For a companion piece, and the story of how both pieces came to be, see Highway, Heading South by Constance Cochran.
There should be rain.|
Instead there's only the highway, white stripes sliding past in the dark, roadside lights that loom suddenly forward out of the night and disappear behind. The sky is overcast, but not dramatically; it's not a glowering thunderhead, just high thin wraiths of cloud, dimming the stars, dimming the waning moon.
There should be rain. There should be something.
I'm not sure how long I've been driving. I should probably stop soon, look for a place to park and get some sleep. But right now the momentum's
(like running with the moon, dark sweet soil under paws, every breath ice-sharp and ice-clear in the river of wind)
carrying me, and it's easier to keep moving than to slow down.
Gentle static on the radio, a hum of white noise. Faint rhythm of tires on the blacktop. Pattern of white stripes going past, flick, flick, flick. There's a strip of forest on each side of the highway now, dense with branches, alive with leaves.
Keep your eyes on the road.
White lettering on a green sign ahead. The words are a blur, meaningless. Or meaning something in a language I forgot long ago. My eyelids rasp when I squint at it. Definitely time to find a place to sleep. Sleep, yes.
It takes me a moment to realize I've gone past the exit. Next one. Definitely.
Somewhere in my head I know what really happened. Somewhere in my head I know why I did what I did. But right now all I know is this: it feels like there was only one other like me in the world, ever, anywhere. And I tore her apart.
And when I think that, part of me smells the mating scent, and hears the full-throated singing voice that speaks of her true nature to anyone with the ears to hear it. And part of me sees red hair around a heart-shaped face, and feels arms tight around my shoulders, slender and supple and strong as the tree she's named for.
The wolf in me tore the other wolf's throat. And the human in me tore the other human's heart.
Somewhere in my head I know where I'm going, and why. Right now it doesn't really matter. Right now the empty highway stretches out forever under a blank night sky, where both of me run alone.