by Margaret Donovan Bauer
For reasons never understood, even to herself, Alice ran away, but she must overcome her darkest night and fight whatever the darkness sends to reach her light. By Dalyn Hanson Over the rolling hills and into the night of endless dark and trees but for the average gleam of headlights, Alice drove ten-and-two to the hum of midnight jazz over her radio. The firefly-laden road twinkled just as the night sky, cloudless and abundant. The subtle song of cicadas rang the night's forest with their eager tales of joy and woe. The willful wisp of rain-tinged wind whistled its way through her cracked windows as wafts of cedar, pine, and muscadine tickled memories of olden, simpler days on her grandmother’s porch just before a summer shower. And just as the sky cracked and beaded her windshield with droplets, she wiped a tear from her cheek. Her rearview caught a flash, and Alice jolted in her seat. She cupped the mirror, jostling it for a clearer view, but what was that? Headlights? Lightning? A kamikaze firefly? She could not see, for the rain obscured her view. Her heart pumped from her chest, an energized, chaotic pace like a jackrabbit on its fourth cup of coffee.