by Samuel Best
This is who we are now. The driver and the passenger. No names, no past. Just forward momentum and shifting gears. We drive faster and the car starts to hum. I’m watching the city out of the window as the driver puts the radio on. American accents, guitars, songs about love. The road outside plays across the windscreen like a sepia film reel.
“Where are we headed?” the driver asks.
“Why not just see where we end up?”
The streetlights blur as we speed by. Streaks of gold in the warm night. The wild city around us, shut out with central locking. A sign flits past. The South. Nonspecific, a direction.
“How fast do you think we can go?” I ask.
“It’s fifty on this road.”
“No, I mean if you just press the pedal hard. How fast would we go?”
The driver looks at me, a smile tickling the edges of his mouth. I can see the tension in his thighs. The car bursts along the streets. Oncoming headlights are likes stars now and we’re exploring areas of space never touched before.
“Every time I get into the car I imagine driving to Nevada or Mexico,” the driver says. “It’s what I like most about cars. The possibility they give. Like tonight—tonight we could end up anywhere.”
“Scotland, Denmark, the moon…” I say, and the driver laughs.
My phone buzzes and I cancel the call. I can feel the driver look at me but I don’t say anything.
“Do you want to keep going?” he asks.
“Always,” I say.
We pull on to the motorway and the driver turns the radio up. I roll the window down and rest my hand on the outer side of the door. The metal is cold against the warm breeze. My palm prickles and the rush of air into the car makes my hair twist and wind around my head. We drive faster and faster, the two of us looking forward as the road peels away beneath our wheels.
Screaming into the sodium night, the driver moves his hand from the gearstick to my knee. We push into triple digits easily and the car vibrates with the speed. I imagine what it must feel like to pilot a space rocket and look up at the moon. Thousands of miles away, maybe an astronaut looks down at the black Earth and remembers driving on main roads through big cities, the feel of tarmac underneath, the slow sound the distance makes as it grows between you and everything else you’ve ever known.
Samuel Best is a Glasgow-based writer and also runs Octavius, a literary magazine for students studying in Scotland. Samuel is currently writing two novels based on different blends of Scottish national identity, violence and running away. He tweets at @spbbest and has more stories available here: http://samuelbest.weebly.com/publications.html