Chapter 8: The Morning After
Leaving the general store, Trevor couldn’t help but take a generous deep breath of air, to clear his mind and thoughts. Of course, he was not in the best of shape so the deep breath turned into a coughing fit. After sounding like he was going to cough up a lung, he felt better, or at least somewhat clear in thought. He and Grace discussed so much and so little, he found it difficult wrapping his mind around everything.
Deciding to walk off a little of his buzz, he turned to cross the street, towards the bank and Miss Crystal’s rock shop. At first, he was not sure why, oh hell he knew why, the name drew him. Something about it, he needed to check it out. Even if only by moonlight, and the blinking red light at the intersection. Out of habit, he stopped, checking for traffic both ways at the deserted cross street.
A bit angry with himself, grumbling at his stupidity for checking traffic, he passed the bank and came to Crystal’s little shop. It was hard to miss since there was an obvious new sign hanging over the door. Standing in front of the rock shop window, he squinted to focus his altered vision into the store. Not much inside, spying movement... there was something on the floor. He stumbled closer to the window and saw a body prone on the floor, feet towards the window. From this angle, it had the recognizable heart-shaped backside of a woman, oh what a heart.
Trying to pull himself away, the shape of the buttocks in those oh-so-tight yoga pants drew him back, like a moth to a flame. He pressed closer to the window, using both his hands to cover the light reflecting from the blinking red light. Feeling like a pervert he thought I am going to hell for this. He yearned to study the lithe woman as she moved from prone to downward dog. She was doing yoga. He took a quick glance at his wristwatch, at three in the morning? He thought to himself.
Standing there fixated he examined her as she moved from one position to another, fluid, unjointed, inhumanly flexible. He felt his body responding to the visual stimulus, with a very physical reaction. She turned and glanced towards the window and for a breath, their eyes met.
Trevor had never been a religious man, but at that second their eyes met he would have sworn on a stack of bibles her eyes flashed, a bright light. In the darkness of the room, an almost blinding light.
Out of embarrassment of being caught peeping, or the shock of the flash of her eyes, Trevor took a dozen staggered steps backward into the street. This should’ve been that time he checked both ways.
On a normal morning at three on any given day, the road Trevor backpedaled into would be deserted, this was not the case on this fateful morning. He backed into the oncoming path of a cattle hauler returning from market in Abilene.
Trevor regained a presence of mind to stare into the headlights of the eighteen-wheeler, and the impending collision with his body.
The driver left the highway a few miles back trying to dodge some construction, in a rush to reach home since his wife was expecting their first child. None would’ve blamed the trucker. Driving the speed limit plus a few in town, he never saw Trevor stumbling out into his line of travel. As he was adjusting the radio, scanning for his favorite all night talk program.
Time stopped. Not in that whole life passing before your eyes kind of time stop, but it physically stopped. Far as Trevor was concerned he was dead.
The glow of first light visible in the east; Trevor checked his wristwatch: 6:45. With a start, where had the last three plus hours gone? Even worse how was he alive? What the hell happen to the truck? Was it all a dream? Was he going mental? The questions raced through his head.
“Where the hell am I?” he asked the universe in general.
He did a quick inventory of his body and possessions, wallet, watch, spectacles, testicles all seemed to be fine. The owner of a pounding in his head, like Ringo Starr, was trying to learn the drums. The hammering wasn’t too bad, he only wished it would pick a beat and stick to it. Then he looked around for a sign of the dog that obviously crapped in his mouth. It was shaping up to be one of those kinds of hangovers.
Completing a slow turn to gain his bearings. Just identifying the bank building sign, glowing in the distance opposite the direction he’d been traveling. At least he wasn’t lost in the desert. He was however lost in time. What happened last night? That thought gave him a start. Was it even last night that it happened?
He started the trek back to town, trying to recall if what he thought happened, in reality, happened after all. Rationalizing while walking, he was pretty wasted when he left the Eddington General Store slash Hotel. Maybe he blacked out and went ‘out there’, a mile out of town? What about the vision of Crystal’s shop? Did he just hallucinate all of that? The lorry... those eyes?
The closer he got to town the more everything seemed like some waking dream. Approaching Crystal’s, he resolved the whole strange morning had been some twisted dream. He was trying to innocently stroll past Crystal’s shop. Which was good, since at the moment he came parallel with the door, it swung in and Crystal stepped out. They almost collided.
Trevor recognized the hair at once, it was the woman who witnessed him fall out of the car, yesterday afternoon. He managed a weak, “Excuse me,” as they both dodged one another.
With a laugh like wind chimes, she giggled as they danced around one another, “Oh, excuse me,” her melodious voice overlapping him.
Trevor thought to himself, I can’t seem to catch a break. adding, “Good morning.”
Crystal beamed a smile his direction, “I am just going for a morning run. I see you’re up early as well, walking up an appetite?”
Trevor checked out his clothes, they didn’t appear too rough. Looking back into her eyes, and not her breasts, he tried taking a quick accounting of her. She was either ignoring or choose not to acknowledge the early morning incident, or scarier he had dreamt the whole episode. Trevor decided to push it to the back of his mind and tried to play it as cool as possible. Which was hard considering the size of his head.
Taking a step back to give her some room. He swung his arms, as if exercising, “Yeah, I always try to get in a good workout before starting the day,” he lied.
“Well, I am off,” she was stretching her arms behind her back, jutting out her ample breasts, but acting like it was nothing.
She started jogging down the street, in the direction Trevor came from. Turning as she jogged, yelling back, “The store opens at ten. Stop by and see me then.”
He waved and gave her a ‘thumbs up’, “Sure thing!” far as Trevor was concerned he counted that a win. Suddenly famished, he gave himself a little smirk as he headed to Junior’s and the artery clogging breakie he was sure awaited him.
He approached the corner, Trevor recalled a vague memory of the events from the previous evening with the two curmudgeons. Standing, he studied the only place to order a prepared meal. Torn between the desire to run and hide in the room and never come out again, or go into the joint and face the music.
Putting off the decision he had to make, he inspected the corner where he stood. Examining the four corners of the intersection he noticed there were no CCTV cameras. Not like London. That would explain the lack of video of the lights that night. It also meant there was no record of what happened to him four hours ago.
Making his decision, he muttered a simple line to himself, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” and headed cross the corner towards Junior’s.