A Fast Drive to Hell

flamingcar

#picturefiction #flashfiction

Gravel shot into the air as Billy skidded around the corner onto the country road. He loved driving out in hicksville, long straight stretches with nobody in his way, especially cops. The speedometer climbed to 70, forty miles an hour over the speed limit.

The big V8 roared and the car, which had started life as a police interceptor, seemed to float above the road as its speed neared triple digits.

Billy was going to peg the speedometer; he rarely got enough road to do that. His triumphant grin shattered as the aging blue van came into view ahead. He punched the steering wheel as his speed fell. In seconds he was right on the van’s bumper, weaving back and forth, but there was no room to pass.

“Damn it,” he screamed.

The sedan and its fuming occupant crawled to a T intersection behind the van. Traffic zipped past on the larger, two lane road. He could finally get around this hick and punch it again. Billy craned his neck left and watched the traffic pass. He only needed a big enough gap to dive into. There, after the pickup truck, the gap had to be at least five car lengths, more than enough to leap into traffic and take off. The truck passed and Billy hit the gas. The blue van was still in front of him and Billy shifted to his brake in a panic stop.

Why hadn’t the van moved? Was he stupid? Billy caught sight of the driver in the side mirror. He was an old codger with long stringy hair and his eyes were bugging out of his head as he saw the interceptor about to ram his ass. Somehow the old coot managed to goose the van into motion before Billy smacked into him. It weaved into traffic and sped away. Billy’s car crunched to a halt and he was forced to wait for another gap. He vented his ire on the dashboard, cracking the already distressed surface.

Stupid old people; he’d teach that old bastard a lesson. Another opening in traffic appeared and Billy’s car leaped into motion. He rammed a CD into the player and blaring music filled the car.

German industrial music, his favorite style, threatened to shatter his ear drums. He loved the song that was on. He had no clue what they were saying but it was probably some bad ass Nazi shit. The only word he knew was ‘nein’ and he screamed it every time it came through the speakers. He swerved from lane to lane, accelerating through traffic. He could see the blue van far ahead; soon he’d show that old coot. He’d catch up, maybe blare his horn and then swerve right in front of the codger; probably give the freak a heart attack. He swerved left and started moving along side the van as they crested a blind hill.

Traffic light; Billy screamed in rage as the light turned red and traffic filled the intersection. The interceptor shuddered to a halt alongside the van. Billy looked over and saw the old man staring at him. The man’s face was a roadmap of wrinkles and his stringy white hair should have been on a corpse. He wasn’t going to get to cut him off but Billy needed some token of vengeance. He screamed “Nein” with the music and flipped the bird at the old man.

The old man’s eyes narrowed and he raised his left fist. The index and pinky fingers were extended. Was he throwing horns at Billy; maybe he was a rocker and not some coot. Then the old man spit between his upraised fingers and Billy swore the man’s left eye glowed red.

“Fuck this shit,” Billy said.

Without looking, he floored it through the intersection barely missing a delivery van. The car raced away and Billy chuckled to himself. The old man probably had a glass eye or something that caught the reflection of the red light. Fucking old people, why didn’t they just die and get off his planet?

The car leaped forward, engine roaring.

“What the hell?”

Billy had not punched the gas, in fact he moved his foot off the pedal but still the car accelerated. He stood on the brake; nothing happened. Billy swerved the big car back and forth, barely avoiding other vehicles as its speed continued to climb. The tachometer moved into the red and blinking red lights indicated that the mighty V8 was overheating. Knocking sounds came from beneath the hood and smoke began to pour through the vents; the engine was burning up. Flames erupted from the engine compartment as the speedometer pegged itself at 120.

“Help me,” Billy screamed to the uncaring universe.

Fire spread down the sides of the car; it was moving too fast to bail out. Billy pumped the brakes again. He forced the gear selector into Park but still the flaming car roared forward. The last thing Billy knew as flames filled the cabin was searing heat and the concussion of the gas tank exploding. Through the violence engulfing him he swore he heard an old man’s voice say, “Nein.”

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