by Cave Dweller
Writer's Cramp, 10/11/22
|My road-weary eyes began to fail me |
in the 12th hour on that forlorn highway.
The light had long since drained from the sky.
My grip on the wheel had begun to slip,
as did my tenuous grasp of consciousness.
The car, a rental – a metal boat on the River Styx.
I startled fully awake with a sudden realization of the precarious situation.
The body's desire to sleep will always prevail
against the mind's determination to reach a destination.
A shadow bolted across the road:
A black cat testing its fate.
The car swerved and a string of profanity escaped my lips.
I regained control of the vehicle as an interior voice chastised my foolishness.
The highway at night is a dangerous place,
and I was the horror waiting to happen.
I had time to briefly ponder the metaphysical
before the greasy light of a sleazy motel appeared up ahead.
I needed no more persuading to stop for the night.
With the car parked in the nearly empty lot, I dragged my exhausted form
through the dark chill and towards a purple door.
Entering, I encountered the attendant, a small, withered man
of mummified complexion and the fatigue of ages.
Before I could speak he extended a key, held between two bony fingers.
Murky eyes searched mine, flashing both sadness and hope,
yet also an embedded maliciousness and distinct amusement.
I took the key and made my way through corridors of unspeakable color and character.
A door presented itself and I entered.
I found myself in a small room lit by two dim lamps.
A yellow blanket, grungy and of questionable texture lay wrinkled upon the bed.
A television from a bygone era was already on, relaying the news through
talking heads in '70s attire.
I chuckling at the quaintness of it all for a moment...
Until the somber nature and morbid details of the newscaster's words registered in my mind.
Familiar and horrible, an infinite echo:
That lonely death on the highway, the unidentified man –
It happened right here, all those years ago.
An anguished cry pierced the night as I struggled in vain to recall my own face and remember my name.