Sunset 31

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It was probably the last month of sunsets, Maryn reasoned. Her fingers tensed around the wheel as the tires rode from the highway onto the cement of the bridge, and the rythmatic ccacccc, cacccaccc made her mind race along with the headlights coming the opposite direction. The railing flew by, the green signs were there and gone again, the car rushing underneath the structure that held them.
There were bullet holes and burn marks in the signs. They matched the wounds along the ride side of her car–a long burn from the driver door to the middle of the sliding back door. She could see the scars of the surrounding cars reflecting in the sun’s orange and silver glow. It was a common thing now. A sort of brotherhood…a bridge between the stranger that was driving the Honda and the one head-thumping in the Camaro.
“Mom, are we there yet?”
“Nuuhhmmm. Not yet.” Maryn squeezed the wheel again. The bright colors of the sunset no longer seemed warm and comforting, now that she remembered their destination. They were blazing, burning, like gunfire and hazy smoke–like a bomb had ripped a bloody stripe across the sky.
“But Mom—.”
“I know baby.” She stifled a sob, holding back the pressure in her throat; nearly choking on it.
As the car’s tires hit the highway and the rhythm ceased, she wondered where the other cars were headed. The shelter? An office? A hotel? A home?
Maryn moved one sweaty hand off the wheel and leaned it against the window sill. The white hospital band slid  down her arm.
Whoever they are, wherever they were going. Did any of it matter?
She watched the sunset fade behind the line of pine trees. “31” She whispered, but not loud enough for him to hear.
Either way, it was the last month.

(picture taken on October 1 of a sunset above a bridge along Highway 70 in North Carolina)

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