A short story inspired by something I saw while hitching home, more to come when I get time.
And thanks to Deanna for her recent short story that also go me tempted to finally write a bit again @xdeelynnx oh and i'll tag @xxxlovelylollipop because i'm LONG over due for giving her more writing ;)
*Added a second part*
‘One foot after another’
It echoed like a mantra over and over in Harveys mind.
‘One foot after another…’
Everything was still around him, everything but the constant shimmering of liquid heat that engulfed the dust coated buildings and soaked into the black glistening tarmac. The air was heavy and the sharp tang of hot asphalt was all he could smell. He’d not seen a single living soul since he’s walked into town, other than an old timer sitting still and dilapidated on his rocking chair. Harvey couldn’t tell if the man had been alive but his eyes were closed and his face was more worn than the sand blasted building behind him so Harvey had moved on without saying a word.
Town wasn’t really right to describe this tiny collection of ramshackle buildings and for sale signs. Relic seemed more fitting, or maybe ‘vintage’.
Harvey stopped for a moment and drew the back of his hand slowly over his forehead, sweat mingling with dust. He looked around him at the low buildings and scrub that rambled off in all directions cut through by the long straight jet black road. The sun was high and beat down with a tactile intensity, filling every exposed surface with its humming gold. Between the light where awnings or buildings got in the way the world vanished into an inviting inky cool blackness. As he slowly scanned the scene his eyes fell on one doorway. It was a small house squeezed in beside a side road and larger building, its entryway was hidden beneath a shaped stone arch that reminded Harvey of Adobe architecture.
The shadow cast by this awning obscured everything within with its abrupt black line. But resting on the stone pathway, lit with pale gold by the sun were a pair of bare legs.
They were pale and shapely clearly belonging to a young woman, who from this angle was entirely hidden from Harvey’s sight. Harvey paused and stared for a moment, the sight seemed so out of place. Like finding a flower growing in a lava field, his gaze passed from the legs to a large brown lump, that panted slowly on the yellow dust and scrubgrass lawn infront of the house.
Harvey savoured the scene for a few moments, then once again lifted his head to look down the long black road that faded into boiling heat haze in the distance. ‘One foot after another’
A few paces further down the road and Harvey stopped again. Turning he looked into the large brown face of the dog, it was panting slowly as it padded along behind him.
“Harvey!...Come here boy”
The voice, like the legs came out from the velvet darkness of the doorway.
“Huh?” Harvey said looking from the dog to where the owner of the legs’ head should be.
Smoke swirled out of the blackness followed by a face. She was young, early twenties. Her face was delicate and pale with keen light grey eyes and jet black hair that flowed down to her shoulders.
“Where ya headed?” She asked returning her cigarette to her pale red lips and extending both her hands to stroke and massage the huge face of the dog which had plodded back towards her.
“Home” Harvey said jutting his thumb vaguely over his shoulder towards the long straight black line of tarmac. “Is that dog called Harvey?” he added still slightly confused by the whole situation.
“Yeah. It’s funny, he usually doesn’t move for anybody or anything, especially when it’s hot.” The dog looked back at Harvey then walked past the girl and into the cooling darkness. The girl straightened up and stretched arching her back and craning her neck so her face was bathed in the white gold sunshine. She was wearing a one piece yellow sundress patterned with white flowers. It gave the impression of tissue paper, light and flimsy yet it conformed to her body perfectly like crumpled silk.
“Wanna beer?” She held his gaze with her sharp grey eyes, her hands resting on her hips. “
Harvey paused for a moment then looked away, back towards the long hot road ahead. “Sure, I guess I have time.”
Inside, the house was simple and cool. Every window was small and deeply set into thick stone walls, keeping the interior refreshing and dark. Within each window alcove were tens of small and medium coloured bottles that caught the light and shimmered, glittering as Harvey passed them.
They entered a bare light grey kitchen, it’s only furniture a simple wooden table and two wooden chairs. Harvey took off his hat and coat as the girl opened the fridge and retrieved two beers.
Harvey noticed as she sat down and handed him one, the tattoos snaking their way up and down her arms. On the right an assortment of tiny intertwining devils and demons wove around each other and her arm, tumbling and pouring towards her hand. While on the left a similar assortment of angels and cherubs seemed to be rising towards her shoulder.
“Thanks, I really needed this” Harvey said as he admired the condensation collecting around the bottle neck.
“You’re welcome. So where’s home?...there’s nothing along that road for miles.”
“It’s out there, I ain’t in no rush” He took a long drink from the bottle, feeling the cold liquid burning from his throat down into his chest. “I’m Harvey…like your dog” He nodded his head towards the quietly snoring brown heap near the door.
“Kaylee. I wondered why you turned when I called him back. Maybe that’s why he likes you…So you been heading for ‘home’ long?”
“Kind of. I’ve been avoiding time so I’m not really sure how long it’s been, but yeah…it’s been a while” Harvey paused for a moment. “Did you name him?”
“It was meant to be ‘Harley’ like the bike?...but I got it wrong so many times ‘Harvey just stuck” She took a sip of beer and looked over at the dog. “He seems to like it”
“Yeah it sounds about right for a dog. You ride?”
“I did, a couple years back. Never got too far though” She lit another cigarette, taking a long drag and letting the smoke slowly pool out of her into the still air.
Silence fell over the small room, Harvey watched her and the smoke. Kaylee raised one leg to her chest and closing her eyes used her arm as a pillow over her knee, while Harvey the dog snored peacefully in the corner.