Carrot Ranch 24 Hour Free Write The Long Drive Home


Yep. Today was not a good day for me. We all have them, and we all push through because we have to.

I wrote something in the wee hours after seeing the prompt, edited a bit, went to sleep, and then this evening decided that I wouldn’t submit it for the free-write. The plot needs a bit more delicate handling, which I wasn’t feeling today.

I had a second idea wandering around in my head partly based on a childhood experience after a death in West Virginia, so I ran with it, so to speak. At 11:15 pm. Unfortunately that means I haven’t rummaged through the words the way I normally would and already picked up something that typically I would have re-written. As always, I consider this a learning experience.

Without further rambling, here is my entry for today’s free-write.

The Long Drive Home (297 words)

Driving in the pitch darkness of the winding West Virginia mountains, your fingers clenching the steering wheel, you feel suspended in time. These are not roads to be undertaken in your state, but you’ve little choice because you’ve got to get home to explain to the kids that their daddy won’t be coming home.

You find a rhythm of flicking on your high beams to watch for deer, coyotes, or other creatures crossing the narrow roads and then flicking them off when reflecting white light indicates an approaching car. You slow perceptibly, never having been confident of driving this SUV behemoth on roads with sharp drop-offs. That had been Jerry’s talent, grace under pressure, athletic driving prowess.

Just the thought of your athletic husband clutching his chest as he climbed out of the hot tub makes your breath stumble. No one dies of a heart attack at 42 anymore. Doctors check these things. And, marathon-running Jerry would have been the least likely candidate. Yet, here you are making this long drive home from your honeymoon, your first because you had been too poor to have one after you married.

Last night, when he wrapped you in his arms. and you fell asleep entwined as when you had first become lovers, you thought you could never be happier.

You pinch your thigh so that you don’t cry. The last thing you need on these roads is blurry vision.

You pass through a small town and see the promise of an all-night convenience store and strong black coffee. Bright lights pierce your pupils. The smell that is peculiar to convenience stores fills your nose, hot dogs and old coffee.

Crickets chirp as you sit, coffee in hand, and watch a town time had forgotten.

It feels like a dream.



Sascha Darlington



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