Chapter 18 Truck stop
When no one is around, we sneak off the van and hide.
“We need to hitch a ride,” Violet says, looking around. “Let’s just start walking and hopefully someone will help.”
Looking at her map, she says, “We need to go this way.” She points down the highway.
I look up and I can see Miles he looks like a bird but he is glistening so I know it’s him.
We gather our backpacks and start walking. Cars go by and ignore us. A few beeps at us as we take turns holding out our thumbs.
Finally, a big truck slows down. He beeps as he slows to a stop and the passenger side door opens. There is smoke coming from the front of the hood.
“Where yawl headed?” A man’s voice asks.
He’s from the south somewhere with a strong accent.
“California?” Jon asks.
“Hop in,” the man says, “I’m going to Salt Lake City; I can take you that far.”
We get into the truck. There is a huge seat so Jon sits in the middle. That way Violet and I wouldn’t have to sit next to the truck driver.
“The name’s Deke,” he says.
“I’m Opal, and this is Jon and Violet,” I tell him, “Thanks for helping us. Salt Lake City sounds great. That’s most of our trip. We’re headed to California”
“So, California,” he says, “that’s about six hundred miles from Salt Lake City, but we’ll get you there.”
He starts the truck and beeps his horn. Jon and Vi and I look at each other and laugh.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” I say softly to Violet.
After a few minutes I hear a loud thump on the top of the truck.
“Whoa, what was that?” says Deak.
I elbow Jon, and he distracts Deak and asks questions about the trucking life.
I know it’s Miles above us. I hope he is ok up there. I wish he was with me so he could hold me. Kiss me on the cheek and check, even though it’s to check my temperature, I’ll take what I can get.
After hours of driving and drifting off and on to sleep. We need to stop.
When we finally make our first stop, it’s almost dark. I can see the sun setting over the mountains.
“Where are we?” I ask Jon.
“I’m not sure, let’s look around.” Jon says.
“I really have to pee.” Says Violet. We all agree.
We get out of the massive truck, and I look up to see if Miles is still on top of it. I don’t see or hear him. I look at Jon. He looks at his watch and smiles at me.
“He’s fine, Opie.” He reassures me.
Black smoke is coming from the hood of the truck as Deak walks in front of it. He looks so small standing next to it. “Well, this old gal is trying to tell me somethin’ I guess.” Deak gets back in and takes the truck to the station next door.
“Ewe, it smells in here,” Vi says as we open the door to the truck stop. It’s a restaurant slash gift shop slash locker room.
“That’s liver and onions,” Deke says, startling us.
“Oh, nice,” says Jon, “I’m going to look around the gift shop.”
“Ok,” I say, “I’m going to the lady’s room. C’mon Vi.” As we walk, I wonder where Miles is. Just as I’m thinking about him, he appears.
“Are you ok?” Miles asks.
Miles puts his nose on my cheek, kisses me as I still get butterflies in my stomach when he does that.
“I’m good, I’m fine really.” I say. I hug him tightly. I can feel him wince in pain. “I’m so sorry.”
“Its fine princess, please hug me as tight as you can, I missed you.” He kisses me softly and quickly and looks around.
“Can we go before I pee my pants, please?” Violet says. I almost forgot where we were.
“Vi and I are going to the restroom.” I tell Miles. He nods and winks at me and walks over to Jon.
“How does it feel?” Asks Violet. I look at her with questioning eyes. “How does it feel to have two, hot, smart, caring men, irrevocably, in love with you?”
I watch Miles walk over to Jon; they check their watches, and then I head to the restroom with Vi. A guy walking by Miles makes fun of him.
“Nice costume dork.” He says. Miles rolls his eyes at him.
“I don’t know, Vi, it’s not what you think.” I say. “Although I’m not sure what to think. I mean, I know, I love Miles, and I kissed Miles in front of Jon, so Jon knows I love Miles too. I have feelings for Jon but It’s not like my feelings for Miles. So, I -I.”
Violet laughs “You really are a princess, aren’t you?” We laugh together.
When we make our way to the café, I see Deke sitting down with a few other truckers. He’s small compared to them. They’re all eating liver and onions and rolls. Some of them have beards and are wearing big jackets and they’re all wearing hats. Huh, wonder where we are, I think.
“You’re in Indiana, Sugar,” says a woman right in front of me. I almost bump into her. She has long, dark, curly hair. She’s wearing a purple coat with a hood and her eyes are purple and shiny.
“Did I say that out loud?” I ask.
I can’t help but stare into her eyes.
“They’re contacts, Sugar,” she says.
“Oh, sorry, I’ve never seen anything like that before,” I say as I fidget with my hair and tuck a few strands behind my ears.
“Well, I’m not from around here,” she says, “and neither are you, are you?”
She tilts her head and stares at me. I can hear her thoughts she is trying to find out where we are going. She keeps trying to get into my head.
“Excuse me,” I say as I walk past her and try to get to Miles. Who is this woman? She is creepy! I hope she isn’t a fury.
The woman with the purple eyes steps right in front of me, not letting me get to Miles or Jon.
“Is that a bat?” she asks.
“He’s hurt,” I explain, “I’m taking care of him.”
I hold on to my back pack tightly and put the pocket where Louie is near my chest.
“Hey Op, who’s your friend?” Miles asks, stepping in front of the woman. Jon is looking at the woman and being very protective. It’s nice to see them act like that. It’s strangely romantic.
“Soul mates, I suppose, that is definitely not a costume. Is it?” says the woman, looking Miles and me up and down. “But not this one, he is not here for good.” She points at Jon. “You have an agen...”
“Who are you?” Jon interrupts the woman. His face is getting red again and his eyes do look like they are about to pop out of his head. Violet bumps me on the arm to make sure I’m noticing.
She starts walking around us and watching every move we make.
“Who are you?” demands Miles.
“I’m a witch,” the woman responds. “But don’t you worry; I’m the good kind of witch. I can help you on your journey.”
She is still walking around us.
“I think we have enough help, thank you,” says Miles and he takes his glove off and puts his hand up and the woman stops fast.
“That won’t work on me, Sugar,” she laughs.
She grabs my hand and turns it over, and looks at my palm.
“You have a shark on your hand,” she says, “and he’s following you. He has a hammer for a head, but his fin has been hurt so he doesn’t swim straight.”
I pull my hand away, scared. How does she know about my dream? She stares into my eyes. Her purple eyes glow.
“The beach house won’t help you, the light is dark, don’t go in.” she tells me. “You must swim in a straight line and kick the shark right between the eyes.”
I just stand there with my mouth open, staring at her.
“Leave us alone,” Jon says as he grabs my arm, pulling me away. The strange woman walks back into the gift shop. But I can see her lurking and watching us.
We find a booth to sit in and get something to eat.
“Jon, are you ok?” I ask he is still pretty mad. His face is really red.
“Fine.” Is all he says.
“She’s gone man.” Says Miles.
“I’m good man.” Jon says, finally letting the redness in his face go. The four of us looking at the map trying to figure out where we are. I text my Mom to let her know we are fine deep in the woods hiking and Violet does too. Jon and Miles and synchronizing their watches for the next long stretch of road. When we are finished eating, we all get up. Violet and I head back to the bathroom. Miles and Jon walk with us and wait outside. I fill up my water bottle for the moles and check in on them.
“Hey guys. How are the worms? Need anything?” I ask.
“We are good, princess. Thank you.” They say in unison.
“Hi Louie, how are you feeling?” I ask him.
“I’m ok,” he yawns.
“That woman, with the purple eyes, was creepy.” Say Violet. “I wonder who she is?”
“No one important.” I say, even though I’m terrified. “I wonder what she meant by Jon she said he was not good. What did she mean by that?” Violet shrugs her shoulders. We walk out of the bathroom and the woman is right there in front of us. Her purple eyes are glowing. The woman laughs as Jon grabs my arm and we run out of the truck to stop. I can hear her laughing. I’m so scared I can barely move or talk. Jon is holding me tight.
“You’re shaking, Opie,” he says. “It’s ok. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
I stutter, “My dream...Louie was drowning.... a shark....my leg.”
I’m not making sense, but Jon understands somehow. He is shaking his head yes. Miles and Violet run out with us. Miles checks on me from feet to head, like he always does. I push Jon away and run to Miles. I’m still shaking. He takes off his glove and puts his hand up to what is left of the sun and gives me a little bit of light. I fall into his arms immediately, calming down.
“She will need to sleep. I’m going to go on top of the truck before the trucker sees me.” Miles says. “I’ll be above you if you need me.” Miles kisses me on the cheek and gives me to Jon. Miles hides behind the truck. We can hear a thud as he jumps up onto the truck.
We wait for Deke. It’s about 15 minutes before he comes out. I am feeling better but tired.
“Showered, full stomach and ready to roll,” he says as he puts out a cigarette and walks towards us. “Ready?” he asks.
“Ready,” says Violet.
I have my head on Jon’s shoulder. He helps me up and we get back in the truck. I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. He holds onto me, he puts his arm around me and I feel so safe.
“Perfect night for a drive,” says Deke as he beeps the truck horn at another driver. “We’ll be there tomorrow about dinner time. Then I’ll pass you off to a buddy I know.”
I look out the window. It’s getting dark. There are so many stars, not as many as in Omynora, though. I drift off and fall asleep, dreaming I could be there.
It’s a long night we are all exhausted even though we have been sleeping off and on. It’s only 1:30 in the morning.
“Power bar and grape juice,” Violet says as she passes me a bottle of juice and a power bar from a brown bag.
I take a bite, chocolate and peanut butter, yum.
“Hmm, thanks,” I say as I chew up the bar. I put the rest back in the bag and save it for later, and take a few sips of the grape juice.
“You’re welcome.” She says. “Um, what is that?” Violet points out the window there is dark smoke blocking our view.
“Oh! Fiddle sticks!” Says Deak. Pulling his truck over to the side he can barely see so it swerves a little and we start to turn to the side as the truck moves into the ditch and we are about to flip over. I’m holding on for dear life, but all I can think about is Miles. Is he ok? Did he fall off the top of the truck? Is he ok? I keep looking out the window for him, but it’s so dark. Then I see a stream of light coming from the moon and I see Miles. His hand is glowing, and the light embodies him like an umbrella. I calm down and feel safe, even though we are about to meet our doom in the ditch. Violet and Deak are screaming like girls. Jon is holding onto the dash and me at the same time. Miles shines his light at the truck and it stops in midair just as we are about to flip over into the ditch. The smoke is the only thing moving. Everyone is silent. Deak and Violet look at each other and continue to scream. Jon and I look at each other and roll our eyes. Miles comes over to the side door and pulls us out one by one, then pushes the truck back to where it belongs on the road. He opens the hood of the truck with a wave of his hand and blows the smoke away with a quick breath. He pulls the light from the moon one last time and points his hand at the truck. The engine heats up and is turning red from the energy it shakes, then slows down as quickly as it started. Miles closes the lid and comes over to check on me, kissing me on the cheek. Deak is staring at his truck in disbelief. We all watch him to see what he will do next. Jon walks over to him and pats him on the back.
“Amazing, huh!” Jon says to Deak, looking at the truck in front of him.
“How did it get so shiny? It looks brand new.” Deak says walking over to his truck examining it.
The truck did look brand new; it had nicks in it before and dents and the paint was coming off of it in spots. Even all the stickers that Deak had put on over the years were gone. Except one. One sticker was left. It looked brand new it said. “Trucker Life!”
“That’s the first sticker I ever put on her.” Deak puts his hand over the sticker he starts to cry, wiping tears from his cheeks.
“Well, my powers bring back to life so, I guess I took the age out of it.” Miles explains.
“Her! You took the age out of her.” Deak says, staring at Miles and now hugging him and laughing. “How am I going to explain this to the boys?” He continues to laugh. We all start laughing with him. He hugs all of us one by one. Laughing harder with each hug. He is so happy. We all get back into the truck I give Miles my left over, power bar and juice. He kisses me on the forehead and Miles shakes Deaks hand and flies above.
The sun is coming up along the grassy mountains. It’s breathtaking. It smells like morning rain. It’s chilly but comfortable. I wonder how Miles is holding up on the roof. He still hasn’t told me why he opened his wings. And I’ve been too busy to ask him. He must think I’m a terrible friend. Or am I a girlfriend? That was so nice that he fixed Deak’s truck I wonder if he would have if we weren’t about to flip over. I look at Jon, he is still holding me tight and holding my hand. I feel safe with Jon too. Deke gets off at the next exit to stop for a restroom and coffee break. We all need to stretch our legs. The moles are still asleep. But Louie has been up all night. I think he sleeps during the day and is up at night to find bugs to eat. His wing is still broken so he can’t fly around and find anything. I’ll need to find him something to eat soon to keep his energy up.
“He’ll be ok,” says Jon. “How did you sleep? Any dreams?”
“None that I remember, you?” I reply.
He sighs and shakes his head no.
“I hope we get there soon,” I say quietly to him. “If I don’t save Omynora......?”
Jon grabs my hand.
“It’s going to be ok,” he says out loud.
“You will be ok. Don’t worry Opal.” Violet says.
I just look at Jon, then Vi, and then stare out the window. My head hurts from not sleeping much. And I’m so hungry. I just need to eat something.
The truck is slowing down, so we must be near our exit. There are morning cars on the road, probably trying to get to work. It’s the perfect time to stop for a break. Deke and Jon have been talking on and off for hours in between Jon sleeping it seems. I reach into my pocket for my Chapstick. Jon leans over to smell it as I put it on my lips.
“Strawberry?” he asks.
“Nope,” I smile.
He looks back at Deke. I keep thinking about that witch at the last truck stop. She was so creepy.
“Well, I guess I’ll start my coffee habit as a teenager,” says Jon, yawning and stretching his arms and legs as much as he can.
Violet and I just laugh, mostly because we are thinking the same thing.
We finally stop. Deke drops us off at the coffee shop before he takes the truck to the gas pump. Jon scoots across me to get out first. Then he grabs my waist and pulls me down from the truck. He’s so much bigger than me. I love that we are so close and most of the awkward moments are over or have just been skipped entirely. He hugs me and puts me down. I fix my hair behind my ear and look up at him and bat my lashes at him, teasing him.
“You need a shower.” I say, giggling. We both laugh and hold hands in the coffee shop.