Saturday Serial: Afterwards, Part 1

By ANDREW FLYNN, Storyteller

***

From now until summertime, Saturdays will be suspenseful on The Daily Damn.

***

Levi and Stephanie bombed it down I-57 in a late-model Chevy sedan, both hesitant to even momentarily gaze into their rear-view mirrors. They wanted to, but neither of them actually did. Levi’s hands gripped the steering column like driving straight was going out of style. All color had left his knuckles. Stephanie’s two hands were busy fumbling with the presets and other various buttons on the car’s stereo. Her knuckles were just fine.

“Will you quit fucking around with the radio already, you know it’s not going to work!” Levi exclaimed with his eyes shut.

Stephanie froze in terror for three or four seconds, and then pulled back and folded her arms. “OK, OK, frick! I’m sorry!” she shouted back so loudly that normally there would have been a ringing in both of their ears. Not today, though.

Both of them returned to the tension-drenched quiet.

It was the middle of the day on a mild June afternoon. That’s about to the extent of normalcy that could be found, recognition of what the clock read and the obvious weather outside. The rest of it was all new, akin to an infant’s first Christmas.

Zipping along at a ridiculous speed, Levi’s Impala rental car had gone from 80 to about 95 miles per hour since they had passed the city limits of the Windy City. This was of little concern to either of them. All that he and Stephanie knew was that they absolutely had to get away from the metropolis of Chicago as soon as possible.

“Look, I’m sorry I snapped at you,” Levi coaxed.

“No, no, I shouldn’t have tried in the first place,” Stephanie said. “Like you, I just want to know what happened to all those people back there.”

“Sister…we’ll find out soon enough.”

“Will we?”

“I sure hope so.”

“You don’t need to use the F-word, you know.”

“Yeah, I know. I realized that the moment it left my tongue.”

“You’re so much better than that, brother.”

The eerie silence populated itself back into the car. They each had a mutual desire to close their eyes and sleep for about the next 15 hours, but the adrenaline coursing through their bodies after the morning they had wasn’t about to allow slumber any time soon.

###

Next Saturday, you’ll find out why they got the hell out of Chicago so fast.

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