Flash Fiction: Swamp Roads

This piece of very short fiction is in response to  Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle prompt

The savory smell of gasoline filled the humid air. I inhaled until I could taste it and set my boot harder against the pedal. A histrionic wail rose from the tires, unable to gain purchase in the deep mud.  I clucked my tongue and patted the dash, easing up on the clutch. “Shh, come on Davey.”

Nothing, he whined, I cajoled, and the swamp sucked us back.

The gauge dipped even as I watched, quarter tank left. Barely enough to get us back to the garage if I was rolling forward free now. I eased off, flicking the ignition and pulling the key. Davey quieted and I kicked open his door.

Perhaps a downfall of early rain? The road had been solid a fortnight before. I drew my hand over the doorframe, feeling the iron reinforcements under the paint. He’d need a new coat soon.

Rotting trees dotted the tenebrous water as far as I could see. My boots sunk as I walked to where the water crept over the road. I knelt; the water’s faint toxicity swarmed from the placid surface and filled my nose. My skull seemed to constrict on my brain and my sight flashed. This wasn’t rain water. Flooding then, I decided, from somewhere bad.  That meant something, but I didn’t know what. My job was to find the swamp roads, the why of things wasn’t my domain.

I stood, not giving whatever bided its time beneath the surface more of a chance at a meal. Davey was still firmly entrenched in the black mud but not sinking. The sun would be rising in a few hours. If we made it until then without rain or worse, Davey and I’d be cruising back to where we belonged with only some dried mud on his tires to remember the night by.

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