As Fast as She Can by Janna Miller
The open road starts with a gifted car, decorative flowers spray-painted in a fluorescent-bright parking lot. A girl laughs as drips run over the trunk, petal-yellow rivers channeled on baby blue. A 1979 Pontiac Bonneville can go 112 miles per hour with the pedal pressed to the floor.
“Watch out for animals, their eyes reflect.” The other girl squeezes her shoulder, willing them forward in pitch black. No streetlights, no moon. They fly past the animal cemetery and prefab baptist churches. The week before, the other girl goes around the railroad safety bar, the train light blinding. She could not be late, or the father pulls her down the hallway by her hair. Though this time, the other girl doesn’t think of her father, or her hair. She barely breathes. “Go faster,” she says.
Years later, the road snakes without lights, without the other girl beside her. Just the girl alone. The black tarmac and shrouded trees do not end but twist. She does not know how fast this car can go, only how to follow the lines, to turn in reflective curves. Her foot hovers over the pedal, itching. A train moans into the night, somewhere else. The girl could not say where.
Librarian, mother, and minor trickster, Janna has published with SmokeLong Quarterly, Cheap Pop, and Scissors and Spackle. Nominated for Best Small Fictions and Best Microfictions. Generally, if the toaster blows up, it is not her fault.