5/04/2009

Entry One Hundred Eleven: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[This entry is the current story I am working on. This is forty of who knows how many will be posted. The last entry is here. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

Chapter Nineteen

Adam correctly judged that he could get around most of the congestion by riding on the shoulder of the interstate but he couldn’t go very fast stuck on the fringe. When the static gridlock cleared he pulled his car on to the main thoroughfare and was able to move faster. He still had to be cautious because there were still cars and trucks liberally scattered across the three lanes forming an eerie obstacle course, the creepiness not helping Adam’s concentration. He also wasn’t sure when the road would get congested again so he kept his speed to a manageable level just in case.

As each mile passed under his tires, Adam gained confidence. Not huge buckets of it, more like teaspoons full, but it was tangible and it almost made him smile. That was something he had not done too much of since the note. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision, more that there hadn’t been too much to smile about. Survival isn’t normally funny and he had been in strict survival mode. He still was but he was pleasantly surprised how driving seemed to be a mild narcotic, releasing just enough numbness to almost enjoy himself.

As he veered on to the bypass around Macon, he felt something shift inside. Another small release, a loosening of his death grip and it freed him just a little. There were very few cars to dodge, the road mostly clear, so Adam slowly pushed the gas pedal a little closer to the floor and increased his cruising speed. He figured he had close to an hour before the roads got congested again, signaling his approach to the Atlanta city limits, and he may as well get there faster rather than slower.
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Nothing he could have done would have prepared him for the amount of immobile traffic that was stacked up on the freeway outside Atlanta. It was impossible to drive through so he reverted to his earlier tactic of driving on the shoulder. It slowed him down considerably but, as was all too obvious to him, it was impossible for him to be late. Time was irrelevant.

Driving on the shoulder may have been slower but it allowed him to keep up a consistent pace. There was an occasional car in his way, pulled to the side of the road because of engine failure or a flat tire, but he was able to maneuver around them all with ease. Gradually, he snaked his way north.

As Adam banked through a sharply curved bend in the road, he stole a glance up and immediately wished he hadn’t. In front of him, filling his view, was Atlanta. Massive, impressive and formidable. And for some reason, without even being fooled for a second, Adam Mahoney knew that it was dead. Void of life regardless of its hulking facade. No one at work, no one at play, no one anywhere. A wave of emotion crashed through him with such force that he had to stop the car and stare. His unblinking gaze belied the strength of paralyzing feelings swirling in his gut. As water began to pool in the corner of his eyes, Adam Mahoney, the last man standing on the face of the earth, felt the magnitude of a complex truth; he was achingly, unshakably lonely.

All words and images ©2009/J. Colle

1 comment:

Laura Jean said...

that was really eerie. In a grasping way.