Tony had been walking down that road for god knows how long. He couldn’t remember if the sun was up when he started, but it was nowhere to be seen when he grew tired of walking. The world around him was dead, it had been for a while. The trees had just stopped growing and the grass quickly followed. It looked like a desert with a road built through it. In some parts of the world it wouldn’t be odd to see something like that, but Tony had left London only a day or two before. He couldn’t have walked that far.
At some points he noticed how perfect the road was. How there hadn’t been a crack for miles. That somehow it had survived the years of torture from the sun. At other times he didn’t notice the road, in the same way that he didn’t notice the changing between night and day. It didn’t really matter in the end anyway. Tony had figured that much out, anyway.
All he cared about was reaching the pub. It was somewhere along that road. Once he got there Nate was going to pick him up. That was the plan anyway. Deep down Tony knew that he would have to wait at the pub for a while before Nate would ride in. While he was walking the road, that didn’t mater. Tony could only remember what had been way before the road. Everything else was blurry or gone. His family. His wife, kids, the park, picking flowers on a summers morning. He remembered that. Then it disappeared. That, Tony couldn’t remember why. And then the road. He had to meet Nate. He hadn’t thought about him for such a long time. Then he got that text. It was the closest to jumping for joy that Tony had been for a long time.
The carriage rode up beside him when the moon was at its highest point in the sky. It didn’t completely stop, it just slowed.
“You want me to jump on?” Tony asked the driver, who was perched up on top.
He didn’t answer. Tony noticed that the door to the carriage was slightly open. He reached out and flung it open. Inside was a woman in a wedding dress. Tony knew that he should get in. He sat on the bench next to the woman. She turned to him.
“He got me in the bathroom, just before the time. When did he get you?”
“Who got me?” Tony asked.
“Jimmy, of course.”
Tony noticed that her veil was soaked, dripping down onto her dress. He didn’t know what to say. Going through his mind he couldn’t recall anyone by the name of Jimmy. Maybe he knew him by some other name. A second passed and the thought disappeared. In the end Tony couldn’t care who Jimmy was and how he “got” that woman. Slowly he dosed off.
He couldn’t have slept long. The moon was still in the sky. The carriage had stopped. Tony looked out of the window and saw the pub. The sign had been scratched off but he knew it was the right one.
“This is where you need to be right now,” the woman said. “If you still need sleep we can’t take you any further. You’ll be ready soon enough. But today is not that day. We waited for you to sleep and you can go now. I will see you again. Good bye Tony.”
He gave the woman a strange look and then climbed out of the carriage. It shifted when his weight disappeared and then it drove off. Tony walked across the road and entered the pub. A small woman was standing behind the bar. She spat in a glass and scrubbed at it with a rag.
“Don’t you realise he got you?” she said. “He gets us all. There is no denying it.”
“Uhuh, who else.”
Tony walked across the bar and sat down at a stall opposite the woman.
“I can’t get you anything if that’s what you want. I’m not doing that any more. If you want something keep on following that road until you realise what it is exactly that you want. You want freedom. You ain’t going to get it here.”
Tony ignored her, passing it off as nonsense.
“What’s your story then?” he asked.
“Maybe I was going to be an actress. Maybe someone told me I had the looks. Maybe that same person told me I could go far. Told me they’d send me a letter when they got back home. Maybe they never did. Maybe they did and moma hid it from me. Would you put it past her? What ever my story is he found me. Jimmy. It was easy for him. I was this close to doing it myself. He just beat me to it. That’s why I’m here. I was already dead when he got me. I didn’t have any remorse or anything which tied me back there. How did he get you?”
“Sure he didn’t,” she said with a laugh. “If that was true you wouldn’t be here. He got all of us. That’s why we’re here. Ain’t nothing to be done about it now. Nothing we can do anyway.”
“Your sign out there. It’s busted. You should upgrade. If Nate doesn’t turn up tomorrow I could drive into town and get it done for you. I know a guy. Good one too. That’s if you’ve got a car.”
“Sure we got a car. A fast red one. If this Nate doesn’t turn up you can do whatever you want. Who is this Nate anyway?”
“He’s my brother. Haven’t seen him since I was a child and then I get this text from him saying he will be here tomorrow. So here I am.”
“Sure he did hun. I’ll be back in a minute.”
To Be Continued…