Stephen, over at Fractured Faith Blog has posted another challenge. I fully intended to participate last time, but let’s dip our toes into the magical world of fiction for just a moment, shall we?
“You can handle this” she said to herself. “People have adjusted to far worse, this is just a little detour…” She looked at the receipt in her hand, with the twenty pounds worth of fuel on it. “OK, maybe not such a little detour.” She carefully set herself into right hand seat of the car and cautiously moved herself to a parking place to better look at the map. “Oh, you won’t need to get an International Sim Card for your phone, you can use WiFi. Thanks, guys”, she muttered under her breath as she tried to make sense of what might be one of the few paper maps left in this world.
Tearing open the mints, she popped one in her mouth as she squinted at the paper, adverse to asking anyone for help. It’s not that anyone had been unkind or rude, she was just having some difficulty adjusting to the accents. “Not that a 13 hour flight helped any. Give yourself credit for getting from the airport to… wherever the hell I am.” She slumped, head against the steering wheel, wondering if she would just call it a night right there. Never mind the lovely soft bed in the nice clean hotel. Never mind meeting one her her favorite authors, getting an autograph, and laughingly handing over the gift of his favorite beverage. No, maybe it was better to try and work the way back to the airport, and have another long flight home. At least her breath would be fresh. But she had wanted to visit Forbidden Planet, and that wasn’t that far from her hotel or the book signing.
She took a deep breath and let it our slowly, relishing to cooling feeling of the mint on her tongue. Slow and steady breaths helped to tame the anxiety, the frustration of trying to drive on what felt like the wrong side of the road, which in turn made turns more bewildering. She felt as if every single driver in Belfast had either made a hand gesture or used their horn at her. Looking at the map again, she looked around, for something – anything, to help orient her. There was the river, sadly out of sight from her position, there were a ton of roads with weird letter and number combinations, and once again, she felt overwhelmed and depressed.
As tears threatened to take over the end of a very long day, she noticed a cab come into the station for fuel. Without even thinking a moment, she ran across the tarmac, asking the driver if he had a fare yet. The driver silently indicated that he was quite obviously filling up his car… She grabbed her carry on, her book, and the 24 pack of Diet Coke, leaving the mints for whomever was sent to pick up the blasted car. She had the address of the location on her receipt. Yes, they’d likely laugh, and charge her the moon for picking that rental up, but it beat sleeping rough.”You do now, pal. Will you please take me to this store?” He nodded, and grinned, saying something that she caught only about a third of, and she threw herself in the back of the cab; ready to meet the author of ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles’. At least her breath would be fresh.