The Harbinger – Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1 – ROAD TRIP

It was pitch black out and there hadn’t been any type of street light in over twenty miles now.  Jeff had no idea if he was even still on the interstate or not, so it was probably a good thing that he didn’t really care.  The needle on the speedometer was mostly a blur, but with the accelerator completely depressed, he was confident his Mustang was easily clearing 100MPH.  Jeff was on his way to Hoboken, from Little Rock, to visit his girlfriend Catherine with a “C”.

He had planned this trip for a week, carefully charting out his stops after researching worthwhile sites along the way.  Though he knew things weren’t going to go as planned when he saw the sign for I-155 instead of I-40, he didn’t let it spoil his joyride.  Now he was cruising along on “I-havenoidea” anyway.  Jeff had always been more of a flier than a driver and so this was his first real road trip in a decade and he wanted to make the most of it.

Of course, he would have preferred to fly except that his drunken relapse on the way to Miami Beach, from Colorado, earlier in the year had him blacklisted from several reputable airline carriers.  He met a college girl, Katie, who was terrified of flying.  He wanted desperately to get her on his flight so together they got wasted beyond recognition.  It was when they decided to play out a scene from Final Destination that they were finally dragged out of the terminal.  He’d just chalk that up to fate.  That’s what this road trip had become, his fate.

“Yeehaw!” he shouted as he popped his head out of the window. “Just like old times baby, just like old times” Jeff cooed as he caressed the dashboard of “Suzy”.

It was ten years ago to the day that his wife and young son died in an accident on their way to Disney World when Suzy spun off the road and hit a tree.  Another vehicle was involved and took the blame for the entire incident.  The driver was subsequently jailed for two counts of vehicular manslaughter.  The insurance paid to fix up Suzy and then Jeff parked her in the garage and covered her.

His son Owen died instantly in the accident.  His wife, Katie (Katherine with a “K”), lived for two months on a ventilator in a coma until her body gave in and she passed.  Jeff had been saving Suzy for Owen.  He kept her in mint condition for the day his son hit sixteen and he could proudly hand over the keys.  But that dream, along with countless other dreams, were destroyed that day.

The driver of the other vehicle was a single mother of two teenage girls.  She was tossed in jail and though Jeff didn’t know for sure, he just assumed that her kids were put in some type of foster care.

Ten years later it was just like old times.  Jeff was as drunk as a sailor and as high as a kite.  His vision was so blurred that he may as well have been driving underwater.  Luckily the horrible sound his tires made whenever he edged onto the shoulder helped keep him on paved road, though not in any particular lane.

His goal had started out innocently enough; then again, it had ten years ago too.  He had been sober and clean for over a year now, but this anniversary was too much for him.  He was a coward and the thought of facing the pain was overwhelming.  Or at least it was until he popped the bottle of scotch and one of those little pills the night before.  Notwithstanding the couple of times he fell unconscious; it had been nearly twenty-four hours of constant drinking, pill popping and joint smoking and he was loving every second of it.

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