Where: Hotel Lobby
When: Late Afternoon
What: Bobby just arrived and he's none too happy about it
For the first time in weeks, Bobby allowed himself to relax. With the windows of the truck rolled down and the warm, summer's breeze whipping by, he let his mind wander. He had his soul back. It hadn't been easy and God knows there were loose ends aplenty, but for the moment, he was going to allow himself to enjoy that measure of success. For the rest of the day, he was going to allow himself not to worry.
The road from town out to his salvage yard stretched on and on. Quiet. Peaceful. Empty. Slowly, the thought began to form behind the pleasant buzz of relaxation that blanketed his thoughts... The drive home shouldn't take so long. He snapped out of it the instant he realized that the roadside scenery became desert landscape. South Dakota wasn't really known for its desert plains.
“What in the hell...?” He blinked several times as he applied the brake to slow the truck and pull to a stop on the shoulder. The engine idled while Bobby took stock of the situation. There was nothing out ahead of him but empty road and sand. What was worse was that in the rear view mirror, he saw more of the same.
“One day. Just one friggin' day of peace. Was that too much to ask?” He threw the truck into gear and made a u-turn to head back in the direction he'd just come. “Hell, it's not even a full day left. Just a few hours.”
Bobby continued to grumble steadily under his breath. The accelerator sank lower and lower. The more speed he put on, the more the road stretched out before him. It didn't make any sense. Even if he'd fallen asleep at the wheel and overshot his turn off, he still couldn't have been more than a few miles off the mark. Or, so he thought.
He drove. He drove for hours, first in one direction and then back the other way. He tried taking the truck off road only to find himself confronted with the same damn road suddenly appearing right before him. Something was messing with him. He knew it, but he couldn't do anything about it. How did you confront what you couldn't even see? He couldn't even call for help... his cell phone couldn't find a hint of a signal.
“This is insane.” The sky was burning with the last rays of sunlight and soon it would be dark. What was supposed to have been a half hour ride from the Sheriff's station back home had turned into an all afternoon odyssey. Bobby's eyes burned from staring ahead and hoping to see something familiar. The bones in his hands ached from gripping the steering wheel more and more tightly as the day flowed by him.
Then he had a momentary jolt of hope when he saw a turn off into a driveway and a building in the near distance. It wasn't home, clearly, but it was something and he could feel himself starting to drift off behind the wheel in spite of his anxiety over the situation. Whatever was going on, maybe the answers he needed would be found inside.
Did he really believe that?
No. Not really.
He threw the truck into park in front of the hotel lobby door, killed the engine, kicked the truck door open, and marched inside.