Cassandra could see it coming a mile away.

Even if she hadn’t been stuck in this van for the last four-felt-like-12 hours, she knew Tommy well enough to understand that certain men had no chance of evading her tactics. And Kirk was a certain kind of man, to be sure. Exactly Tommy’s type with his muscles, and his eyes, and all that breathing he did. Probably had a heartbeat too, poor bastard. He never had a chance. It was comical to watch him try and maintain eye contact when Tommy’s boobs were just so enticing, and it didn’t help that she kept having to drape herself across him to reach the chips she’d insisted stay on the other side of the bench seat they shared at the back of the van.

“So I’m not overly…tempted.” She stretched out the last word, the syllables weighing on her plump, glossy bottom lip, which Kirk couldn’t seem to wrest his eyes from while nodding. Cassandra tried not to draw attention to herself by laughing at Tommy’s lack of subtlety, but college boys weren’t notorious for their ability to pick up on social cues. She supposed that Tommy had the right of it. If you want something, best just to make it obvious.

“How much longer?” She turned away from the show and leaned forward from the captain’s chair behind the driver’s seat, propping her elbows on the cooler between the front seats. Her brother, Casey, riding shotgun, held up his phone with a shrug.
“My gps doesn’t even register that we’re on a road anymore. I hope our driver has a better sense of direction than my tiny robotic device which can connect to satellites and knows where to find the best pizza in the Tri-City area.” He paused to look at the scenery they passed, unbroken by township, telephone pole or pizza parlour alike.

“We’re driving through a national park, of course there are no pizza places or cell towers. Look at all this pristine beauty and tell me you miss being in the city.” Nathan loosed his fingers from the steering wheel to gesture at the vista before them. “And we’re lucky enough to be the only ones around to experience it. Making this trip after labor day was a brilliant idea. No tourists, no competition for the good spots, no one to stop us from exploring where we like.”

“No one to rescue us when things go horribly wrong.” Casey was still staring at his phone as though it might suddenly alert him to the presence of a deep dish pizza pie. Nathan laughed.

“Nothing is going to happen, Casey, don’t be an alarmist.”

Cassandra looked out at the paved road ahead. It lacked any markings which looked recent, as though they were traversing a part of the country which had been forgotten about for a long time. Whether incidental or intentional was anyone’s guess.

“He sort of has a point, Nathan. I know that I’ve been reading in the back and not really paying attention, but it seems like it’s been a long time since we encountered anyone else out here. Are you sure about this?” Nathan nodded, glancing at her with a quick smile to reassure.

“Totally Cassie, I’ve read all about this area, there’s a town just past a fork ahead of us. Apparently some of the best pulled pork in the county or maybe even the state. We’ll stop there and check it out. I’m sure they have wifi and all the things. We’ll be out of the woods soon, so to speak.”

To say it was an inaccurate turn of phrase would be putting it mildly. There was nothing to be seen for miles except woods and their van on this secondary can’t-really-call-it-a-highway. There could be dozens of tiny towns hidden in those dense trees, and they’d never know it. A shiver ran down Cassandra’s spine. Casey noticed and asked, “Someone walking over your grave, sis?” She made a face and shook her head.
“Don’t be silly, it’s just cool in here. Turn down the AC a bit, it is September.”

Photo by Ricardo Alfaro on Unsplash