Author’s Note: So this started out as a happier scene. They were having fun. They were singing along with Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” I’m not sure how this happened.
“Is this the sort of song that always plays when you travel?”
“It’s the sort of song that almost fits any type of road trip,” Luna said, turning the volume up as she switched lanes. She smiled, humming along as she tapped on the steering wheel and bounced in her chair. “On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again…”
He thought about telling her that they were, in fact, on the road, but there seemed to be little point in it. She already knew. She was singing along, like she always did when she was happy. He wanted her to be happy. Things were better when she was happy, when she could smile and laugh. Their trip had been fun, and fun—he had learned—was good. Very good.
“Are you laughing at me?”
“I didn’t laugh.”
“You were amused, though, weren’t you?”
“I was thinking about what you have taught me. There are many things, of course, but I was considering the concept of ‘fun’ just now,” he told her, pleased to see the wrinkles ease from her forehead and all the worry with it.
“We have had a lot of fun together, haven’t we?”
“Yes, and I think I would like to have fun forever.”
She grinned. “So would most people, but I don’t think it’s the same for you. Those idiots out there, they would never expect you to want fun. You’re a black hole, after all. Why would someone like you want fun?”
It was his turn to frown. “Luna—”
“The answer is, of course, that you’re the single most unique specimen of anything, any race or species. It’s not just about you being different from your species. It’s so much more than that. Think about it—you’re friends with lower lifeforms, you’re curious about them, and you care. You care about Alvin and about me, and that is rare enough on this planet.”
He thought he felt like squirming, and that was an unnatural thing. He was not capable of feeling discomfort. He did not have a true physical form. “I do not care for this… flattery. I think it must be inaccurate, and I do not deserve it.”
“Tynan, I wish you weren’t such a—” Luna stopped speaking as her foot slammed down on the brake, sending Alvin into the back of her seat. He let out a squawk in protest, flying around the rear seat in a panic.
She didn’t answer, too busy swerving the vehicle off the road as she tried to avoid the trucks that had collided in front of them. He’d been watching her, and he didn’t know how that had happened. He should have been paying more attention to the road.
“Damn,” she said, prying her hands off the wheel. They shook, and then her whole body trembled. “Are we all right?”
“Scared,” Alvin said, whimpering.
“I could not be harmed by that. Though… it could have turned into a disaster if I’d thought I needed to use my hunger to save myself.” The car listed to the side, and he grimaced. “I think that we have a flat tire, and it will be some time before we are, in fact, on the road again.”
Luna nodded, but her hand was on the door handle and her eyes on the truck from the far left lane, the one with the large cylinder sitting in such a precarious manner on its ruined flatbed. She frowned, biting her lip as the wind carried the snap of the strip bracing the cylinder in place to them.
He exited the vehicle, thinking that the cars screeching to a stop behind them should have been louder, but his eyes could not leave the cylinder, watching Luna’s hand as she pointed in the distance. “Tynan, if that thing gets loose… It’ll go right into the other lane. They probably won’t see it coming.”
“It might not fall at all.”
“Yeah, maybe not. I’m probably just being paranoid. Hard not to be after that close call.” She rubbed her hands over her arms, closing her eyes.
He reached out to comfort her, but his hand stopped before it got close to her, stilled by the unmistakable sound of the other support failing and the metal impacting the ground.