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The Load

April 14, 2012

Author’s note: this was my short submission for the writing contest at Ad Astra this past April. There were several constraints beyond being extremely short. Had to include two genres, had to include no chairs, a character different from ourselves, and a few more I’ve forgotten but have in my notes somewhere. Additionally, there was a letter of the alphabet banned from usage. See if you are more observant than Ulie and can figure out which.

Ulie slammed on the air brakes. She nearly unseated herself for the umpteenth time off of the large, green bucket of plaster she had been using for a seat since that thing destroyed the seats in the rig.

“’Destroyed,’ my ass,” she said aloud.
It had eaten them. That…that thing…whatever it was…had ripped, chewed and swallowed the cushy parts of both driver and passenger. Ulie didn’t let that stop her. She had work to do, and goddammit, she was going to make the schedule even if the gates of Hell opened up.

It wasn’t the gates of Hell she had come from. It was a beautiful forest where she had picked up her load. Somehow, passing through an opening in some trees had lead her to some of the most beautiful wood she had ever seen. Even stranger, it had been daylight there.

Now, she was climbing down from the cab and taking a gander and what she had thought was a horse. She had glimpsed in the headlights, suddenly leaping right in front of her as she drove half-sleeping to get her load to its final destination.

Stupid horse.

Whatever this thing was, it was hanging out of the radiator grill by the top of its head. She pulled and pulled and was finally rewarded as a horn pulled free of the metal and steam poured out of the hole it had made.

“Worthless horned pony!”

Ulie drove away not thinking about what it was, merely the load.

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