Guest Post by Calum Kerr: Two-Lane Blacktop

It was dark and Billy was walking. He hadn’t been walking long, only about fifteen words so far.

Moonlight flared on the fighter’s smile of the white line: Morse dashes floating in the oily black of the road. Billy expected his boots to make sucking, slurping noises as he walked, but all he heard was the clump-slide, clump-slide, clump-slide of one whole and one broken heel.

He looked back, but all was in darkness. He wondered where he had come from but could remember nothing beyond the last two paragraphs. All he could remember was walking.

There were no lights up ahead, either, and no signs to tell him where he was. He could be anywhere, in any black segment of imagination, he couldn’t tell.

Heat was radiating off the blacktop. He must be somewhere hot.

He carried on walking. He could do nothing else.

He wondered about his destination. Did he even have one? Or would he just keep walking forever.

None of it mattered, all there was lay beneath his feet, metered out in slide-clump, slide-clump, slide-clump.

The word ‘blacktop’ tickled through his brain. Blacktop…

America. He must be in America.

That was something, at least.

And as the thought came to him his vista widened. The scrub of desert appeared on either side, pale grey in the moonlight. The line of the road snaked out into the distance, linking his walking feet to the horizon.

He felt a weight lift inside him. He still didn’t really know where he was, but he now knew that he had a path. That was enough for him.

A faint noise came from behind him and conjured a headlight-cast shadow on the road. The car slowed as it reached him, and the window slid down.

“Going far?” asked a woman’s voice.

“About forty words,” replied Billy. His accent sounded mid-Western in his ears.


“I don’t know where I’m going,” he said.

“My kinda guy,” the woman said. “Get in.”

Billy climbed into the car and it set off at speed, driving straight out of the story.


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