Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Under The 416

There's nothing like being out at night, on a deserted road, out of sight, under an overpass, alone, vulnerable, that makes the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

It's cold, outside, but you shiver from within.

The road had only recently been closed to all but local traffic, though there was no one who would use it, other than as a throughway. And the throughway was not an option: a smaller sign, next to the imposing Road Closed sign, read No Exit.

I turned down it, nevertheless.

I came to the overpass, beyond which a rise in the road concealed what lay ahead. I turned off my engine, but seeing that I was now in complete darkness, decided to engage the hazard lights. Orange beacons, warning somebody—should somebody come from the direction of no exit—that there was life beyond the dip, under the overpass.

I got out of the car and knew that I was completely isolated. No one could see me from the highway above. It would take a keen eye to see the blinking lights from my car, though it wasn't impossible. I knew that should a police cruiser travel along Strandherd, and should the driver look down the closed roadway, my warning lights would attract attention.

The only sounds came from above. The rasp of tires on a frozen road. The buzz echoed under the concrete that supported the cars and trucks that made their way, north and south, oblivious to the man with the tripod.

Every little sound of wind rustling what little growth protruding from the snow-covered landscape made sent my ears on edge. I looked for any signs of movement from an animal, though I knew that the chances of a coyote or other predator were remote.

But not impossible.

My images captured, I was about to pack up when one last distinct sound caught my attention: a train horn. I knew that somewhere in front of me, under the overpass, the train line led into my community. I could just make out the rails in the dim light, now that my eyes had adjusted to the darkness.

One more shot, and then I'd be off.

Away from the dark, deserted road, when the hairs on my neck could settle down.


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