june, 2022 2nd place winner: Mobile Home by Jeff Hall
The rev of the engine was his morning miracle. That it still turned on at all continued to both surprise and scare him, for each success brought fear the next time might not be so lucky. Always on the move, an end to his wandering was no option, yet his feet were not what they used to be. Should he have to rely on them for his journey, he worried they might fail him again. In the back of his mind, the ache that accompanied him each day began its morning dull, a reminder that his pursuers, ever relentless, did not feel the same exhaustion as he did, did not need to rest nor seek fresh fuel, long ago having planted themselves firmly in his mind, growing daily as they forced him onward toward an unknown future.
His mouth always thirsted, his stomach never quite felt full, his hands never rested from his labor. Each day brought to him the same challenge but always with a new twist. This morning he stared out onto the empty lot that he called home the night before, one hand on the wheel, another resting on the key to his day. A turn would mean life or death for him. Slowly his wrist twisted forward, his hand sweaty from the heat of sleep the night before. Ears perked, eyes staring at the hood, hope and despair intertwined in their daily dance, the click came to prophesy his future. Click. Silence. Failure. Hope fled from him. The darkness surrounding his vehicle began to seep inside. Tears encroached upon the end of his eyes. His life fell out before his eyes, a pageantry of misery he relived each day as pavement rolled below him. Always try again. Back to the start.