Running on Empty

A short story



Photo by Will Swann on Unsplash

Something’s not right. Just then there was a loss of power. It came back but that wasn’t a good feeling. I tell myself that it was probably nothing. I have to, I can’t imagine breaking down out here. A long, dark, straight road stretches out before me and I become acutely aware that I am 2 hours from civilisation in either direction.

Trees pass by on both sides of the road and I see no lights in front of me. There it is again, the engine stutters, but this time doesn’t seem to want to recover. As I pull to the side of the road it gives one more gasp, a shudder, and then there is silence.


I take a look at my phone and see a blank space where the bars should be, no service. I wonder how long it will take to walk to any kind of reception. No, it has to be better to wait it out, another car has to come past sooner or later. I have a few snacks and some water, it will be fine. After an hour I am beginning to think this won’t be so easy. I am getting sleepy and I don’t want my saviours to drive by without even noticing me. Without my headlights, it is pitch dark out here.

A crunch of gravel, what? I must have fallen asleep. My fuzzy head does not allow me to think too quickly and before I know it I see a checked shirt through my driverside window. Then a face lowers into view, a very pretty one. The light is poor but I can see that my rescuer appears to look like an angel, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and that perfect smile. This could be a movie. I wind down my window.

“Hey,” she says, “need some help?”

“You could say that, I was starting to think that no one would ever come along.”

“Well, I’m here now. I don’t know anything about cars but my brother does. Come with me and we will see if he’ll come back and take a look. We live about 30 minutes from here. If he’s in a mood or been drinking we can wait till morning, but at least you will have somewhere safe to sleep.”

I can’t see a downside or any other option, so I jump in her car and she drives off. She is friendly and chatty and I begin to wish that the circumstances were different, she is gorgeous. The time flies, and we are soon pulling up in front of a small house just off the main road. There are no other…




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