The last sign at the junction warned her not to go any further. But she didn’t pay heed. She was here now, in the lashing wind and rain, at the heart of a storm raging outside the car. She placed her hands on the steering wheel, biting her lip so firmly she could feel her teeth start to draw blood, feel the metallic taste as it trickled out. The rain continued to pelt against the windscreen, obscuring her view again the second the wipers cleared it, so that it almost seemed like there were shadows and shapes moving outside the glass, unsettling figures beckoning and tormenting, calling her to join them in their oblivion. Miserable wraiths seeking company.
But, no. She blinked her eyes clear, shook her head adamantly, determined she would not give in to this night, to this storm, to these imagined shapes outside that her consciousness was dreaming up. What was done was done, and childish guilt or fear about some divine retribution wasn’t going to help now. She had to compose herself, pull herself together, ignore the screaming of the wind and the lashing of the rain. Take control, make things…not right, perhaps, but at least limit the damage as much as she could, before more lives and hopes were destroyed, before a ripple effect took hold, before a chain reaction went off at the centre of her world. This was all down to her, and since she had started it, she had to finish it- she couldn’t fall to pieces with so much still needing to be done.
She stared at the sign outside again as the wipers cleared her view for a single second over and over. Stared at its simplicity, its nondescript design, sitting there by the road at this junction here in the middle of nowhere. She blinked. What foolish instinct had made her believe it was ‘warning’ her not to go further? How could an inanimate road sign give warning? It was ludicrous. Sheer reversion to the superstitious mindset of a child, just because she had crossed a line that that child would have found unthinkable. She had to get a grip. She had to grow up.
At least she still had the choice.