No hawk-rabbits in the road. No car-rabbits either. I straighten the curves, lines of light flowing back and forth beneath my car.
Maybe i should lie: A hawk-rabbit is on the road, a spot of light sitting on the edge, passing me as i follow the flowing lines. The lines become hotter, more liquid, streams of butter sizzling. I splash through, sledding in a great hollowed-out sausage, me a creature that resembles a green bean or preying mantis, guiding the hot sliding sausage. The holoride comes to an end and i climb out of the car and clatter toward the exit. A parent is there, blocking the exit while eating on of its brood, and i have to wait. When it starts in on a second one, my leg tips click with impatience, but the parent ignores me and slowly finishes up. Other clicks come from behind me, and the parent eventually exits and lets the rest of us through.
I stop for gas, buy dumb things in the mini-mart. Uninspiring road snacks. No goldfish for me. Local newspaper features local newspaper headline. Cashier. Back in the car. Merge.
Slow car ahead of me – an older driver. They can never stop driving – slower and slower, older and older, life force tied to the speedometer. If they let the car come to a stop their hands would clutch the wheel with a death grip, not to be broken till the jarring of the tow truck caused the dried husk to crumble onto the seat and floor. And so they drive, slowly and carefully, age and speed optimized by necessity and fear.
I wonder if they ever think to floor it on the highway, faster and faster until they have trouble reaching the gas pedal, maybe a heavy book or umbrella jammed on the pedal so it can be forgotten, faster and faster, till the small child is staring over the top of the wheel in fear and the car veers off into a tree or ditch throwing the infant driver free at last, free at last....
Or would they remain bound to their fate, aging to shrunken dessication in the second of flying through the windshield, ancient bones shattering when they hit the ground? Car to ashes, bones to dust.
Would any go faster, just fast enough to be young enough to have a chance to survive the leap from the car, abandoning it? Maybe with no driver to age, the car itself would age as it rolled to a stop, a musty rusted decaying thing on the side of the road.
The driver slows and turns ahead of me – i'll never know.
Hitchhiker – doesn't have a skull for a face, but still maybe not safe? I pass by, see them swoop away in my rear view mirror, gone in a ruffle of darkness. Maybe i've lost a gift that might have been. Oh well.
Every freeway onramp has a unique spirit. Most aren't malicious, but many are disconcerned with the humans that pass through their realm, allowing drivers to become distracted and dangerous to others.