Driving For Answers

Submitted for Contest #48 in response to: Write a story that features a protagonist with an archnemesis.... view prompt

29 comments

Blue sky meets a thousand miles of a winding road. Each curve and bend obscured by nothing but the field of limited peripheral vision and possibly the occasional tree. I used to try and count the small white and yellow lines that dotted these roads and extended to a point far beyond the horizon and even farther than that. But never got farther than lower levels of infinities that extended far beyond my mental grasp.

I sat there, wispy blond hair flowing back beyond curious green eyes and an eye-grabbing smile. Staring down at grey and black asphalt and wondering if we were the only car on this road. If we weren't the only car than were we the car in the front or in the back? Or somewhere in between?Β Unfortunately for me, these questions remain unanswered due to the lack of roads that really do end instead of branching off into new discoveries.

These were the roots of curiosity that would flourish throughout my childhood. Questions such as β€œwhy do clouds move?” Or β€œwhy don’t I have a twin?” Baffled me until forced answers flew out of giving mouths, gracing me with answers.

β€œClouds are moved by winds Sara, pushing them to unknown destinations until they precipitate. Clouds may also dissolute in the process.”

β€œYou have no twin for as God decided against it.”

Of course, these answers only ended up sparking more questions which I would ponder for a bit longer until answered once more.

β€œWhat does it mean to precipitate?”

β€œWhat does dissolute mean”

β€œWhy did God not want me to have a twin?”

β€œDo you choose if you get to have a twin?”

Eventually came answers.

β€œRain, snow, sleet, and hail. Basically, anything that falls out of clouds, Sara.”

β€œTo dissolve, Sara."

β€œIt is God's choice. Only he has an answer to that.”

β€œOf course not. But, how would I know?”

Questions within questions. All without answers.

Curiosity has been an enemy to mankind since the dawning of the earth itself. Think of Eve and the forbidden fruit. Issac Newton and falling apples. Cristopher Columbus and a new route to India.

All of man has asked questions in their life. Rather that be in their heads or out loud. Many of these questions have been answered of course, but most will remain to flood the minds of mankind until they flourish into something greater.

As an example, people understand the concept of colors. We can blend yellow and red to make orange, and a thousand other spectrums and ideas can form. But creating a new color within itself is a laborious task that only the greatest of minds can contemplate. Same with the concept of lower levels of rationalized infinity. Take an experiment that was done quite some time ago. There’s a man that runs the infinity hotel. One day the whole hotel is full. Not a singular room left. But a man comes and needs a room. So the man that runs the hotel asks everybody to move over one room to the number that was one greater than there’s. As an example, one would move to two, two to three, three to four, and so forth. After everybody moves over one room one should be open, for as there is an infinite amount of numbers. So that is where the man that originally asked for a room will stay.Β 

It is incomprehensible, yet we continue with our lives.

Curiosity, the mortal enemy to man. Yet we still tolerate it. Or, other people do. Curiosity and questioning nature crashing against my temples until breaking free and fluttering past my lips. Taking the form of the many questions I ask. Most end up unanswered, but the few that are answered leave me wanting more.Β 

The hunger for answers burns the inside of my stomach, begging me for something more than the longing. But there are so many things I’m too scared to ask. Others, to scared to find out.

Example: What does it feel like to die?

β€œHow hot is hell?”

β€œIs hell really hot? Or is it just a figure of speech?”

These are some of the many questions I ponder daily.

But today, I go searching for answers.

I’m sixteen now, sitting I my red Chevrolet pickup truck. It’s mid-morning, most of my family is dozing off inside. I sigh, my elbows on the steering wheel and my face in my hands. Without looking up, I put the key in the ignition and turn on the radio. Some sort of pop song blares from the car's speakers. I’ve never heard of it before. The radio doesn’t tell me what song it is or who the artist is. I let my thoughts wander to the many questions I now have about the song. I snap out of it as I realize I came here for answers, not questions.Β 

I pull out of my driveway and just drive.


β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”


I’m counting the small slashes on the road again.Β I’m at 576 when I realize I’ve only been counting one half of the road, not the other. I sigh and then restart.

Blue sky meets green grass, expanding far beyond my reach. The road meets a curve and I follow it willingly, wanting to finally reach the end of the road, and know that I’m first.

I pass by children with basketball, bushes with the strange white flowers I’ve always wanted to find the name of but never could. There are schools, some old, some new. The big office buildings with the huge, wide window I’ve stared up at since I was a child.

The sun glints off of the huge windows and I flinch. It burns my eyes and I swerve. The car flies to my left and I immediately yank it back to my right. Colors and lights blur past my face. The road isn’t that busy, but I catch myself flying past cars, dodging them with quick yanks on the steering wheel. Adrenaline courses through my veins and my palms sweat on the wheel as I slam on the breaks.Β 

I screech to a stop in the middle of the road. The landscape around me is serene. Blue sky and rolling green hills. Each one dipped in a vast array of colorful flowers. I see vibrant shades of blue, titanium white, and saturated purple.

I’m panting as tears roll down my cheeks. I hear cars behind me.

I have to keep moving.

I step on the gas, not too hard though, and continue to drive.

I’m not paying attention to the landscape anymore. I let my mind drift and nod my head to the beat of the music I never bothered to turn off.

What were the odds of me surviving that?

How many cars did I fly by?

Are they ok?

Did I know any of them?

Are they hurt?

Am I hurt?

I shake my head t all these questions and scan myself for injuries. Nothing. I keep driving.

I’m still in the hillside when I notice the bend in the road. It’s strange, the way it curves. I follow it.

The road is more worn down than the others, filled with potholes and such. But I follow it.

It leads me past huge cities, lakes, rivers, and ponds, finally drifting into a smaller city.

I follow that same road past worn down buildings, some of them just iron frames of what they used to be.

I drive past stray animals, young businesswoman, and men. Some wave and I wave back.

I follow the road until I finally reach a dead end.

It’s the end of the road.

And it didn’t matter how I got there.

How it took me 6,984 small lines on the road just to find myself here.

What matters is that I realize I don’t have to hate curiosity to embrace it.

I realize it makes me human.

It makes us human.

Oh, and yes, I was first.

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29 comments

Kay Diverde
22:01 Jul 08, 2020

You verbalized that life is filled with questions we may never get answered. Good job!

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Nandan Prasad
07:19 Jul 07, 2020

Wow, wonderful story! The use of curiosity as an arch-nemesis is a very imaginative take on the prompt. Very well-written! Also, would you mind checking out my story if it's not too much trouble? Thanks and good luck!

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Thank you and of course! Sincerely, A.

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Bella K
16:21 Jul 06, 2020

Hi A. Tringale! I loved this story! When I first started reading it was so good that I flew through the story! It was filled with detail which was partly why I loved it so much! It was great take on the prompt and it had a great plot! I am new to writing and if you don't mind checking out my first story, I would love that! No pressure, just looking for some feedback!

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Hi Bella! I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed my story! I'd be happy to check you out! Sincerely, A.

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Verda Hussain
06:00 Jul 06, 2020

Loved this! Especially the humor. You got me thinking how hot hell is, too.

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Like, is it unimaginably hot or is it out of this world hot? Sincerely, A.

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Verda Hussain
06:11 Jul 07, 2020

out of this world, totally

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Joseph Varkis
05:20 Jul 05, 2020

Lovely story. Just out of curiosity...does the 6984 small lines include the 576 before the recount? :P

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Unfortunately, no. :(( Sincerely, A.

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Arya Preston
06:18 Jul 04, 2020

That first paragraph was amazing! I love any story that paints the scene or the background before delving right into the plot. Enjoyed the though-provoking elements as well.

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Thank you so much! Sincerely, A.

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Corey Melin
22:22 Jul 03, 2020

Very well done. Curiosity can take you down the right path or the wrong path. Without it life can be boring. Loved the line counting. I have tried it but my eyes quickly spaz out. Richly success.

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My highest is 1,000 and thank you!!! Sincerely, A.

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Deborah Angevin
21:25 Jul 03, 2020

A well-written story. I love the way you describe the scenery! Would you mind checking my recent story out too? Thank you! :)

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Of course! Oh, and thank you! Sincerely, A.

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Courtney Stuart
17:44 Jul 03, 2020

this was such a cool story! i especially loved the description of the scenery and how you included that counting of the dashes on the road - that had a really nice effect on the story (and i happen to do that, too, sometimes). overall, this was an interesting and unique take on the prompt, and it leaves the reader with a lot to think about. great job! :)

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Thank you, Cortney! I also occasionally find myself counting dashes on the road! Sincerely, A.

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Batool Hussain
05:00 Jul 03, 2020

Wonderful, Anna!

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Thank you so much! Yours truly, A.

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Batool Hussain
14:00 Jul 05, 2020

You're welcome! Also, could you please check out my new story? Thanks;)

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Kathleen March
20:24 Jul 02, 2020

To precipitate isn't usually used the way you do. The verb is to dissolve. There are a few other places to be tweaked grammatically. What I am not certain of is the narrative line, or what the story is about. A lot of things go through the narrator's head while driving. Love the line-counting. Sounds a little OCD, but it works well in the sory.

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Overcoming curiosity.... -A.

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Kathleen March
21:26 Jul 02, 2020

Hmmm... please forgive me, but curiosity is a great thing to have!

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I'm with you though. This story was definitely all over the place. It was really just a jumble of both thoughts and emotions. But, by overcoming curiosity I mean just letting go and finding answers. Sincerely, A.

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Kathleen March
21:45 Jul 02, 2020

So I would encourage you to take your interesting idea and dig down a little. Maybe you have two stories here. You need an event to push the narrative forward. You have good ideas. Don't try to put too many in one story. Comments are meant in a supportive way.

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Thanks for all your support! -A.

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