‘There’s not much ahead, is there?’
I’m annoyed by your question. But then again, why am I? It’s a perfectly fine one to ask, all things considered. I guess it’s because I’ve been asking myself the same thing.
‘Maybe not…’ I say, ‘but at least it better than what’s behind us.’
I can see by your eyes that you’re not so sure. I want to make you believe me. I really do. But I’m tired and hungry and I just want to keep going.
‘But how do you know, Frank? What if it’s worse?’
This time I ignore you. You’re looking for something I can’t give anymore. I stop to light a cigarette. Four left in the box. No, three. Great, now my eyesight is going on top of everything else. God knows where the next store is. If they even exist anymore. I poke a cactus with my stick and wonder if it’s safe to smoke.
It takes me a while to register that you are no longer behind me. The cigarette hangs as I turn to look. I see you there standing, your saucer eyes shouting.
I motion to keep calm. The cigarette falls from my lips and bounces off my boot. Damn it’s quiet out here. I fight the instinct to step on it. Maybe I can still save it after this is over. I only have three left.
My hand moves to the holster and rests on the gun. I scan the area. Nothing. Doesn’t mean shit though. The loonies are almost invisible these days, especially when it’s dark. Nothing short of a bloody miracle that we’re both still alive. I check the cigarette and fight the urge to pick it up. It’s a pity you don’t smoke. Or maybe not. No point in two of us being cranky when we run dry.
We wait for another few minutes. False alarm. You start to cry. The cigarette is dead. I feel like crying too. I light another one. Only two left, all alone under the stars.
The story ‘Only Two left’ is a short piece I wrote one afternoon which I thought might also sound nice as a podcast (it’s my first one). I don’t think it sounds that bad – but I’m definitely going to need a bit more practice! Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Stay tuned for more along the way 😉
Story written by Shane O’Halloran. Feel free to reach out to him via this blog, or on Twitter and Instagram under @SomeOddHat.
About 400 words