Reads: 28

  The next few seconds were a blur, never forming a clear memory of any sort in his mind, the time contained within this moment forever fuzzy and unknown. Rachels hands spun on the wheel and Tim was moving. More accurately, his body was still going straight in the high-speed lane at 87 miles an hour. The car he was in however had slowed down considerably, brakes stuttering against the ABS, and moved about twelve feet to the left into the grass that split the center of the highway. The difference between the direction he had been going and the current direction of the car pinned Tim up against the passenger door. He tried to unpin himself before the car came to a grinding halt, was prevented from it by Rachels hands that were clenched onto his shoulders, driving him back and harder into his door. Her first push gonged his head against the window, further committing the memory of this moment to the mists.

  "Fuck you! You fucking can and you will!" Her rage and her words did not frighten Tim. Her eyes did.

  Once you've been alive long enough, Tim felt you could recognize the people who are truly dangerous. Nearly without exception they are people who have nothing to lose. The people with empty eyes who followed no laws or social conventions. They wanted to die and were happy to take other people with them. It was the look you saw in faces from photos of places where death was your most promising future. You also sometimes saw that look from someone you passed on the street, or stood behind while you waited to order Subway. When Tim saw these people, it heightened his awareness, on edge until he was safely away from them. Tim admitted a lot of it was probably just in his head, though people did snap.

  This was worse. Tim had never seen this before. Inches from his own blurry and tear-filled eyes was hope. The look of someone who had not yet lost it all. Most, but not quite all. So...close. This look didn't fill Tim with any warm and fuzzies. He was face to face with someone who would protect that hope at all costs, she was going to get what she wanted or die trying.

...even then apparently.

Submitted: January 24, 2023

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