Flash Fiction: Window

A short story by Jonathan Hastings.

NUSU
7th December 2015

“You mind if I open a window?” I just manage to slump my head to the side so that my vision can take up the side of her. She’s pressed into the drivers seat, almost becoming part of the brown, tearing cloth that weaves into the surface of her overused sweater. “It’s just getting a little, you know.”

She waves a hand under her nose.

“Yeah, go for it.” I mutter, finally pulling my body up. “I mean,” I look over at the sleeping figures in the back of our five-seated Ford, “As long as it doesn’t wake them.”

She pauses a second before attempting to lower the window using one of the handles that must take too much effort to rotate. I don’t think it’s ever been oiled. I mean she has to rub the sweat from her palm a couple of times before she can actually grip the black spool.

“You need any…?” The burst of air answers my question. It slips into the car like a stream of water, bringing with it a delicate tortuous stream that flood the car. I shift a little in my seat, trying to let the fresh air cleanse me of our twenty-four hour non-stop car ride. It doesn’t help; it just sort of makes the sweat still on my skin like an extra layer of clothing.

“That took some effort.” Phoebs looks back over at the road. I return to the view only seconds later, after watching the way her jawline fits back over her braces; and the way her hair wrinkles with the dust of our adventures.

“You wanna switch at the next gas station?” She yawns. “I’m getting a little tired, plus it’s been like five hours now and my hands are getting the shakes.”

“Yeah.” I open a can of energy drink that we picked up cheap due to their week-old nature. They taste just fine, so we guessed there wasn’t anything to worry about. “Just pull in at the next exit.”

There’s nothing now but the strange silence and the titillating sound the outer-world makes as it flutters past the crack in the window. I mean it’s so picturesque here: the sky has started to lighten, and the way the stars blanket on the dark ceiling, so vividly. It’s that perfect ambience that keeps my eyes locked on the road; it’s the curtain of soft light that seems to alleviate the pain of the world.

I press my cheek to the cold windowpane, watching the sparse road lamps illuminate halos of golden light onto cracked road surface. I take another sip of my drink and feel the car pull off the road. I look over at Phoebs, who seems too far-gone to notice the beauty. The world is alive, and radiating as a crisp image. Even the mountains come alive: cutting at the backdrop, chiselling the purpling sky, and the restless white wisps that hang on the horizon.

The car stops.

“Ready?”

I look over at her and nod.

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