She snapped with a scream akin to the sound of metal ripping. Fists balled she drove her foot into the tire again and again because if she looked elsewhere for something to destroy she’d find it.
Her foot gave before the tire did. She hopped a little, half sinking to lean against the car even as she cursed the damn thing. It was the last piece of her old life, her last chance of getting out and she hated it for failing her. Tears filled her eyes, she hated those too, her fist slammed half-heartedly against the dented door.
“Anger issues much?” Said a voice.
She snapped her chin up. Another refugee, scruffy with a beard starting to grow in. He was probably in his early thirties, but then again no one looked quite what they were under weeks of traveling. She couldn’t see much of him between the oppressive evening and the trees casting long shadows on either side of the road. “Who—“ She was a more shocked that someone would interrupt her tantrum than anything else.
“You’re lucky your car got you that far. If you haven’t noticed almost everyone is walking now.” He pointed out. Anyone interested in her breakdown had mostly moved on. Except him, scruffy and blinking at her in a sweat stained green t-shirt.
“Didn’t get me far enough.” She snapped and was torn between sending the withering glare towards him or the hunk of useless metal at her back. It had died, with a tank full of precious gasoline and no warning. Just a brief shudder and then flames.
He shrugged, annoyingly unfazed by her ire.
The smoke from under the hood dwindled, giving her less to latch her anger on, except the stranger, just standing there judging her. “No one is telling us anything. We don’t even know where we are walking…”
“I’m going to Montana.” He supplied.
Somewhere deep in her throat she made a sound like a growl. “That’s great but they never explained why we had to walk to Montana or wherever the hell else.” She said through teeth. Some of her anger was fading leaving the familiar cold hollow in her stomach. She hated that too.
“Heard it has to do with cities, something’s happening to them. “ He said.
She’d also heard similar things, even before they’d forced her from the suburbs and her tiny apartment there. Rumors, some more insane than others, circulated at every rest stop. Ragged looking teenagers croaked about creeping mists and bent wrinkled women blathered about deadly allergens. Mostly she hadn’t listened; she was one of the few with a car and had no time to listen to stories. Someone might have known more if the phones hadn’t gone down, if the internet hadn’t fizzled and died. She didn’t even know how that could happen, but it had. It just stopped working, like her jeep. “And what, we just walk? To Montana?” She didn’t know why she was asking the nosy refugee.
He shrugged and looked behind her to the thick tree line that stretched for miles. She followed his gaze. Dark boughs worked to create a tunnel over them, heavy and wet with the scents of green. She shivered and worked to find the anger again. “I want to go home.”
“We all do.” He said. “I can help you carry bags if you want.”
She looked at him and nodded. He’d ask for something in return later, but that was later and she needed help now. As they pulled the few suitcases from the backseat the shadows of the trees grew. She didn’t look at the tree line, the sight of the shifting dark cut her anger. Instead she looked north, and focused on the plod of their feet.