“Pepsi employee killed in Hawkins car crash.”
“Maine Vice Mayor Deaver killed in car accident in Castle Rock.”
“Woman ‘dead’ after car crash found alive in morgue.”
The news reports on radio echoed through her whole car as she indulged her third bottle of Russian Standard. Weird, she thought; she has been hearing news about road collisions all day. She was sure that the alcohol wasn’t intoxicating her mind to hear different things, she knew she was still sober. Everybody knew she always had low alcohol tolerance, even herself knew that; now she couldn’t even taste the bitterness of the liquor, she feels it inside of her. Drinking was the thing her mother told her to never do, perhaps because it turns her father into a monster with a closed fist as a weapon.
She looked at her rear-view mirror and realised she was travelling alone on an empty road. People had told her before to never travel alone in Derry Road or else something might happen. She wasn’t travelling; she was running away. It fits her, she thought, she and the road were the same; they were both empty.
She heard an unfamiliar noise, like the sound of a steel colliding with another steel. She had realized that her car engine died while she was driving. “Seriously?” she said to herself, “Is everything I own dead now? Like me?”
She stepped outside of her car and walked to find any gasoline stations or houses that could help her. There is no luck for any signs of functioning establishments on an empty road like this, she thought. However, a place filled with buried muscle cars, abandoned pickup trucks, and old bulldozers caught her attention. It’s an empty road. How is there supposed to be a car junkyard? She thought to herself. What’s even stranger is, she didn’t see it while she was driving.
“Well this day couldn’t get any weirder,” she said. First she couldn’t get drunk after drinking three bottles, then she kept on hearing news about car crashes, and now she suddenly saw a car junkyard out of the blue? She opened her hood and a massive smoke appeared, causing her to inhale it. She was coughing while staring at the oils leaking. She didn’t know what to do. She had no choice but to look for people who could help her with her car. She didn’t know anything about it, she didn’t even know what the problem of her car was. She glanced at the sky and saw the sun was slowly setting as well as her hope in what’s happening. She thought to herself, maybe this creepy car junkyard could actually help her.
She walked towards the old car junkyard and the sight of it surprised her. Her eyes widened when she saw people hanging out, beer bottles everywhere, and some couples having the time of their lives.
“May I help you?” A long haired guy who was wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt appeared by her side. She was having second thoughts in answering him back, but she really needed help, especially if she reeks of alcohol on an empty road.
“Yes, actually I was driving and then my car suddenly stopped. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but a smoke appeared and the oils were leaking. I figured you can help me.”
“You think we know everything about cars just because we’re hanging out in a car junkyard?” He asked while laughing. Her embarrassment was overflowing at that moment which caused her to look down, she was still hearing the guy’s chuckles.
“I just guessed. I think.” She said this while looking at the ground since she was too humiliated to look at him. Much to her surprise, his laughter was no longer heard. “Thank God.” She whispered to herself.
“We’ll see what we can do. At the moment, why won’t you just join us?” Join them? Like hang out with people who are in this creepy junk yard? She stood still while ruminating on what she should do. She was feeling a little scared that maybe these people are actually killers or ghosts but there wasn’t really anything to lose for her. This is the place she'd rather be than her house where her mistakes and failures are always included in their dinner conversations.
She walked towards people who were about her age. Girls with vibrant hair colours looked at her from head to toe, some of them smiled at her that caused her to smile too.
“Your car died?” asked a short haired girl holding a beer bottle.
“Yes. This day couldn’t get any worse. Life couldn’t get any worse, from losing everything you have to people you trusted betraying you. My life is as worthless as my rotten car.” she uttered. One problem she has always had was the inability to control her mouth. People tried to cut her tongue before, unbeknownst to them it’s a far more dangerous weapon than their sharp objects.
“If that ain’t the truth.” said the short haired girl while taking a sip of her beer. Seeing people drink their beer bottles triggered her, she was fighting the urge to go back to her car and finish the remaining bottles of her Russian Standard.
“You want one?” the short haired girl asked while giving her the beer bottle. She just shrugged and shook her head, she was never a fan of beers.
The people in the car junk yard continued to hang out and drink their beers. They talked to her and even told some stories, she was enjoying their company. Epiphany suddenly hit her when this one thought crossed her mind; people there talked to her and asked her questions, but they never asked for her name. She never knew even a single name. Abandoned cars, unusual but enthusiastic people, and a junkyard in the middle of an empty road. She was starting to think she visited the labyrinth of lost people with broken cars.
“I hope you guys don’t mind me asking but, who are you and what do you do here?” curiosity was evident in her voice. For the first time, she was starting to care about things.
“We live here.” A husky and deep voice replied, which sent shivers up and down her spine.
“You live here? Like you sleep inside the cars?” Her voice was filled with wonder and a little bit of fear. She has never heard of a lifestyle like this. What about their food? Their money? Their family? These questions surrounded the confused mind of hers.
“Yeah, you can say that.”
“I’m sorry if I ask too many questions but how did you guys meet? Like, were you all friends before or did you just meet here?”
“We all met because of one thing, our cars suddenly died. Actually, two things; our cars mysteriously stopped and we all had the desire to walk away from life.”
She immediately felt tiny little bumps over her skin. She thought this was actually a nonexistent place but she was right all along. She was feeling a combination of terror and nonchalance, like a person who is on the verge of death but has already accepted the fate that the heavens had stored for her. People already had their eyes closed while some are still staring at the constellations in the sky, wondering why their lives didn’t shine as bright in the dark as them. She’d rather sleep than look at the stars, for she knows her life would be much better with her eyes closed.
“Are you sure with your decision?” a soft but eager whisper awakened her from her thoughts. She saw the long haired guy staring at her, waiting for her answer.
“Are you sure you want to walk away from everything already?”
She looked at the guy with annoyance mixed with sarcasm. “What? I’m just sleeping. When my car miraculously work again, I’ll leave immediately.”
“You’re enjoying here, aren’t you?” She didn’t try to utter some words, she knew inside of her that he already knows the answer.
“I was like that too, you know? I thought this was the place where I can finally be free. I finally walked away from my problems, I don’t have to deal with never ending problems and challenges anymore.” He paused, which caused her to look at him and wait for his reply. “But that’s only what I thought.” He said this with a broken voice that she was sure she would never forget.
“But isn’t this junkyard truly for us? For people who failed, for people whose lives don’t deserve to continue anymore. Maybe our cars stopped for a reason, maybe our engines were never meant to be fixed. Maybe we were never meant to be fixed.” She felt tears slowly streaming down her face. She remembered the sight of her lover with the person she trusted the most, she remembered the bathroom floor filled with her own blood, she remembered the bruises on her face after the night her father got drunk.
“At first it was. It felt good. Until I realised that walking away from everything isn’t the solution. It doesn’t make things right, it actually makes them worse. The fact that you didn’t even try to fight is the worst thing.” She felt it. She felt his pain. She didn’t even know who this person was but one thing is for sure, she felt everything this guy had been through.
“But I tried, you know? I tried everything and life still gives me the same, eternal problems that I will never find solutions to.”
She could see his hazelnut eyes travel around her. Her blue eyes that were filled with tears looked at the boy who told her more meaningful words than her own father ever could. “I was like that. I was dumb to think life will always be easy, that I can surround myself with happiness and positivity. But life isn’t like that. Your life will not always be like the rising sun because most of the time it’s a thunderstorm. But I was more dumb to think that the best decision was to run away. I heard all about this place ever since before. I drove all the way from my place to here, thinking I could escape it all. That’s not the right decision. There isn’t a day here when I don’t think of my mother crying while I was in the hospital bed, wondering what she did wrong. I gave up on life when the people in it didn’t give up on me. I was stupid for thinking that I could reach my destination immediately without having a journey. I was stupid to think that I can just drive for 1 kilometre and be at the place I want. It doesn’t work that way, life doesn’t work like that. There will always be a journey, a journey where your car’s engine will be dead in the middle of an empty road, but you will find a way to fix it and drive again.”
“So did you regret your decision?”
“Let’s just say I was too late.” She couldn’t find the right words, she didn’t know what to say. She lets him do all the talking for she knows he can never say these words again.
“Look, I don’t want to be the one who decides for you. Maybe you’re so fed up of everything, I get it. But I’m just asking you to think about it, before everything is too late. And piece of advice, if you decide to leave here, please, don’t ever look back.” Blue meets hazelnut, in that one occurrence, they knew their car engines aren’t the only ones they have in common.
She knew that if she walked away, she was never going to see him again. It seemed impossible that he would tell her his name, but she still took the risk and ask him for it. “Before I go, can I please know your name?”
“My name’s Kevin. Kevin Parks.” His face was filled with regret and sadness. Maybe saying his own name was a struggle for him, he knew he would never hear his loved ones say it again.
She nodded and smiled at him, it’s been too long since she put a smile on her face.
“I’m Rosa.” She said. He smiled, knowing she still has the chance to let the world know her name.
“Tell my mom I’m sorry.” And just like that, he disappeared. She was left alone with the chaotic mind of hers. This was everything she wanted, to finally walk away from everything.
She looked around all the abandoned cars and abandoned souls, this is the place she’s supposed to walk away from. The darkness, the surrendering, the giving up. The people disappeared and the smell of beer and cigarettes were no longer there. Silence was her only companion, and it was the most riveting thing she has ever stumbled upon.
She went inside the rotten car of hers and inserted her key in the ignition when her engine miraculously turned on. Hearing her father’s drunken shouts, covering her scars with bracelets, and seeing people who shattered her are the things she knew she will experience again; this reality lead to Rosa’s hesitance in leaving the car junk yard. However, she thought that maybe she could visit Kevin’s mother and talk about him when he was still not aware of this place. This place, this car junkyard filled with abandoned cars and souls unexpectedly shed a light to the road towards whatever destination she was meant for. For the first time in many years, the sun finally set in her direction again. The rear-view mirror was very tempting to look at, yet she gathered all her courage to put her foot on the gas.