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san antonio rose

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The voice on the radio is crooning about some rose, and the moon, and a town called San Antone.

"Is that where we are?" Sam asks. She turns to look at you from the passenger seat, eyes shining more than usual in the moonlight. "San Antone?"

You shrug. "Maybe?"

Sam sighs. "Are you alright, Cheryl?"

"At the risk of being cliche," you say, and shrug. "Maybe?"

Your girlfriend quirks a smile, but she doesn't seem completely reassured. "Seriously. You've been quiet for a couple days now."

"It's just..." You sigh. "How long are we going to keep doing this?"

"Doing what?" she asks.

"This. Driving nowhere, and going to tourist attractions like we haven't fought off the goddamn military." You take a deep shuddering breath, willing yourself to stay focused and keep your eyes on the road. "Like I haven't raised the dead."

"Yeah," Sam says. You can see her look out the window out of the corner of your eye. "I...I don't know what else to do."

The singer bemoans broken songs and lips so sweet and tender. "We can't just keep going."

"I know," Sam says. "I...where do we stop? I mean, Stoke-on-Trent is--"

You think of the wall surrounding the town you had a hand in destroying, and mutter, "Yeah."

"Can you still..." Sam's words die before she finishes her sentence.

" the same degree," you admit. "But...I can still sense things. I'd have some control, I think, if I really concentrated."

You don't say that you feel like you're never going to be the same person you were before you got the bone. You don't say that sometimes you feel like you've evolved past humanity. You don't say that sometimes you feel more like the undead you control than a person.

"Oh," Sam says. Her voice is small, and you're not sure if that's in respect or worry or awe or...what.

You drive in silence for a few minutes. "Is the song looping?" you ask after a minute or two."

Sam pauses, then bursts out laughing. "I...I think it is!"

"Maybe that's where we go," you say. "San Antone."

"San Antonio," Sam says, then puts a hand over her mouth. "Are you sure?"

"No," you say, honest to a fault. You always have been. "But I think we've been through too much to ignore signals like this."

"Rose of San Antone!" the radio blares, suddenly at full volume, and the car swerves in your momentary shock.

"Okay," Sam says, breathless. "That's a pretty clear signal."

"What would we even do there?" you ask.

"Run an occult shop," Sam suggests.

"Is that your dream job?" you tease.

Sam's face turns bright red, though you can barely see that in the darkness. "Maybe."

"I guess...San Antone it is," you say.

"Yeah," Sam says. "Yeah."