Somewhere in the deep woods of North Carolina. A two-lane highway. The middle of the night. It’s dark outside.
Thomas is driving with his windows down because his AC doesn’t work. The gust coming from the window helps him think. He is on an all-night drive back to his hometown. His dog, Rascal, sits beside him.
He’s left Houston forever. His girlfriend dumped him for his best friend. A guy Thomas might have even asked to be his best man. When he discovered the affair it was the worst double betrayal of a lifetime. It was like being stabbed from both sides.
So he’s bitter. He’s angry. Thomas does not believe in anything good anymore. The world is out to get him. There is no such thing as love. People are inherently bad. Santa Claus is a jerk. The Easter Bunny is evil incarnate. And there is nothing sacred in the sky. Nothing whatsoever. The sky is empty.
This is not Thomas’s best year.
So he is going home with his tail tucked. He quit a comfortable job
at a great company. He left his apartment and took his most basic belongings.
Two-lane highways in the Carolinas are vacant in the midnight hours. They cut through hilly, tree-filled valleys like a ride at Six Flags. Sometimes you’re lucky if you pass one or two cars at night. Some highways are poorly lit, others don’t even have reflective dots in the middle of the road. Old rural routes can be dangerous.
Here comes a pair of headlights. The two lights are rocketing down the center of the highway, careening straight for him.
Thomas honks his horn. The lights don’t change course. They’re traveling seventy, hogging up the whole highway, riding the middle line.
In a microsecond, Thomas runs through his options. Veer right? No, there’s a steep embankment. Left? Nothing but big trees. He’s a dead man, that’s what he’s…