Journey for Answers – Chapter 18 “Back Again”

They gathered all their stuff and jumped in the van. Matthew quickly turned the keys. Revving sound from engine left all birds leaving their trees and into the air. Black smoke left the exhaust of the car. Tires stretched the dirt under them and the van left the peaceful riverside early in the morning. Matthew held his hands on the wheel, without a second thought he went after Mike. Last night he explained to Matthew where to go. The place which Matthew never heard about, but navigation recognized the name. He looked for things to talk about Caroline, but further than small talk never occurred.

“You sure where we have to go?” Caroline tried to talk to him, but every time Matthew answered evasively.

“No, but the navigation does.”

Silence raised up, and sound from stereo entertained them along the way to the destination. Following the navigation, Matthew wondered about the ways how Mike got out of the situation. Yesterday when Matthew got a call from Mike, he demanded to know the truth. Being devastated from Carolines lie, he asked Mike truth and nothing but the truth, because he was getting sick of lies. Mike evasively told him that he’ll explain once they meet up. Details like that can’t be discussed over the phone.

Thinking, that Mike is waiting for him at the end of the destination, after half an hour if he can trust navigation, he pressed the gas pedal harder and ventured off the dirt road onto the asphalt. No other particular thought in his mind but Mike circled around. Matthew had so many questions, but almost no answers to them. Cluelessly they drove to Mike. With silence covering the whole van, and music slightly entertaining both of them.

Finally, when Matthew arrived at the destination he couldn’t see Mike or anyone matching his description. He parked his car in a less convenient parking spot and stepped out of the van to look for Mike on foot. A place where he lead him to was a huge square in the middle of some town. The town which name he couldn’t pronounce nor understand. Everyone in the town seemed happy, except the elderly. Matthew stepped into the center of the square and tried to call him on the number he called him yesterday. It rang, but on the other end strange voice answered – it wasn’t Mikes. The voice on the other end sounded old, elderly. At that point, Matthew understood that Mike asked some random guy for a phone call, and kept calling until Matthew answered. Caroline waited at the van while Matthew stood in the middle of town square. Suddenly Caroline got approached by a familiar voice.

“What is he doing?” she turned her head, and it was Mike.

“Mike! Holy shit mate, you’re alive.” She raised up from the vans side opening on which she sat and hugged him. “How’d you got out of there?”

“We’ll get to it later, for now, we have to go.” He was serious.

“Okay, sure, let me call for him. MATTHEW!”

She shouted for Matthew and he turned his head immediately towards to Mike. With happiness on Matthew’s face, he stormed to Mike. When he arrived at the van Mike quickly stated.

“We have to go Matthew. Like now, we have to go now.”

“I don’t understand.” Matthew stood clueless in front of Mike

“I’ll explain on the way, but can we please get moving now?”

Matthew nodded and all three of them got in the van. It took them just a few minutes to get out of the strange town and towards the highway. Again, empty fields hugged them from both sides and they found themselves on the road once again. The same wind blew inside the van from front windows and the same voice now filled the van again. They got on the highway, on their way to Poland, and Matthew turned his voice to Mike, lowering the volume from the stereo.

“Mike, it’s a miracle you’re with us now. Care to elaborate on how you did that?”

“It’s a simple man. I just bribed them, technically.” Matthew’s eyes widened from how calmly he said that.

“Bribed them?”

“Well not like bribed them. I’m simple bought my way out of there, and you’re probably wondering how.” Mike grinned funny

“Emm, yes?!”

“Yeah Mike, how’d you did that?” Caroline joined their conversation

“So, they dragged me to the station and told me that I have to wait for an answer from our police department, and they told me that it could take days for an answer to reach here. While they wait for an answer, they decided to drop me in the holding. Quickly I made a friend there because you don’t want to be in a foreign holding cell with no friends. In the end, I turned out making a deal with one of the guys there. I knew I have cash here in the bag,” he lifted a bag with envelope, which laid in Matthews van all this time “and I can pay him with it, once I’m out.”

“Okay.” With eyes full with surprise he looked at Mike and nodded to continue

“Later on he made a phone call and all guards went outside, except one. One who opened my holding cell. That guard showed me back door and town where no cop goes, usually. In that town I found the nearest bar and asked for someone if I can use a call from their phone, telling that I got robbed.”

“And that is when you called me.”

“Exactly. So, what you’ve been up to the last day?”

Both of them blushed and said no word, they didn’t know what to say. They only gave stare into each other eyes and turned heads towards the road. Matthew drove them, while Caroline sat beside him, staring through the window and looking for a way to talk to Matthew. Mike was back into his mattress and asking Matthew questions about the weed – if they smoked or touched it. Mike never receiving question because of the loud engine in the back and poor Matthew’s hearing, began looking for it on his own. Mike forgot that he is the only one who knows where it is. Five minutes into search and Matthew heard ‘fuck yeah’ from the back of a van. Quickly glancing over his shoulder he saw Mike, holding a weed pocket.

“Matthew, I think we have to make a stop and hotbox the living out of this van.”

“Caroline, you okay with this?” he turned his head to her.

“Yes, sure. I could use some of that as well.” She was happy that he cared for her, and smile raised on her face.

“Okay then. To some unknown location towards Poland.” Mike shouted from happiness and looked outside the van, catching a sign ‘Poland 153’ with his eyes. “Matthew, after fifty kilometers we could drive off the highway. Wake me up when you do that.”

“Sure.”

Matthew turned up the volume again and drove off to a place where they could blow off some steam. Caroline looked at Matthew with a determined face and said.

“I’m sorry that I lied to you, I hope you forgive me.”

“I’m not mad at you. I’m just trying to understand why you did what you did, and I just need some time to process it.” He smiled at her, she smiled back, and they shared a smile with each other.

“I hope I’ll understand why I did what I did myself.”

They winked at each other and laughed it off. Mike overhearing their conversation began closing his eyes. Sitting on the mattress, closing his remaining one eye and with both arms crossed began falling asleep. Asleep to await when Matthew wakes him up when he’s driving off the highway, to take the edge off from the thing he just witnessed.


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