The road was dark and winding. Behind them, to the west, there was a glow at the horizon, but it wasn’t enough to penetrate the night that had taken hold in the sky above. They had seen no other cars for over an hour.
She finally broke the silence that had dominated the drive so far. “Are you sure we’re going the right way?”
“I’m not sure. I think this is the right way, but I don’t know for certain.”
“Then why are we still going this way?”
“Because there is no other way to go.”
“How about back? We could go back.”
“Do you want to go back?”
The question gave her pause as she considered the implications. “No, I suppose not.”
“And that’s why we are going this way.”
They fell back into silence for awhile. She stared at the stars, noting that their positions had shifted but unable to detect their movement. The car’s sudden stop brought her abruptly out of her absorption in the night sky.
“What the…?” She saw a deer stopped in the middle of the road. After a moment, it ran away. “Luckily you saw that in time.”
“Yeah.” He didn’t start driving again.
“What are you doing? We need to keep going.”
“What if it didn’t happen? Maybe we could go back?”
“No, you were right earlier. We can’t. See that light along the horizon? I don’t think it’s the sunset. And if it didn’t happen, we’ll find out later.”
“What if there is no place left to go?”
She started to worry. “Look. Snap out of it. We worry about those things later. For now, we keep moving. Hopefully, this gets us to the bunker, but even if it doesn’t, it’s better than standing still. Now drive!”
Her command seemed to release him from his paralysis and he stepped on the gas. She studied him carefully, trying to reassure herself that he was okay enough to drive.
“Do you want me to take the wheel?”
“No. I’ve got it. Sorry. I guess it’s all just getting to me.”
“I don’t blame you. If you need to freak out, that’s fine. Just let me drive.”
“No. Really, I can manage. At least for my shift.”
“Okay. How’s our fuel situation?”
“About half a tank. But the extra cans in the back will let us drive through tomorrow at least, even if we don’t find a station.”
They drove in silence for a while longer. Still there were no other cars on the road, no sign of any other human beings. When the silence was broken next, he broke it.
“Do you think we’ll be alright?”
“I don’t know. No one’s ever done this before.”