Effy felt every indentation, curve, and bump of the throttle embed itself into her skin as she jammed it down. Half-baked sentences fizzled out and crisped away to ash in her head like burnt bacon while memories rattled and bounced around like pennies in an empty can. Behind her, the hills began to slowly vanish. The moon however, stayed with her. Casting a slicing beam directly onto her. It seemed not to matter whichever way she might swerve; it would catch up with her in an instant. On any other night Effy would stop to relish the moon’s usually calming and serene glow but tonight, tonight it seemed to be hunting her. Not unlike a harsh interrogation lamp, thrust at those under questioning, it shone too bright and exposed too much of her to the world.
She revved the engine again, hard, hoping the roar would drown out the looming silence. The engine spluttered, reluctant to agree and push itself further, but agreed. Her speedometer ticked into three figures, but Effy wasn’t content. The silence just got louder.
Stones were skipped across tarmac with alarming speed as Effy’s mind became filled with the face of a single person. The picture floated in her head as fear, regret, anxiety and a thousand missed chances circled below the surface like sharks gathering in a feeding frenzy. It was so vivid. Her long golden hair, her freckled face, those silver rimmed glasses, the unforgettable emerald eyes. Effy found herself opening her mouth to yell without realising it at first, instinctively wanting to protect the crystal-clear image from the darkness that closed in.
But the image changed in an instant. Her gentle calmness, her tranquil sensibility that Effy had relied on a thousand times over twisted into tears. Effy could see them, could feel them running down her face. It was so real. The projection turned and fled. Effy almost reached out after her, begging her to stay and let her explain.
Effy pulled over sharply. She couldn’t take it. She needed a break. A dirt path led off the highway down towards a campsite that families used in the summer. Here, deep into the winter it was barren. More likely to be occupied by families of foraging squirrels than tourists enjoying the hills and valleys. Her tyres hollered, their horrified protest ringing in her eyes as she came to a squealing stop. She swung her leg over her bike and stood there for a moment as snow began to fall. The moon had chased her here too.
She thumped her bike’s seat. The leather was not nearly hard enough for it to be cathartic, but Effy needed it. All she could think about was how many chances she was given to tell the truth. By the movie theatre that one night they had gone to see the horror about the cursed toaster, next to the frozen lake last winter, every Saturday morning at her coffee whilst Effy watched her greet each new customer with that splendid smile…
Now, all that was gone. Effy knew that out there, somewhere, she was lost and alone, knowing only that Effy had lied for two years straight. Effy kicked her bike’s tailpipe, replaying their final conversation in her head. Remembering how much it stung to have her disappointed eyes stare into Effy’s being.
That was the worst part. She didn’t flee because Effy wasn’t human. She fled because Effy had lied. Effy had lost the one being in the galaxy she felt a connection with, lost her to the neon-lit city.
Effy’s bike sped away from that dirt road an hour later. It’s tyres squealed, but not because of recklessness like before. As her bike sped down the highway, as the neon city came into view over the final view, the bike’s path was straight, focused. Sleek like an arrow, both the bike and its rider had a renewed purpose…
To make things right.