Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In the Darkness

     Thick, deep darkness. There were so many words to describe it. At times, when he had found no other item to amuse him, he would resort to finding words that fit. Pitch black. Unholy. It was a game he played alone as he sat. The hours between the sun's setting and its rising were his and his alone, shared only by the sound produced by the disc in the radio, and the hum of the engine.

     She sat in the passenger side seat as always. Her position varied. One night she might be resting with her head against the window, others her head might lay on his lap, his hand occasionally finding its way to her hair, dark as the night that surrounded them. On rare occasions she might lean the seat back and stretch out for the sake of being comfortable. Tonight her head was against the window. One might almost have thought she was simply staring out into the nothingness, but he knew far better than they did. This was his time, and she was perfectly content to allow him such.

     Her shift began come the rising of the sun and stretched until it was high into the sky. That was when it was his turn to sleep. When the time came for their shifts to change, he would pull over, exit, and stretch. She would do the same. As they both passed by the front of the vehicle, they would embrace for a short moment, before returning to it on the opposite side that they had left, and the other would begin the long drive forward while the former holder of that position slept.

     She loved the morning. It was a time of things springing forth from a deep slumber to live again, a time of fresh air, and a time of beauty. Her eyes would flick lazily around, taking in whatever they happened to be passing by. Depending on where they were she might have to squint through some early morning haze, or an early morning rainstorm, but that mattered not. These variations contributed to her love of the time. There was nothing more soothing. He could understand such, but after having experienced the night before he was better off sleeping through it. This was her time and he was perfectly content to allow her such.

     When midday came around, he would stir. They would stop at some place suitable, exit the vehicle, and prepare a short meal. When it was finished, they would resume their previous positions, her driving, and continue on. This was their shared time and could never compare to their affairs with the night or the morning. Despite what such a schedule may imply, they found no better joy than taking in their surroundings as a pair.

     Some days they would sit in quiet, elbows resting against the console, hands held, watching the world around them pass by. Others they would converse over the older uses of such places, among other topics. Matters complex as philosophy flowed forth at times, and at others, thoughts on something as simple as when they might come across another settlement, deserted or not.

     Their possessions consisted of few items. That which they needed; fuel for months, food for much longer than that, and parts in case of an accident. That which they could use for entertainment; CDs, cassette tapes, and books. And each other. They rarely worried or dwelled on when any such thing would run dry. When the time came for them to stop, they would stop, in one way or another.

     They encountered no one. There had been no one to encounter as far as they knew for some time. The last settlement with people in it they had passed had been weeks ago. They had stopped to speak and chat. Such an small thing had been an enthralling occurence as they spent hours there, speaking. Simple things were mighty now.

     There was no destination, simply a direction. Forward. There were no rules on which path they took, so long as they never allowed themselves to be swayed in turning backwards. The only exception to this was in such occasions in which there was no other option. At times their bearing was south, and other times west. Landscape changed as they traveled. The number of days that had passed since before was uncountable to them. There was no need to count, as the number of days behind them might as well be as endless as the number of days before them.

     As far as they were concerned, they were the only ones left in each other's world, until proven otherwise. The only thing they could do is hope that should they be proven wrong, that such a time be pleasant. Beyond that, everything else was gone. There was the world around them, and each other. Everyone else was had gone away some time ago.

     Cities had fallen, empires and governments with them. Their people for the most part had passed, as had their time. An inevitable end, foreseen in one way in another by fiction or those willing to believe such things could be true. The details no longer mattered.

     In their wake, nature returned, triumphant in a battle many liked to claim it never was fighting. Since it was nature's world once again, it was nature's place to make laws, and decide what such a place should appear, and in some long standing court that no one human could understand, it ruled that mankind's mark should be removed over time. Lost to the ages and reclaimed in the name of nature. Slow as it had been, nature's conquest was without anyone to stop it.

     Yet none of that mattered to him. This was his time, and his time was spent with the dark of the night. The world was so different in the dark. Not the dark that those from before had known, the dark littered with at least some small splash of light from a streetlight or a passing vehicle, no. This was true darkness. His one guide and aid in such were the headlights of the vehicle, forever set to their high beams. No one would cross their paths to require him to lower them. This light might as well have been his link to life itself. If he was to travel forward, he needed the light. The light allowed him to see the road and the old markings that adorned it, their laws no longer mattering.

     Every now and then they would pass a sign, its lettering illuminated for a moment, long enough for him read. The last one had told them that they were now moving through what had been Tennessee, and presently he found himself winding his way through the streets of what had once been Clarksville. Around him stood nothing more than shells of what had once been mighty structures, now long abandoned.

     Vines now stretched over them, invading their innards through windows that had been left open, or doors that stood ajar. He had to squint to be able to see such in the dark, but even if he could not see them he would have known such was true. It was true everywhere else, and this city was not special enough to be saved from that fate.

     The buildings proved to be an interesting point that nature unwittingly made. The human race had created so much, in spite of or alongside nature, yet nature was the one that would last, whose mark would be the one that mattered. Nature's devices did not need nature itself to operate them, to live in them, to make use of them. They continued on, part of a larger scheme, whereas its counterpart's lived to serve only its creator and nothing more. If they served nature, it was simply so that they could feed back into the maker in the long run.

     Noise drifted quietly from the speakers, barely beating out the sound of the engine. Music was one of his few other companions in the night. Tonight he was joined by the message that in the end everyone wanted power in the world, to rule it. A small smirk pulled at his lips. What an outdated concept. During the day he had the companion of her, and together they had other companions in the way of the stories they told each other, or those they pulled out of books, but those might as well have been in another world, in another life.

     Before him was nothing but darkness, but it was not as simple as that. There was so much more there, so much more that he couldn't see. It could be anything as far as he knew. What was to say that there was simply these buildings here, but not something so much more amazing beyond them? Things he might not see, but could never disprove in their existence. The number of things that could be before them in the night was infinite, and that was why he loved it. Such was a love that she would never understand, much like how he never would understand her infatuation of the morning, so they had both decided long enough to allow themselves to have their affairs with their loves, so long as they returned to each other come day.

     Returning to each other come the day, and knowing who truly mattered in their lives, not the day or the night, but each other, was the first rule of their relationship, the first of two rules. The second rule was to always progress forward, whether into the new morning, or the dark night. He adhered to both rules with no objection, and when it was his turn to do the latter, he knew he did such appearing as a lone beacon in the night.

     A single torch bearer moving forward not just with the light of the vehicle, but the light of those who had came before, whose only belief was to move forward, and ignore the opposite.

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