(this is a post wrtten for Trifecta's word challenge of the week, using the word cutting. thanks to Karen at http://karenismuttering.blogspot.com/ for kicking me in the ass. She is a wonderfully powerful and nuanced writer, so make sure to check out her contribution this week, too: http://karenismuttering.blogspot.com/2012/01/trifecta-week-8-cutting.html)
The night air was thick with the late-summer smell of corn. A faint glow could still be seen along the western horizon, which stretched from one corner of James’ vision to the other. He’d been looking at corn and horizon for going on three days now.
“I’ve got to. Soon.” The girl’s voice said on his right. The tension, cutting tone, unmistakable.
“Jesus, Staci, I know. What do you want me to do, make a lake magically appear in the middle of fucking Iowa?”
“Don’t yell at me.”
“I’m not yelling, I’m just tired.”
The girl’s silence was deafening.
They rode for a few minutes not speaking, staring at the rows of corn zooming toward the car in the headlights. The eyes of something small shone back at the car and then quickly disappeared.
“I’m going to change,” the girl said. “Just in case. That way I won’t have to wait.”
"Don't be angry. You knew about this."
"I know." He just hadn't thought it was that… inviolate. He concentrated on driving.
After twenty minutes of so he realized the girl's breathing had changed.
"Stace? Staci? You OK back there?"
"I HAVE TO. SOON." She rasped.
"Ok; Ok. You got your suit on?"
How many laps will you swim?
“A hundred —“ she broke off in a strangled gasp.
He was at 90 m.p.h. when he saw the sign ahead. MOTEL in red neon. Below it in yellow: POOL. He screeched into the deserted parking lot; Staci was out before the car had come to a full stop. In the rearview mirror he saw her bathing-suited form run to the opposite end of the lot and scale the low chain link that surrounded an invisible pool.
James sat looking at the sign, the dark, listening to Staci's soft splashing. He thought about the road ahead.
The corn glowed red in his receding taillights. At the back of the lot, watery echoes slapped into the night sky.