Journey for Answers – Chapter 8 “Setback”

“Well, Matty. That is funny nickname by the way,” tiny smile raised on her cheeks “Seems like you and I are bonded now. And by the looks of it, you two had some fight or something like that, care to elaborate?” he explained her everything that happened from the time he arrived there, and her jaw dropped. “Holy… shit… her father is in that pile of ash. That is something I wouldn’t imagine mate. Wow.” She was speechless and continued processing why she’s there. Matthew pointed towards the bottle of unlabeled alcoholic drink.

“You want some? Seems like you could use a drink after the hearing something like that.”

“Yes darling, pass me that bottle.” She lifted the bottle and drank straight from the neck of it. “Okay, that’s better. Uff. That’s some strong stuff. So where were we… aha… the van. When are we going?” Matthew’s eyes were full with surprise, how did girl like her, could chug strong booze like that.

“Well, the reason why van is here now sits in that pile of ashes. And now we have a possibility of breaking down by the road – it can fail us.”

“Darling, it doesn’t matter, the journey is what matters. Besides, when my father took me on road trips, his van would break down almost all the time. We would sit by the road for hours. Either he got it running or one of his friends showed up. So, when are we going?”

“You seem very into this whole road trip I see.”

“Dude, first of all – I’m already slightly tipsy, that booze is sure strong and it’s giving me all sort of ideas,” she winked at him “Second of all – I had planned to go there anyway, after I met Ruth, and being ghosted like this, leaves me no choice to strap on.”

“Well, okay.”

The whole yard now felt differently, without Ruth and Edgar it wasn’t the same. No dogs were around anymore. The joy that dwelled there a few days ago disappeared along with Edgar and Ruth. They were the only ones there, and felling of Edgar’s spirit floating somewhere around, looming over them.

Matthew jumped straight for a steering wheel, while Caroline threw her last stuff in the back of it and joined him in the front. Something didn’t feel right about Caroline, how she out of a sudden appeared and was eager to get out of there, or it was just Matthews mind telling him all sort of stuff. He turned his keys and nothing; no sound, no lights on the panel – nothing, silence. He tried again and again, but still nothing. They both look at each other and cluelessly starred on each other. Matthews’ eyes slid over the panel one more time – another try. With hopes of getting it started, he turned the key. As much he wanted it to start – it just didn’t, no sound, nothing.

Both were sitting on front seats of a van, with the idea to leave this ghost inherited yard – onwards to the south. She rushed him with an idea to leave this place, but van refused to go like it wasn’t ready. Something wasn’t right, it just couldn’t quit like that. Matthew jumped outside and went back, to check the engine. Quickly Caroline followed him.

Back of the van opened like a big oven and wave of light heat hit their faces. His eyes struck with surprise when he removed a panel from the engine, which laid in the back of his van. Someone was here. The battery was gone, someone truly didn’t want him to leave – not yet. Matthew grew anxious and started ringing Ruth, in the hope she knew what happened. Sounds of ringing went almost for the second minute and still nothing. After few attempts, it began going straight to voicemail. Without reaching the last person who would have a clue what happened, he began pacing to Edgar’s garage. An idea about he having a spare battery, which he could find useful and keep his hopes up.

The door to garage felt heavy, almost like they were stuck on the ground. They had to be pushed with both of their strength in order to open them. With all their strength they opened the door. Pitch black darkness with cold terrifying feel emerged on them. The cold began comparing garage to Edgar’s basement, where he kept food for winter ahead. Besides darkness, there was something else, something darker looming around. Their both eyes and hands began looking for the light switch. Before Matthews eyes could begin adapting to darkness, her voice struck his ears.

“Here!”

She flipped the switch and all room filled with light. Right after she flipped it, a bunch of rats ran they direction and both of them looked for the closest thing to jump on. Matthew jumped on closes pile of spare parts; Caroline used the closest wrench and began swinging it, in order to scare them off her. All bunch ran out of the door, while some remain in dark corners.

“Fuck mate, this is creepy.”

In front of them stood Edgar’s old mustang. It lacked a lot of work on it and could use some paint job. Its rusted appearance made Matthew feel good about his van – about its rust spots.

They sniffed around every corner, around every tool he had there – nothing could seem like a battery. Minutes passed by and they still haven’t found anything. Finally, Matthew decided to take peek under the Edgars mustang hood. Optimistically he popped it open and start to examine everything under it.

Here! I think that is where the battery should be kept.”

Her words felt encouraging, but there was nothing, no sign of battery or anything that could serve them as one. That was it, he couldn’t start his van and there wasn’t anything that could help him in that. Matthew began looking around everywhere around Edgar’s property ‘There has to be a battery somewhere around here, he was mechanic for Christ sake’. His optimistic attitude began to fade away and anxiety raised. Matthews’ feet paced from one building to another. Caroline stopped following him after the garage and went straight to van. She sat on the side opening of it and watched how Matthew paced from one building to another, encouraging him often.

Clouds began covering hot summer beams and soon everything turned darker. Sunny Wednesday began turning darker and darker, minute after minute. After grey clouds followed darker ones, with a dark blue color mammoth cloud, who began hovering in their direction. The wind became much stronger, pushing clouds at the faster rate towards them.

“MATE, RAIN’S COMING!” she screamed in a direction of the last building he went into.

Matthew stood between the entry of some old house, with battery tucked beneath his right arm. With joy on his face, he quickly moved to the van and connected it to it. On old cars like his, it was easy to strap one in or out. Light rain began dropping on them as a warning.

After that, they would both jump into the front seat once more. He turned key in the ignition and still nothing – few lights vaguely emitted on a panel and that was it. His head lowered with sorrow. Behind every negative thought in his mind, he couldn’t figure out how to proceed further. Cluelessly they sat and Caroline struck an idea.

“Hey, dude. The old man probably had a charger or anything, right? Jumper cables or anything like that.” his eyes turned to her, full with bright hope.

“Yes. You’re right, he has to have something.” With both hands, he grabbed her head, kissed her on the cheek and stormed out of the van, towards to Edgar’s garage once again. She blushed slightly and began watching him through the window.

Through spider cobwebs and dust lying over most of his stuff. Stuff that seemed like wasn’t touched for weeks or months ‘were he repairing cars at all?’ Matthew thought to himself. Focusing his eyes on anything that could mean battery charger. Going through old car parts, through infinite piles of cables, lifting and putting down junk after junk.

When all hope was gone – a small corner of the red box appeared in his view. A relatively new box was hidden on the further corner of the garage. Under a few wrenches and cables stood box that caught his eye. He couldn’t make any of stuff that was written on it, the only thing he understood was name ‘volts’. Inside laid some battery charger looking device but seemed quite old. He brought it to a van and asked Caroline if she has seen anything like that.

“Oh yes. That is the charger indeed, but this will take you day or days to charge.”

“I just have to start it up, the generator will do the rest.”

“I know, but as I said. It will take you whole night to get your battery to that level when you can start a car. It’s that old.”

“You saying. If I’d wanted to charge it fully, I would take me days, perhaps a week?”

“Yes mate, it probably would.”

Matthew hardly exhaled connected battery to the charger and ran a cable across the whole yard, to a place where rain couldn’t touch it.

“I hope rain won’t get to it mate. What should we do meanwhile?” she flickered her dress and grinned.

“I have no idea, wait I guess.”

“That is a boring thought, dude, but as you say. Wake me up if there’s something interesting.” She leaned into soft vans mattress and laid on her back.

With the back of the van opened like an oven, gave Matthew place to hide from the upcoming rain. He would keep staring at the charger, like that could help it charge faster. He thought if he keeps staring at it would charge faster. Suddenly something started vibrating in his pocket. He pulled out the phone and name ‘Mike the Douche’ was on it. He thought about it for a few seconds; giving thought about ignoring it, but he couldn’t, he wouldn’t stop calling anyways.

“Ye man?”

“Matthew! You alive. Thank god.”

“Alive? What you mean by that?”

“You don’t remember, do you? Well, you had some night. Listen, I thought about your proposal, the one about going south.”

“Aha, what is it? How’d you changed your mind about it? And what I have to remember?” questions began piling up in his mind.

“Oh boy. Listen I’ll explain everything. Where are you now?”

“At Edg… I’ll just send you an address.”

“Yes. Do that and I’ll be on my way.”


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