Journey for Answers – Chapter 26 “Further to Highway”

Sun moved from their backs to top of their heads, gazing upon all three of them. None of them wanted this, but they had to do it all together. Like a team they kept pushing forward, trying to ignore the hot sunbeams which pierced through the wind. Often moments their skins sensed the refreshing wind, following up with a hot reminder about the sun in the sky. Matthew wished for the cloudy day, but every time he looked at the sky, his hopes for it vanished. While pushing through the heat he remembered about how he and Mike sat in that quarry a week ago. How easy it was to just let go of everything and lay into daily boredom. Matthew realized that he took that time for granted. Realizing that he should start doing something with his life before he falls into the abyss of constant routines. In the hot summer day, Matthews mind began drifting away once again, into the part where mingled most of his thought about life. It happened often. More often, if no one spoke with him for a while – like it was now. When Mike and Caroline were behind the van, and when Mikes complaining about the heat mixed together with the sound of the wind. Matthew was sure that Mike didn’t want this at all, not one bit. Although, he wasn’t sure about the Caroline. Matthew liked her, he couldn’t deny that. But questions about what is her ambitions in this journey mingled his mind. There was always Mike who interrupted Matthew whenever he tried to ask her such questions.

When the wind stopped for the moment and sounds that stood behind it revealed. Matthew finally heard the conversation behind the van. The vague sound of chattering about the Ruth, about Matthew and the heat in general. Matthew decided to ignore it and keep pushing through the hot summer day. Finally, he felt that a van became heavier. It required more effort to keep it moving forward. He stopped by the sight of Mike coming from behind him.

“Matthew. Don’t you think you should take a break? We’re have been pushing for the last hour or so. Do you even sure we’re going in the right direction?”

“Relax Mike, It’s the straight road ahead. There is no possible way we’re going in the wrong direction.”

Caroline shouted from the other side of a van. Matthew’s and Mikes eyes met each other, locking together for a brief moment.

“Mike. I’m positive we’re pushing in the right direction, and if I had to guess, then highway is another hour away from here.”

“But what then? What happens when we get to the highway? Your van won’t start on its self and magically start moving to Germany.”

“Are you always this negative Mike?” Matthew paused for a moment “From the highway, there are two options: walk for the gas station, which I don’t know how far is or try to hitch a ride and ask to pull our van to the closest gas station.”

“Or, we can dry that tractor in the field,” Mike pointed to the tractor which stood in the middle of a field “I bet it has some fuel in it. Your van runs on diesel right? If yes, then it’s the perfect solution at the moment.”

“Are you crazy Mike?” Caroline joined them “The last thing we need is some mad farmer after us. We can go and check if someone’s around, perhaps we can ask them for a fuel or ask them to take us to the gas station.”

“We could, but my idea sounds more interesting. What do you say, Matthew?”

Matthew opened the door of the van and jumped behind the wheel. Thinking about what to do now. Of course, Caroline had a point, none of them wanted to run away from the crazy farmer, well, everyone except Mike. Mike was always the crazy voice for Matthew, and most of the time it was fun following it. Now when there is Caroline who keeps telling Matthew the right thing to do, he can’t decide. Matthew sank into thought about what do do, playing countless scenarios in his head, while sitting behind the wheel. Out of a sudden, it hit him – the don’t have a hose for drying the tractor, or can where to fill it. After coming to that conclusion he said it to Mike and his face turned away from Matthew. Now Caroline stood beside the driver’s window and Matthew sat on the other side of it. He rolled down the window to hear Caroline whisper.

“Matthew, we should go and look around if there’s anyone near that tractor. If there is someone, he or she could point us in the right direction.”

“Yeah, but do you know the language?” Matthew whispered back

“No, of course, no. I heard that people here speak familiarly to Russian, at least sounds like Russian. You know Russian Matthew, right?”

“Well, some of the words.” He looked at Caroline and she nodded.

She put her hands on the door, leaned forward and kissed Matthew on the cheek. They both smiled like two teenagers. Matthew gave a quick look around the van and stepped outside. In that instance, he felt the hot beams of the sun hitting his shoulders. Matthew at this instance desired for breeze wind or cold water, but none of those things he could have at that moment. Water, which they had in the morning, was almost gone. The last few liters of liquid remained in the bottle. Matthew made a last run around the van, checking if the doors are locked before going for a tractor, to look for another human soul in this heat. After going around the van, he gave another look at the field where tractor stood. He continued starting to the field with tractor and he noticed it fading away like it wasn’t even there. He flickered his eyes, but nothing. The tractor was gone. It was like it wasn’t even there; like his mind drew this image of a tractor being there. Mike gave out weird sounds as he looked at the field. The three of them realized that they just hallucinated the tractor in the field, all because of the hot sun above their heads. Matthew sighed and rolled down the drivers window, gave a look to Caroline, nodding slightly. Caroline got Mike and went behind the van. The three of them began moving van again, and the wheels of it spun on the hot dirt. Again they continued pushing it towards the highway, hoping that they’ll get out of this hell.

“Seriously Matthew, you should keep a can of diesel in your van. Just in case you know.”

Mike shouted from the back of a van, while he kept pushing. After which he continued muttering complains under his nose.

“Yeah, yeah. Everyone is smarter after the war, Mike.” Matthew turned his head around to meet Mikes eyes “I promise you, Mike. If we get out of here today, I’m gonna by a can and fill it up with fuel so stuff like this won’t happen in the future.”

“Yeah. If we get out of here today. I don’t think I’m gonna survive your snoring another night in this tight space.” Matthew began laughing, and everyone else followed

“I call it: midnight performance by Matthew”

“I must say that this performance lacks a little bit of practice in the voice department,” Caroline added

Mike started laughing uncontrollably, while Matthew smiled at them and chuckled slightly. Laughingly the continued pushing towards the highway. Matthew vaguely forgot how far is the highway, but he knew that its gonna be after an hour or two in the worst scenario.

Matthew listened to the conversation between the Caroline and Mike, often joining them. Some of them aroused him, while some of them made him wished he haven’t heard them. After a while of listening, he joined their conversation about random topics. Talking all together made the time slip away faster. While the heat wasn’t going easy on them, the conversation between them all together made it feel less painful.

“How’d you think Matthew, Ruth likes you?”

Mike swang a question towards Matthew while giving a quick wink to Caroline

“I don’t really know. Week ago she sounded like she hates my guts, but now, now she’s all helpful. I don’t know what to make out of it.”

“I think she likes you. She just doesn’t have the courage to tell you this.”

“I don’t know, I would disagree. After all, we knew each other from the time we were little.”

“Don’t you think, that because you know each other that well, she would have a hard time to tell you have she feels?”

“Why you care about it out of a sudden?”

“I don’t know, I just want to pass the time. That is why I just say the first thing that comes out of my mind. So, what do you think Matthew?”

Both of them continued discussing the fact about Ruth and Matthews relationship when Caroline interfered with their conversation.

“Guys! Do you hear it?”

All group shut up. The wind picked up the speed and through its howling, they picked up another sound, sound which wasn’t natural. Matthew focused his ears on the sound which could barely be heard through the sound of wind.

“No way!” Mike released his hands from the van and turned around.

“Yes.” Matthew followed up to Mike.


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