They fight. They fight because she’s a bitch and he’s a “weak piece of shit with penis envy.”
In the light streaming from the dashboard, Gordo’s Face looks purple, and the little squiggly green vein in the center of his forehead pulses. Martha hopes, God, Martha wishes, it would fucking explode.
She pictures blood dripping from the windshield and a look of surprise on his fat pasty face. Maybe he’ll feel sorry. Maybe it’ll be somewhat painful, but over quick.
“You know, you only say that penis thing because you want to fuck Toby and everyone knows—”
And before he finishes the car crashes into the brightest light, Martha has ever seen.
Stops might be a better description.
The halt is violent either way, and Martha lets out an eardrum destroying screech that is part frustration from Toby being right and the result of the removal of all normality.
From night, on their way to a party, driving through a little Upstate village, to being wrapped in a wash of yellow streetlights. There had been the smell of potential snow on the air now it’s the sulphur-stench of decaying plant matter. The windshield is a sudden mess of cracks. Steam jets from the engine under a crumpled hood. Surrounding is hazy puke green daylight and thick forest.
Then she turns and a hard frost blooms in her heart as the new normal shatters.
This is what takes it beyond comprehension.
Instead of Gordo and his slightly lazy eye and right temple covered with psoriasis, she finds the owner of the strong hand pressing her back into her seat.
Toby asks, “Are you okay?”
Martha stares, mouth hanging open. She realizes, but before clicking her jaw shut, she says, “Yes,” quick and breathless.
Toby searches her face maybe for an indication she is hurt, maybe because he likes the way she looks. Satisfied either way he lowers his hand, and she feels the burning impression it makes between her cleavage.
Toby nods at her, smiling. It’s the same little-crooked smile that she has always wanted to lick off his face. Skin crinkling in dimples and sunlines. Of course, Gordo is right, of course, she wanted to fuck Toby. Everyone who ever met Toby wants to fuck him. She half expected Gordo wanted to fuck him, himself.
Where is Gordo, she wonders not out of concern, but because she is ready to tell him that he was right and look him in his little-boring-blue eyes as she walks away arm and arm with Toby. She can still smell the wafting stench of old garlic, that sat heavy on the last whining complaint Gordo uttered.
She finds her mind racing for other things she could use to hurt him, but Gordo isn’t sitting next to her.
He pats her knee and smiles, and all the anxiety floods out of her. His door won’t open, so he kicks the windshield free and climbs out of the car. After a moment, to make sure her heart was in fact not going to explode, she moves to join him.
“Here take my hand,” Toby says from the hood.
She grabs his hand, and he wrenches her up to his side. She isn’t sure if it’s the thick almost edible humidity or his raw power that takes her breath away. The air is like wearing a thick hot wet coat, and his button-down blue oxford soaks in sweat already.
She leans in when he puts his arm around her shoulder. She needs to feel protected because what the actual fuck.
A load screech shakes the leaves of the surrounding forest. The mist swirls as the sound disturbs and a beautiful blue sky shines through along with the terrifying shape of a pterodactyl.
She and the bird lock eyes, in the black-soulless glint she realizes she is dead and this hell.
“God damn you Gordo, I hope you are here somewhere also.”
Toby bodily turns her and begins to run, hobbled by inches of black gloopy mud. They make little progress and the flying lizard issues one more screech as if laughing at them and flies off.
Then there it is.
Its a sparkling smear in the mist. It grows smaller. . “Hurry, it’s closing,” she yells, assuming correctly it is the way home.
And maybe they could have reached it if she hadn’t tripped and fallen on top of him.
The mud is hot and stinks like rust. A small pool of water fill around them as they lay there.
She looks up and watches the portal pop out of existence altogether, the last thing she sees burning a hole in her brain. Gordo in his car alone driving along happy as can be singing Taylor Swift at the top of his lungs.
No, she decides, that was hell, and she rolls off Toby.
He climbs to his feet and helps her to hers before turning and running toward the treeline.
Martha follows, giddy knowing this reality is already shaping up to be better than anything she could have ever imagined.