Change is inevitable.
We arrived at the gas station while the scorching sun was down low. The burgundy, ‘64 dodge station wagon we drove clunked along to a stop. I turned off the radio, tired of the man on the other side crying over the loss of his family. I looked back at my own family, tired, unwashed and scared.
“Bring the gun,” my wife, Sierra told me. “there might be people here.”
I looked her in the eyes. “You keep it. If anyone tries to get in, point it at them.”
I reached my hand over to my daughter, Laura, brushing her blonde hair to the side.
“It’ll be alright, sweetie.” I lied. “Dad’s going to check out the gas station and see if we can fill this old clunker up.”
Laura dove her face back into Sierra’s arms. “I’m scared.”
I looked at Sierra’s deep blue eyes before turning off the engine, unlocking the car door and sprinting outside. I clutched my tire iron as I ran up to the pump. Somehow it was still on. I looked around me, scanning the environment for anyone nearby.
I flipped open the gas cover, spun the gas cap off and jammed the fuel hose in like it was prom night. As I began pumping the gas in I heard a whistle.
“Hello there, family man.” a scratchy voice shouted from behind me. “I sure hope you’re going to pay me for that gas you’re taking.”
I spun around, raising the tire iron above my head as I stared down at the man walking up to me. He had gray, clean cut hair, a thin, almost handsome face if not for a cleft upper lip. He wore wore brown pants, a white dress shirt with a black vest over it. He pointed a rifle at me.
“That bludgeon won’t do you much good this far away from me.” The stranger said. “Why don’t you lower that thing and we’ll work us out a deal. I’m not unreasonable. Just want to make sure I’m reimbursed for the gas you’re taking.”
I lowered the tire iron. “What kind of reimbursement?” I asked.
“Well, a man gets lonely out here, by himself. Maybe you and your family can stay awhile. My name is Silas.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Silas.” I said as he began to lower his rifle. “We need to get to my sisters house. She’s by herself with her infant son. I really can’t stay long.”
“Well, that’s understandable. Maybe I can go with you.” Silas said as he smiled at Laura. “I’m real good with children.”
“Listen. I’m sorry Silas.” I began to explain. “I really can’t..”
Silas began to frown. He started to raise his rifle. “I tried being nice, mister. You owe me for that gas. Maybe I’ll just get some alone time with your wife as payment.”
A shot rang out. The passenger side window shattered outward. Sierra held the gun pointed at Silas, who fell to the ground. He had a hole in his right shoulder and blood spilled out. The rifle lay on the ground next to him. Without thinking I jumped on Silas, raised the tire iron above my head and smashed down. I repeatedly beat him in the head with the club until he was dead.
I’d never killed a man before. Today was the first. This man’s face was a pile of red meat.
I puked to the side of him.
“Get in.” I heard Sierra yell behind me. “He might not be alone. Just get in and let’s go.”
I stood up, turned around, felt a dizzy sensation pass, then walked back to the flaming, burgundy, gas guzzler.
My mind felt like it was a hand submerged in ice. I turned the engine over and began our journey to my sister’s house.
Turning on the radio, the man on the other side continued to sob over the fate of humanity. Eventually a gunshot rang out through the radio.