They had been driving all night, mostly her at the wheel as he leaned his head out the window to take in the rush of air and stars.

Near empty they refueled at a crossroads settlement nameless and too small for any map, a cafe - long closed - and a couple of old pumps surrounded by a handful of buildings in various stages of ruin and patched with rusty corrugated steel and rotted composite. When they had pulled in everything was dark and they thought the pumps were closed. But getting out they came to see the hollowed out face of the old man, sitting there outside in the blackness on a chair set against the cafe's wall. He approached them without a word and without acknowledgement and pumped their gas, the only sound among them the click, click, click of the pump's wheeling dial. They gave him what they owed and she asked - how far away was the next town and could they find a place to sleep there? The old man turned and stared down the road in the direction they’d been heading. He said nothing and turned and walked back to his chair and sat. They watched him for a few moments in silence, unsure, until they got back into their car and continued on. He drove.

As they moved on the air started to chill and bite and they soon sensed but didn’t say that it wasn’t the dark that cooled the air but the place, and the air seemed to lose the softness of air moving through tallgrass and trees and took on the sharp and acrid odor of rock.

As the very tip of dawn broke behind them they were on a straight road crossing a gray-brown plain under gray-black skies. A false dawn. As they moved they saw that the road was approaching a town but she saw this town wasn’t on the map either and she said aloud - it should be, it’s big enough to be, and shouldn’t it be? And as they drove the flat plain gave way almost suddenly to a town shrouded in that cold charcoal dawn that they soon sensed but did not say had carried on forever in this place.

There were no people to be heard or seen. And the buildings were neither new nor old but were drab and had a grayness of their own, and windows seemed to be missing where windows ought to be and where there were windows, they were lightless and even, he thought to himself, unnaturally sized and spaced as if drawn by the hand of a child.

As they snaked through dead and and unnamed roads notable only for their sameness the buildings seemed to stretch crookedly as if seen through warped glass. And as they did so in the deep stir of their thoughts there emerged through clouds of foreboding a quiet and profound understanding that this had always been their destination though they had not wanted it or known it, that they were here in the grayness to witness what this place needed them to witness, and they sensed but did not say that they had been called by this place to play a part scribed by something unknown and unseen, to be what this place needed them to be.

At last, they saw in a building a dimly lit window, several stories up. They stopped and waited and watched it in silence. And they knew as if they always knew that they must go to this place and so left the car and went to the building and counted the stories to the window and inside they walked up a dark staircase counting the floors until they saw a dim light behind the door.

With the resignation that lays beyond fear they opened the door they sensed but did not say they were there to open and all at once inside the room there was no longer the dim light. There was nothing except them alone and then there was nothing at all and there was no more car on the street and the window was dark like all the others and will be forever.

Somewhere else a hundred miles but a hundred lifetimes away another man and another woman are driving in the darkness.

And they're running out of gas . . .

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Broken Souls - Music Video

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