Shotgun Rider

Shotgun Rider

Today’s Daily Prompt: Drive

I sing along to Tim McGraw as I pull into the carpark by the lake. ‘Shotgun Rider’ flows into ‘Last Dollar’ the triple play ending with the ballad ‘It’s Your Love’ which I sing with feeling.

I smile as the song ends, sitting content in the dark, the aroma of fried chicken a gentle tease but I’m not hungry. After I ate my dinner of grilled fish and salad I got the urge to get in my car, buy a bucket of chicken and a couple of milkshakes (one chocolate and one strawberry), and drive here. I don’t think I’ll have to wait long.

I look out at the lake and though there’s nothing I can almost see an island out there. The island that Alex says he is an unwilling guest on. Alex. Just thinking his name makes me smile. Last night I’d given him the tools he said he needed to escape the island though how a few batteries and a Swiss army knife would help I had no idea. If I had thought about it before hand, I would have expected him to ask for a gun, maybe some explosives. Though it was clear from the way we met that Alex wasn’t in any way normal so why would his escape be?

Not that it mattered how it happened, so long as it did. I had complete faith in Alex. That’s why I was sitting here, waiting for him and his friend to walk out of the water after executing their escape plan. I hadn’t planned to be here, I just got the urge so I followed it. Alex had said he’d find me and I believed him but I couldn’t resist the draw to be here, right now with a bucket of warm chicken, two milkshakes and two thick fluffy towels.

I pictured Alex as he’d looked last night, different from the previous times we’d been together. Instead of jeans and a t-shirt he’d worn baggy grey sweats and he was leaner than before too. Gaunt, his skin sallow, his eyes not as brightly blue. He’d looked tired and beaten down and I wondered if one bucket of chicken would be enough.

I hear a shout in the distance and lean forward to look out at the lake where the sound seems to be coming from. There’s nothing out there but I can hear something, closer now, louder. Splashing and voices. I get out of the car leaving the door open and grab the towels and head towards the water’s edge.

The lake is placid but I can hear the water moving, the whisper of voices.

“Alex?” I whisper as loudly as I can, not wanting to draw attention but not able to wait one moment more to call out to him. There’s no answer, nothing happens, the night seems to hold it’s breath. Then 6 feet in front of me the water ripples and a thin fog rises. Two figures form, their hazy shapes coming slowly closer, and though I can see the water moving around them the sound is strangely muted.

My heart’s racing as I recognise Alex and I realise that until that moment I hadn’t really believed he was real, hadn’t really believed any of it was real. The Island, him being held there. Sure I’d researched him and he was a real missing person but him talking to me in my dreams? That, I hadn’t really believed. Until right now.

He stops before me, beside him a man with long hair but I can’t tell the colour as it’s wet.

“I brought you a towel,” I say as I hold them out and we stand there that way for what feels like forever but is really less than a minute.

Alex clears his throat then says in a hoarse voice, “Thanks.”

He and his friend take them and rub them over their heads and faces.

“How did yo know to be here?” Alex asks me and I shrug.

“I just had a feeling,” I say and to me the words feel heavy with meaning. Can’t he see I was drawn here to him, to be here for him? “My car’s over there,” I gesture to the carpark when he doesn’t respond.

“Don’t suppose you have some fried chicken and a chocolate milkshake in there?” his friend asks hopefully and I drag my eyes away from Alex to look at him.

“Um, yes actually. One chocolate and one strawberry,” I smile at him as he gives a little cheer and grins.

“Really? Huh,” Alex looks at his friend and arches a brow and he’s so familiar, so gorgeous it’s all I can do not to wrap my arms around him.

“Skye right? I’m Joel. Thanks for the towel.”

“Oh sure,” I give him an absent look but my attention is on Alex. I want him to say something, do something, to acknowledge our connection.

“We should get out of here,” Alex looks back at the lake which is eerily still. “Did someone say something about chicken?”

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