“We Can Go Faster”

We go 95 on the road out of Ephrata because Alicia’s dad left and her mom didn’t hide the keys. The Amber Alerts have our plate number now. We didn’t leave anybody notes. Alicia drives her dad’s old blue truck, fast like he’s under the wheels, like he’s crunch-smeared into the highway, like tomato soup, a dead dog. She laughs because we’re stealing ourselves. Our moms are probably crying.

Alicia says My mom’s an idiot. Doesn’t even know he wouldn’t steal me.

The moon is out, a bright spoon. The engine yells hot, ostinato. I want to say Your dad would steal you. But I don’t. Mine didn’t steal me. We pass the exit sign for Brownstown. We pass Oregon Dairy.

Alicia says We can go faster.

I say How fast.

She says Faster.

I say Okay because she wrote a poem for school about red wrists in a tub. I can hear the metal legs of the engine, see the speedometer click 100. I think the number 100 is a needle and buttons, a needle and buttons to stitch her skin up when I find her grisly wristed, red in a tub somewhere in D.C. or New Jersey or wherever and I have to call her mom to tell her that she’s dead, forget that the area code will give us away.

We go 100. We go 105. I watch the moon above the empty corn fields, watch it, remember my dad sipping gin in the summer, ice like clinking moons, remember him finding Cassiopeia in the clouds, Cassandra Martin despite her gold ring and his. Remember he left everything but took our kitchen table when he left with her for Oregon. Remember how the kitchen rug is fading in the sun.

I say What did your dad take.

She says Everything but us.

I see my dad crawling out of the median. Our tires turn him to fireworks.

I say We can go faster.

Alicia says Okay.

I click a fingernail under my skin, by my collarbone, slide it out red like a button.

Alicia says Make a necklace. She rolls up her sleeves, says See, I have bracelets.

I laugh. I don’t think about anything. I dig my skin like engine pistons. I imagine us naked in a tub. Our phones are buzzing. It’s not our dads. We chuck them in the back seat. We have duct tape to change the plate number. We have money in the pockets of our jeans. I wonder if Alicia would call my mom to tell her if I died. Maybe our moms are drunk, together. Maybe they’ll be just fine. The moon is jaundiced. The moon is sick. We go 115 on the interstate.

About Kathryn Hill

Kathryn Hill is an MFA candidate in fiction at Arizona State University where she also teaches and reads prose for Hayden's Ferry Review. Her flash fiction has appeared at AGNI Online, Gigantic Sequins, Monkeybicycle, Passages North, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the 2016 Innovative Short Fiction Prize from The Conium Review and she was a recipient of a 2016 Virginia G. Piper Global Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter at @kathelizhill.

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