There was no fear in those first few minutes. Later I would note my inability of action despite the severity of the situation. I would follow with a suspicion that I made this all up in my head, that I had come to this place by more violent means. Things are odd now.
Nothing seemed real. The car, ageless and alien, rolled to a stop. It was slow, yet I perceived it as an instant. A lack of inertia lazily disputed this theory. It was perhaps at this moment when my reality grew tired and tasteless, as if watched through a dream. There must have been sirens, but again reality kept shuffling by indifferently. I knew immediately what I must do. I looked to my right, staring into the other passengers face. I wondered mildly who this mystery passenger was. It never struck me as strange that I hadn’t seen this woman before, unknowing she occupied the car until this very moment. I raised my hands in surrender, with a reflex that I could not identify.
Now things began to move nearly suddenly. Hands grabbed me roughly and slowly yanked me from the open door. Had it always been open? the lack sound didn’t tell me otherwise. An unremarkable black cloth was pulled over my head. I could see the immediate area however, through a gap in the poorly placed dressing. An empty two lane gravel road crept out before me. Vehicles, perhaps cop cars, perhaps not, littered the roadside. I knew there were far too many than this situation warranted, but knowing how I knew was a mystery for another time. There were more pressing issues to attend to.
My limited view was populated by a handful of plain, unremarkable men. There must have been more populated in the world past my cotton window. How did I know it was cotton? Now I noticed the atmosphere around me; a moonless night complemented by low cloud cover. I wasn’t sure why but I knew I was in the middle of the infinite cornfields of east central Illinois. Probably east of Tuscola. What is Tuscola? As i surveyed my surroundings I noticed a smooth contrast of light. The vehicles, the men, and the gravel that created the road had a tinge of orange to it, like an ancient incandescent bulb at the end of its life. Yes, it was a light. It poured out of nowhere to my right.
I was shuffling forward, in a direction I not facing the instant before. A strong grip led me towards a door of an unmarked 1970 Plymouth Belvedere Pursuit. How did I know the model of the car? Things began to sharpen, motions and events cascaded through the outskirts of my mind. Things will become clear. A few more seconds and I can ma-
more by BEN SHEARER
photograph by Azrul Aziz