Author: Steve Smith, Staff Writer

It’s cold here. Inhospitable. We’ve been stranded for an age, near starving, not even enough energy to move from this place, much less try to find our way home.

From time to time, some small animal, a rabbit, or a field mouse will venture too far from safety, and a fox, or in rare cases a hawk will hunt, and in those moments fear and panic ripple in waves across the barren ground. We’re not proud, we take what we can get, we’re survivors after all.

The sun is down, busy blistering the other side of this rock while we wait out the night in absolute darkness. In the great distance above us, pinpricks of light blink in and out, mocking.

There’s a sudden roar of approaching motors, and bright fingers of light split the night, bobbing and weaving together to form an opalescent lattice above the winding road on the hillside across the field.

This is a treat.

There’s the slightest hint of exhilaration, of excitement perceptible even at this distance.

The throaty rumble doubles and doubles again as more and more vehicles crest the hill and plummet down the narrow road into the valley, jockeying for position.

We can almost taste their adrenaline on the cold night air.

The screaming of rubber straining against asphalt in an instant becomes that of metal biting into metal as one of the vehicles loses control, colliding with a guardrail, its twin shafts of light reaching suddenly skyward before spiraling several times, then blinking out completely.

We receive a sharp spike of fear, one quick burst, then it’s gone.

What follows immediately is a cacophony of steel on steel, shattering glass, the protest of tires pushed beyond limits, vehicles collapsing into one another or leaving the roadway completely, lights flashing in all directions.

In a few more moments, it’s over. Pandemonium is gradually replaced by near silence again. Motors chatter and stall, those wheels slowly spinning in the air eventually become still.

Through it all, we drink in an exquisite cocktail of fear, and pain. Of panic, and resignation.

We’re drawn to it now, invigorated by more sustenance than we’ve felt in far too long.

Our strength returns.

Where has this been? Why have we not been privy to this source of nutrition before?

There are new sounds on the wind as we feed, and blue and red lights strobe the landscape around us, bringing with them new feelings, these a balanced cocktail of anxious hope.

This pleases us.

Perhaps this place isn’t so inhospitable after all.

When these fonts of emotion move on, we’ll move with them, our newfound traveling feast.