24-7: Gathering of the Tribes, pt. 11

They drove through the day, occasionally traveling with another scav vehicle on the long, empty road that led west.  The feeling of being very far from human civilization pressed in; it was comforting to Ivy, and lightly terrifying for Holly.  They rode in companionable silence for most of the day; as evening pressed in, Ivy asked, “We’re in a rush?”

“I think we are,” Holly said.

“I’ll drive through the night, then.”

Shiloh made a surprised sound.  “I thought you didn’t like to drive at night?”

“Normally I don’t.  But this rig has good lights.  And it’s fast.  I’ll be okay.”

“Want me to stay up with you?”

“If you can.”

Holly laughed.  “I think that I get less sleep than you do.  I’ll stay up too.”

Ivy stopped for fuel at a tiny outpost outside of what had once been Albuquerque, now reduced to a small community of eccentric artists eking out a subsistence living but curiously happy with that lot.  She told the others it would be at least one more day’s hard drive to reach the gathering place.

Not long after nightfall, a nasty thunderstorm lashed the landscape; the big Inchin truck pushed through unperturbed.  They slowed for a while, and then Ivy discovered the rig’s windshield wipers and sped up once again; the weather-beaten road surface was much smoother than the rutted tracks she was used to, and the big rig ate it up without hesitation.  Holly and Ivy fell into a conversation about the years they’d been apart, finding it easier to open up to each other in the dark (and with their other traveling companions fast asleep).  

Some time late in the night, Ivy lifted her foot off the gas, almost out of instinct.  A moment later an object loomed in the road, square and white like a small building.  Holly gasped and Ivy swerved.  The truck slewed on the muddy track, righted itself, and they came to a stop just past the object, which was a box on wheels, adorned with stripes and diamonds in a haphazard pattern.

The vehicle’s motion woke Diesel-Heart and Shiloh.  “Whozzat?” he asked, looking around.

“Something familiar,” Ivy said.  She turned the rig around slowly, until they were facing back the way they had come, and trained the lights on the trailer.  “Hey, Shiloh, you recognize that?”

Shiloh looked out into the rain.  “Is that…is that the little trailer Gorey used to haul dry goods in?” she asked.

“Who’s Gorey?” Holly asked.

“The circus’ chef.  That’s a Gallamore’s trailer.”

“What’s it doing out here?  And how did it get here?”

“That’s…a really good question.  Stay here,” Ivy said, cracking the door open.  “I’m going to touch dirt, see what’s there.”  She got out of the truck.