Natalia walked down the highway between towns, his stepping rhythmic, droning almost. He wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings, occasionally stepping onto the shoulder or pacing into the lane absently. His mind was in the past, all he could see was the places he had left behind. None of them had what he was searching for, but it didn’t matter. He had to keep looking.
“I can’t believe you scratched it! That was a really rare record you know. I’m not lending you anything anymore!”
He could hear Casey’s voice now, echoing in his ears. He shouted, right there on the highway, preferring the his own voice to having to hear her anger, her regret, her disappointment replaying itself over and over in his head.
“I’m sorry, I’ll find another one. I swear.” Natalia repeated the words he said at that time.
He couldn’t afford a car, and the bus didn’t stop at most of the towns, but he was certain someone somewhere had it, had the Stained Class vinyl from 1978.
Natalia stood at the edge of town. He smiled as he walked through. He knew he wouldn’t find it here and he couldn’t stand how he would get his hopes up every single time he arrived at each new place. He was just laughing at himself. At his own impending failure. Nat decided to turn off the main road for a bit. The highway, lined with trees and cut through stony hills was getting tiresome. He walked into the town, much smaller than the one he just came from. Maybe, he thought, he’d find what he was looking for here. He passed a few houses and hit the end of the road, a three way intersection. To the left he could see that there were more homes, but also a small park. On the right, houses lined an uphill incline on both sides. Nat was tired, having already been disappointed today so he decided to skip the hill and turn left. Maybe that park would have something of interest. It was cold and the park had no visitors.
He followed the gravel path that wound through the grassy park, passing the occasional tree. After a couple minutes of walking, the trees got thicker and thicker. He crossed a small footbridge and the path started lean to the right. Natalia assumed that this was because it was looping back to where he started, just like everything he did. He huffed and continued on his way, the forest getting more and more dense. He looked into it, through the trees. He could see the park entrance through the foliage on his right, but on his left it was dark. He nervously kept in eye on his left side. Walking, Natalia noticed a path, a faint line of padded grass and underbrush that lead into the woods. He stopped, looking at it. It was probably a trail made by kids. Or hooligans. Maybe it lead to a fort. Or to a fire pit. Nat looked around. No one. He took his first step down a different path.
The trail was winding, going over lumps and fallen trees and under low hanging branches and leaves. Natalia sighed, almost climbing his way through the path. A few times it almost felt like he lost his way. After ten or so minutes, Nat was defeated and he stopped. He looked around, feeling lost and disappointed. The trail wound ahead of him, and he knew he should follow it to the end even if he can’t see where it goes. Natalia ran down the trail and in moments broke through into a clearing, right in front of him a mudslide leading down He reached behind as he rushed forward and grabbed the nearest tree to stop himself. The trail had broken out into a dark pond. The kind of pond that’s surrounded by trees and heavy brush on all sides, the kind of stagnant pond that no one would ever swim in or even drink out of. Natalia looked around, feeling very uncomfortable. He had followed the trail hoping for something, but he wasn’t expecting this. He could feel a rage welling up inside.
I hope that was of interest to you. The second half will be released on Monday or earlier, I’m just finishing up the final (third) draft of it. Feel free to comment on it, point out errors or flaws, or even things you liked! I’m here to improve, not pretend I’m the best.