The Fast and the Dead - Day 19

They froze in place, unwilling to take another step. Ben bit his lip. “We could go around,” he said in a low, whispery voice. “If it’s risen, at least we won’t be within reach.” Most of the cars on the road were in bad enough shape that the glass had long since broken, if it had survived the rioting unbroken in the first place.

Claire’s face was pensive in the moonlight, staring at the ground under them. It looked more like ground than road. The years of disuse had cracked and broken the blacktop to pieces and blown dust and dirt and seeds in enough quantity that there were stretches that looked more like wild lawn gone to seed than like an elevated highway. “I don’t think we have a choice. It’s gonna make a racket if it notices us.”

“Me neither, but if there’s one here, there’ll be more later. Guess nobody cleared the cars of ‘em. With the noise we made getting here I’m not real worried about them moaning themselves hoarse, at least not till we’re closer to the ground. Might even do us some good to have a distraction that can’t move.”

“I guess … as long as it doesn’t pull more up onto the road with us.”

They picked their way carefully to the other side of the road, making as little noise as possible. That ended up being more noise than either of them would have preferred; the remains of cars were packed in close in places, and bumping and brushing them was impossible to avoid. At times this would even cause bits of them to break off and fall to the ground. That wasn’t so bad in places where enough dirt had built up and things were overgrown, but on bare asphalt Ben found himself cringing.