You flinch, a reflex running from shoulder to toe, awoken, snapped awake. The rain pelting the windows, the wind blustering, rocking the carriage of your camper van, the trees “shhhhhushing” as they sway, and the thunder still rumbling hungry, hundreds, maybe thousands of feet above.
Then you pick it out, your ears stretching into the silence where you hear a man-made rumbling, a burbling sound, an engine, growing slowly louder.
A shaft of crisp white light cuts through the black, and for a moment straight line shadows sweep the ceiling and interior.
The engine noise much clearer now, it’s running slow, and not a car, it sounds raspier, throatier; rougher… it’s a heavy bike.
Who the hell would be riding in this? You pull yourself up and peer at the small rear window cut into the door of the camper, the pane of glass bright lit and white, illuminated by the oncoming headlamp, but you can’t see through the opaque glass, steamed on the inside, soaked in ever running rainwater on the outside.
You push your faux fox fur blanket to one side and stand in your socks, pulling your heavy sweater down to cover the tops of your thighs. You move toward the door and carefully wipe the condensation, with your sleeve bunched in your hand, all the while peering out.
And there you see the single round lamp, with silver streaks of rainwater reflecting up off the slick wet road, as the rider diligently struggles against the buffeting wind and driving rain.
Good god, you think, I would not want to be caught in that, and you prepare to duck down as you anticipate the bike approaching and passing. But no, and your heartbeat quickens as you realize the rider is slowing, pulling over and coming to a rest behind you.
You slowly rise up again to glimpse over the lip, where the window pane sits inside the door, where the cold metal stops and the glass begins, and you almost jump backwards as there at the door stands the silhouette of the rider.
Quickly you duck back down, but you’re certain he’s seen you. Shit, shit, shit, your mind whirls, I knew I wouldn’t be safe here, I knew it, I knew it, goddamn I knew it, over and over you berate yourself, what will I do?
You hear the mans voice, “Hey, you in there?”
What the fuck? Who the hell? You say to yourself. And again he calls out, “Hey, are you there?”
Quick as a fox your mind searches your memory, rifling through an inventory of voices, looking for a match. And your eyes widen impossibly, but it can’t be, it couldn’t be, for crying out loud he wouldn’t know where to find you!
He couldn’t, he can’t, he’s a memory.
Again the rider calls out, and this time you’re certain it’s him, but that was years ago, ten at least, what the fuck?