27
Mar
09

from the edge of twilight: dustman

It’s been two days now – no sleep, limited food, only my need for water to keep the coffee and energy drinks from fossilising my kidneys is forcing me to good behaviour. I look a mess, but have to keep driving. Everything’s taking on a ragged woolly edge and my eyes itch like a Dali movie. Unlike me, he – it – I don’t know – won’t stop. When I wanted a movie-star lifestyle, I didn’t expect it to be Terminator with me as Sarah Connor.

I’d have to drive farther than the petrol in this car to get to convenient vats of molten steel since they closed all the steelworks and he’s too smart to stand under a steamhammer so he can be hit with it. I can risk refuelling again but if I use plastic, he gets a fresh trail. I learned that the hard way at the last roadside services, dumb luck saved me then – I can empty my account but it’s a slow painful process that brings him closer to me.

He’ll walk if he can’t steal a bike or car; he doesn’t tire. Stab him – he doesn’t bleed, just some kind of dust trickles out and then stops. Hit him with a baseball bat, he crumples and comes back. I haven’t seen how he reacts to being shot. It’s like he’s putty; a toy for a monster child. You hear about stalkers, serial killers and you thank God it’s not your problem. Jesus, Andrew I’m so sorry. You shouldn’t have tried to stop him. I have no idea why he’s after me.

I don’t know why. That’s the worst thing. If there was some kind of purpose to it – if we could understand his – it’s – motive I could put a brave face on. Hide outrage in rationales and march to war. Instead I’m here with no reason, poor Andrew in ICU wondering where the hell I am after two days. I’m an office worker, not some heroic tart with a shotgun and six months solid gym muscle. My man is in ICU and I should be with him…

I want to hate he – it. Can’t sleep. Can’t let him find me. This is protecting Andrew – the text message says so; the phone bleeps occasionally – it’s running low, like me. I’ve felt myself slip – what they call microsleeps – you can travel an eighth of a mile at the speed I’m going. Can’t. Can’t let him win. Can’t stop on this road yet – maybe the next service station. Another text bleep.

‘Look Up.’ What does that mean. The bridge. Oh no. He’s there! He’s going to jump on me – floor it now; ignore the speed camera just drive! Above the engine I hear a thud behind me and see the cars swerve to avoid the body – where’s the body – just a pile of dust being blown off the road by cross-winds, his clothes already tumbling under wheels, a lorry hits the brakes to avoid them and I’m gone.

Another text bleep. ‘Nxt srvis stn. 2 coffees.’ Smooth, whoever you are. Better get some water as well. My kidneys are killing me – I don’t know how long I’ve got before he comes back.

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