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Driving Buddy

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There are two men in a car and it’s the end of the world.

This isn’t a fact that surprises either of them; it’s been the end of the world for a while, after all, and neither of them are dead yet, though both are quiet as corpses.

The radio comes to life suddenly, as if the car was physically unable to stand the silence between them.

“Don’t trust the roads!” the voice on the radio yells. “They won’t lead you to where you need to be. They’ll—”

The voice is cut off with the sound of static, and with the roll of his eyes, the driver turns the radio off. This is his car—or, it was his friend’s car, but it’s his now—and his driving experience is most definitely not enhanced by weird voices. This is a storm chasing car. Not a paranormal activity car.

“Are we even on a road?” the other man asks. He’s anxious. Normally, he’s the one driving someone around. The role reversal is something he doesn’t like, even if he’s enjoying the company.

“If we can drive, it’s a road,” The Stormchaser replies confidently. The Courier considers this for a moment. Makes sense to him.

“Yeah,” he agrees. “If we drive somewhere and the tires don’t pop, we’re probably good.”

“It’s the end of the world,” The Stormchaser says. “All roads are a suggestion anyways. All road signs are probably a suggestion, too, which is great because I can’t see shit through this fog.”

“Should we be worried about that?”

“Hasn’t killed us yet.”

The two are silent for a moment.

“Hey,” The Stormchaser says. “If there were like, no cops or rules on driving at all, what do you think the fastest way to travel would be?”

“Giant fields,” The Courier replies immediately. “Pick-up truck.”

“What?”

“We cross giant fields in a pick-up truck. You’d never have to worry about a bump on the road again.”

“I might have to worry about other bumps, though.”

Before The Courier can answer, The Stormchaser swears and hits the breaks.

“I thought you said we weren’t going to obey road signs!” The Courier accuses, looking more than slightly frazzled.

“I thought I saw a duck,” The Stormchaser explains. The Courier sighs. “I can’t hurt an innocent animal, even if it is miles from where it should be.”

“Miles?” The Courier repeats. “Where are we?”

“Slightly left of where we were yesterday?”

“And where were we yesterday?”

The Stormchaser just shrugs. He doesn’t seem at all bothered by this fact.

“We could be anywhere in the world,” The Courier says.

“That’s not true. We’re probably not in Hawaii. We’d’ve had to cross an ocean.”

“How the hell did I decide to hitch a ride with you?” The Courier asks him, distaste clear in his tone.

“Who knows?” The Stormchaser says easily. “Maybe this is just a dream. Or maybe you ran out of gas and ran in front of my car to flag me down because you didn’t want to stay out in the middle of nowhere and I felt bad because I totally almost hit you.”

“That doesn’t sound like me,” The Courier says, uncomfortable. He’s pretty sure he was never that impulsive. Not before, at least.

“Must be a dream then,” The Stormchaser says. “Let’s hope there’s some good music.”

He turns on the radio.

Through the static, they hear birds chirping.