fiction: hitchhiking games

DUST SWIRLS AT HER FEET like small hurricanes the colour of honey, the same hue as the sky above the trees on both sides of the road. Behind her looms the huge green of the mountain from which she flees. In a few minutes, the summer night would swallow everything whole. She has been walking since morning.

The sound of a car comes behind her, tires crunching small stray rocks on the pavement. A few steps away, in a clump of creaking bamboo, the noises of crickets keep time.

She stops on her shoulder of the road, waiting, her heart beating inside her chest. She could already smell the car’s air freshener. Pine. When the car finally stops to let her in, she does not look at the man behind the wheel. She slumps on the passenger seat, sullen and afraid.

The driver studies her, the windswept hair, the white frilled blouse, the ragged jeans that hugged her hips. She smells of mingled perfume and sweat.

“I’m lucky today. I’ve been driving for years, but I’ve never given a ride to such a pretty hitchhiker.”

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