Journey for Answers – Chapter 21 “Other Pilot”

In the back of a van, Mike snored back up. They’ve had just stopped by the road, off the highway. Vanda’s water drinking habit turned into their stopping habit, and every time she would make an excuse why she drank so much of it. Catching glimpse of her walking out of a van, Mike leaned closer to the Matthew, who sat in the front seat, as always.

“Psst, man, it seems like a beautiful piece,” he howled softly “so, how far are we?”

“Somewhere in the middle or close to the middle of Poland. I warned that this part will be the longest.”

“I know, I know. I’ll go through if it means Amsterdam.” Both grinned.

“Caroline, psst. Your sleeping?” Matthew softly called for her. She muttered a few words, which sounded like words but no one recognized.

“Ya, she’s totally in still sleep,” Mike stated “Can we take a break? Like a quick smoke break?” he winked

“Naaah,” he gave pause “but on the other hand, why shouldn’t we, right?”

Mike smiled at his answer and they jumped outside the van. The night was rolling in, hiding the shine and warm of the sun. Cold wind breezed their legs because none of them wore pants. Pants were made for people who didn’t desire freedom; for those who desired warm and looks over the freedom. They saw Vanda as soon as they jumped out into the breeze evening, right beside the road. She was coming back from the forest which was on their side of a road, all finished with her ‘stuff’. Mike and Matthew looked at her while she was coming in their direction. Mike kept poking Matthew with his elbow and smiling. Once she arrived at them, Matthew raised a question.


“Yeeees Matthew?” the enthusiastic smile decorated her lips.

“Can you drive a van? Meaning. Do you have a drivers license?” there was curiosity written on his face

“Of course I have. My father kinda forced me to get one once I turned eighteen. I can’t blame him for it. It’s the very handy thing to have and I can only thank him for pushing me that direction.” She smiled

“Marvelous, simply marvelously.” Matthew pulled out the joint he prerolled and lid it up.

Parked on the roadside of a country road, with emergency lights on, illuminating space around them. The soft orange-yellow color pulsed while Matthew smoked a joint. He sat on the side opening of the van like everyone does and Mike accompanied him. Vanda was already behind the steering wheel, trying to adjust her seat and make herself comfortable. She could smell it from there but tried to not let that get in her head. Soon after a less than a minute she turned her head to Matthew.

“Is there something left on that candle?”

“Yes, you want some?” his hand came through the empty space of a van and he extended his arm with a joint in the end for her to reach for it.

“Thanks.” She puffed it gently, without coughing.

Matthew grew careless about the smell every time when there was someone else who could drive it. He thought it was the safest way for him. Not that he was selfish. It was his way of doing things; his way of not getting in trouble for such a stupid thing as weed. At some moments it seemed like Vanda don’t care about the trouble either. Like she said: “Enjoy the ride, not the moment you finish it”. He saw her as this young wild thing, jumping from one adventure to another. He couldn’t stop admiring her while he sat beside her in the front of a van. She didn’t even ask for direction, she just kept going forward, mostly straight. Matthew hinted the places where they should turn or go, surprisingly she memorized them all.

Pitch black darkness loomed in front of their headlights. Vanda and Matthew sat in the front, while Mike with Caroline was getting busy in the back. Matthew turned his head to check on them in some brief moments, but it was always the same picture. The moving blanket, which covered both of their bodies, leaving Matthew to wonder what was happening in the back of his van. He was high as a kite, and he kept thinking if Vanda is the same high, probably not, but thought about it didn’t left his mind. Glancing through the window or looking at her was the only actions he could do, other than wondering about the world.

“Matthew, you’re going to talk to me or kept staring through the window while drifting in the head of yours?” she laughed and smiled afterward

“Right, right, right. Don’t you need sleep or anything?” he asked her with a worried tone in his voice

“It’s okay, I can go for a few hours and if I’ll start getting tired, there’s always a gas station, right?”

“Well, okay missis confidence.”

They laughed it off and Matthew sank deeper into the seat. His eyes kept flickering open, close and open again. Matthew tried to keep it together, tried to stay up, but lack of sleep for the kilometers he covered on his own began to remind him of sleep. His eyes began closing and he could hear her voice echoing.

“You can take a break, I’ll manage on the road without you.” she gave a quick stare to him and smiled.

On that night he dreamed about voices, about voices surrounding his home. In the home where he slept at nights. He always felt safe there, in his house, but now it was different. It was like something was about to go off. Voices began sounding more thorough, louder. He tried to ignore them, but he couldn’t, it was too loud for him. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and he snapped out of it.

Matthew raised from the seat with a straight back. There was sweat coming off his body. Feeling dull about the what’s happening, trying to understand why there’s no Vanda in the front seat beside him. Suddenly everyone was missing, there was only him. No Vanda, no Caroline, and surprisingly, no Mike. No one to tell him about what he overslept. He rubbed his eyes with both knuckles and began staring through the window, on a strange figure which approached his van slowly. It was dark outside and the stranger blended with it. The black leather jacket camouflaged him into the night. Stranger finally approached his van, at the passenger’s seat. He didn’ bothered knocking on the door. Door swang open and next thing Matthew felt was his fist, landing on his cheek. It was a pain at first, the kind of pain he can only remember from high school when classmates would pick up on him. Sometimes it turned to fights, sometimes it was a silly punch. This was neither of those things. Strangers punch was quick and painless, leaving Matthew unconscious. He fell into a sleep in an instance.

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