Piece for a flash fiction contest
|She drove from the burning with fresh air on her mind. She coolly slipped into third gear, the car rocking itself forward.
At 43, Gina was the last person who could drive the cars rusting at the edge of town without autopilot, meaning she could break curfew, when all the cars shut down for the night, their heavy lights blinking to sleep.
Gina was so ancient she could remember the days before burnings, when the sky wasn’t perpetually gray and the D.C. air was only putrid from corruption, not flesh. She rolled the windows down, cranking them like turning a jump rope on hot asphalt. Hot tears came to her eyes, mingling with the sharp wind and sending droplets running into her thick curls for refuge.
They deemed her unpunishable, allowed to live as a symbol for the new ones and the new ways, an example of why order had to be stirred on a regular basis.
Gina thought of her mama, as she did more often these days, a woman who said small towns were like ants on the earth, small and disgusting. Now here she was, fleeing to their arms. She thought of it as an affair of circumstance.
She was punishable. She was being punished even now, as the car sputtered and slowed, with no fuel to get the whole way this time. Gina slammed herself against the steering wheel, crying out for her mother.
They found her, like always, trying to bury herself. This time, she was covered in peonies.