped the purse strap over her head until it hung down across her chest and began to slowly wade up to the main road. Or at least she hoped that’s where she was heading. At this point, she didn’t care. She just wanted out. Losing her footing, she yelled out as she fell on her face and slid back down next to her car. She attempted to get to her feet, but with nothing to hold on to, she was once again eating snow. The process of attempting to get up and ending up back on her face went on for a good long time until MK rolled onto her back and screamed as loud as she could. Her frustration level was through the roof and she could understand how someone could finally lose it and do something heinous.
She lay in the snow panting as a voice chimed out, “Please drive to highlighted route.”
“Well fuck me,” she muttered.
“Is that an invitation?” A low male voice inquired.