Fading gradually to wakefulness from an unremembered dream,
I nuzzled my two plush companions, grinning blissfully as the
gray wolf's paws ruffled my fur along my jawline. Back and forth
they glided, back... and forth... I whimpered happily as I tingled
from the gentle friction of fur on flesh...
My eyes still closed, I prepared myself for the eventual disorientation. It had been very disconcerting when, in the middle of a shift at the gas station that formerly employed me, a (for want of a better word) illusory body had 'snapped' into being around me. A long canine muzzle, a tail down to my knees, sensitive ears atop my flat skull... even a coat of fur, to complete the image of a wolf-human mixture, though it stubbornly insisted on being brown, no matter how many times I reminded myself it should be gray for a wolf. I'd been slightly off-balance ever since... blinking when my muzzle collided with doors, shifting in my seat when I found myself resting on my tail, even walking on my toes and finding myself unable to flatten my feet. It was terribly disconcerting.
Of course, it didn't help that it was what I wanted to look like anyway. To have fur over all my exposed, pale skin that refused to take on even the slightest hint of a tan, to have a tail to show the world my feelings... it was strong enough that I tended to have a flinch reaction every time I saw someone with their shirt off, unless they had at least a half-decent coat of fur.
Sighing, I resigned myself to reality once again, put aside my Rufus Raccoon and the wolf plush I'd eponymously named 'Wanderer', and opened my eyes.
I blinked. I don't remember it looking this real before. My muzzle was perfectly solid-looking, without even a hint of the short nose of reality poking through. With my eyes slightly crossed, I could see short brown fur along the top, receding into the black of my nose as it stretched out from my face. Curious, I brought my hand up... sure enough, my hands were now dexterous paws, with stubby claws in place of the fingernails. Looking at my palm, I noticed that it even looked like the black leather of a wolf's paw, even if the fur did happen to be brown...
"Hmf", I muttered to myself. Then, as the appropriate quote popped into my head, "Something new has been added." I shrugged, threw back the covers, and sat up...
...and stared. Reflected in the dresser mirror at the foot of my bed was exactly what I'd already been seeing... whatever had prompted the "solification" of my illusion had even remembered to slim down my waistline a bit, though I was in no danger of being mistaken for a fur-covered bodybuilder. I swung my legs off the bed, stood up... and fell back into the bed. "Of course", I grumbled as I looked down at the canine legs and feet that extended to the carpet. "Can't make it too easy, can we?" By leaning forward slightly, I managed to stabilize myself in a standing position and...
I stopped. Something had just swung out from between my legs, and if it was what I thought it was... I pulled down my pajama shorts and looked in the mirror. There, behind me, was a truly impressive tail, raised from the position it was probably supposed to have held while I slept. "Not bad", I muttered, "Very realistic". Still a little wobbly on my feet, I walked to the door, drew it open and...
"AH! Ah, sheis!" I whimpered as I stumbled back from the door, my eyes streaming as my poor nose throbbed from the impact of a large door against it. "Shy-yi-yi-yi-YI! Owie!" As my legs hit the mattress, I fell back onto the bed, my tail diving between my legs for protection as I did so. "That hurt! Ow!" That shouldn't've happened, I mused silently as I rubbed my aching muzzle. I've done that lots of times before, and it never hurt like that! It never hurt at all!
Something's wrong here.
Lurching back to my feet, I turned to face the clock radio atop my bed. 2:33 P.M., probably because of all the editing the previous night. No news for hours yet, I fumed as I continued rubbing my bruised proboscis. Might as well eat something and get at my e-mail. They're going to LOVE this on the TSA...
Ducking my head as I opened the door, I stumbled out into the hall, narrowly missing a collision with Aurora, our cat. While she showed no obvious reaction to my presumed change. that really didn't mean much... so long as she was fed, she didn't care who or what did it. Mitzi, however, was another story. The poor schnauzer mix shook as I drew near, though I took pains to pet her and let her know who I was in my most soothing tone of voice. Moving on to the kitchen, I started trying to figure out what to eat. Cereal was a definite no-no, assuming I really had a muzzle... which, after the sharp introduction to the door, was pretty safe to assume. I didn't want to spill milk and bran flakes all over the floor, and the raisins probably wouldn't do too well, either. After consideration, I settled on a sandwich... but first, some juice. I grabbed a glass from the cabinet, filled it with chilled apple juice from the fridge, and...
... bumped my nose against the upper rim of the glass. "I should've known", I grumbled, and poured the juice into a small bowl for easier lapping... not bad, all in all, even considering how much of it wound up on my muzzle instead of in it. Returning to the icebox, I slid the bottle back into place, then started groping around for the turkey ham (even if I was starting to regret buying a whole pound of the stuff when it was on sale). After bonking my nose twice on the shelves and once on the freezer door, I finally managed to snag it with a clawtip and draw it out. I reached down for the mayonnaise...
After I pulled myself out of the refrigerator, I rethought doing any serious bending with my new feet. They just didn't seem all that stable. So, kneeling down, I grabbed the jar and lurched back to both paws. With a small grin, I actually used my jaws to grab the american cheese off the door shelf, and I'm happy to say I didn't even puncture the wrapping. Once I had it all on the counter, I went to work.
The happy routine of sandwich-making distracted me considerably from the situation. When in doubt, the old family saying went, find something to do. I hummed idly to myself, running a song from a computer game over in my head. As I fished the turkey ham from its package, I started to sing:
"Forty-eight years of livin',
"An angel in disguise.
"Forty-eight years of lovin',
"Smilin' with my eyes.
"Forty-eight years of mem'ries,
"Neatly tucked away.
"The daylight dies, and I hear them rise
"And dance upon their grave.
"What's that sound?", I belted as I folded a double serving of meat on top of the mayonnaised bread, "Coming from the dresser on a night as black as pitch?" I opened the cheese as I sang, "What's that sound? Coming from the bureau, do I dare turn on the switch?" I slapped the sandwich together and finished the song:
"Bones, them bones, them... dry bones, all
"Bleached and deathly white.
"I got skeletons in my closet,
"And they're rattlin' tonight."
Still humming, I gave a piece of meat to the still-wary-but-obviously-hungry Mitzi, who'd followed me in there, and bit into the sandwich.
Sighing through my nose, I ripped meat and cheese from the bread in a single convulsive motion of my head. So much for sandwiches, I mused as I bolted my food. I forgot you need a different kind of mouth to pull things apart without gnashing your teeth.
Once I'd thrown away the empty bread and lapped up the rest of my juice (and wiped my face off... eating when you can't chew human-style is blasted messy), I toddled back to my room and the computer. Thankfully, all the doors in the house opened into rooms, so my nose was safe for the moment. Closing the door behind me, I marveled at how neatly my tail seemed to sense when to "duck and cover". I suppose it shouldn't have been so surprising... after all, humans had tails once.
As I waited through the long startup on my Acer, watching just in case I had to kill a program again, I eyed the old harmonica I'd found in a thrift store some months back. By practicing during startups, downloads, and webpage loads, I'd been making progress. Finally, I decided to chance it. Holding the shiny metal gently in my claws, I placed in between my front teeth and blew.
From the reeds came a soft susurrus of sound, as though the wind were blowing through. The lower reeds proved weaker, though the high register resisted all attempts to make a vibration. I considered moving it closer to my windpipe, but I really didn't want to risk a gag reflex. No matter how hard I blew, I could only just get any sound out of it.
Thankfully, my computer was in a good mood... everything booted up safely, with no glitches, and even my buggy auxiliary drive didn't give me any trouble. With a few clicks each, I booted up Iexplore and Pmail, then tapped in my password and hit "Enter". Once the screen had refreshed and stabilized, I tapped the "Check Mail" button and waited for the mail to download. The status bar went through its usual routine... Connecting ... Getting message list ... Downloading message 1 of ...
I started back from my computer. I didn't think that program could count that high!
During the looooong download, I busied myself with a few games of FreeCell, then prepared Mother's coffee for when she got in at 7:00, changed Mitzi's water, brushed my teeth, dried the rinse water from my fur, came back...
Played a few more games of FreeCell...
Finally, I shut off the monitor. Whatever happened when Mother got home, I figured I'd need to be dressed, and I might as well use empty time while I had it.
I whimpered slightly as I took off my pajamas... my tail had apparently shoved itself right through the seam in back as it grew in, tearing a hole big enough to put my clawed fist through. I decided to leave my underwear alone for now, though I had a definite suspicion of what I'd find...
Just then, my body suddenly realized I had a full bladder. Grumbling, I strode into the bathroom, closed the door, dropped my underwear...
... and stood there. Whatever had changed me had been very busy, indeed. Rather than... ahem... aiming into the bowl, I was, instead, aiming up. Wonderful if you don't have an athletic supporter, but utterly lousy for going to the toilet. I could only bend... my member... a short way before... well, becoming as uncomfortable as I was from just thinking the words, only in a "don't do that" sort of way. Remembering the way canines mated, I figured I could probably rotate it... and really didn't want to.
Oh, for a urinal, I worried, as my bladder grew more and more insistent on being relieved of its burden. At least with them, aiming up isn't so much of a problem. Finally, I did the only thing I could... I lifted the lower lid, straddled the basin, and (after wiping it off, of course) lay down on the bowl.
Now that I was no longer dealing with an insistent urge to urinate, it was intriguing to contemplate that whatever had reoriented my family jewels had also restored them to an uncut state. Whatever had done this, it was definitely ambitious.
After cleaning myself off and maneuvering my tail back through the holes in my underwear and pajamas, I walked back in and found my mail had finished downloading at last. The main box had only a little... a few pages in the Interactive Story, soon edited, plus some spam, soon deleted... and then I moved on to the mail folders.
I sat there blinking for a moment at the amount of increase in the TSA folder. "Hm", I mused aloud, to keep my thoughts organized. "Either something's going on, or... well, of course something's going on", I replied to myself, "but this looks a little big. Let's take a look..."
The folder was literally crammed with unread mail, ranging from "RL TF!" to "Turning into a panther... for REAL!!!". Reading through them was like waking up inside a bad B-movie, by which I mean one that neither knows nor cares how bad it is, but takes itself seriously all the way through. After skimming through, I composed my own e-mail:
Subject: Re: RL TF!
>You're not going to believe this... but I'm actually changing into a dog!
>Is this happening to anyone else?
Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but this wandering werewolf looks decidedly furrier than he did last night. I don't suppose anyone knows who worked this wonder of weredom?
I sent the e-mail off and checked for more messages. Not very
many, other than a late arrival from BlueNight that I elected
to leave for later, since I could hardly call this proof that
there wasn't a Writer writing this universe... not terribly surprising, what
with the slow mailserver.
Sighing, I killed the e-mail program before the faulty drive could do it and started checking my favorite webcomics. There really was nothing more to do until Mother got... oh, dear.
I jumped to my feet, narrowly avoiding banging my muzzle against the monitor. I yanked open the door, turned my head (and smiled as I thought of coughing) and bolted to the kitchen.
Time to fix Mother's coffee.
As I checked the freezer for dinner fixings, I heard the front
door open. "Hello, Mother!", I called.
"Hello, Edwardo", came back the reply. Well, at least she sounded like she was in a good mood...
"I've already fixed the coffee", I called back, "I'm just trying to figure out what to fix for dinner. How's fish sticks and macaroni and cheese?"
"Do we have anything else instead of the Kraft dinner", she asked.
"Well, there's the rotini I made last night."
"Okay." I decided to plunge right in. "Mother?"
"Something happened today." I walked into the den.
"What..." She trailed off momentarily, then rose to her full kill-the-Yankees Southern volume. "What did you do!?"
"Nothing!" I yelped, my ears flattening against my skull. "I just --"
"Change back right now!"
"I don't know how yet", I whimpered. "I only --"
"You are not staying in my house like that!", she roared as my tail attempted to merge with my legs. Either you change back, or you can go live somewhere else, because you are not living here looking like an animal!"
"Yes, ma'am", I whimpered, bowing my head.
"I'll just have to fix dinner myself", she stormed as she stalked past me.
"Out of the kitchen! You start working on changing back! Now go!"
I scurried all the way back to the computer, resisting the urge to yipe.
Within minutes, I was back online, searching frantically for anything about how to reverse the change, modify it, something! Where other mothers might have just threatened to throw me out, I knew better... my mother'd do it! She'd miss me, sure, but she'd do it in a heartbeat if she felt she had to... and she apparently felt she had to.
Five hours later, I stared at the computer screen in disbelief. Not only was there nothing to indicate that I could get rid of what had happened... now some of the listmembers were saying they couldn't change shape! "This does not look good", I muttered... and regretfully began composing an e-mail I'd been dreading:
About that roommate offer... is there any chance I could come down this week?
I awoke late the next afternoon, to find Mother already gone
shopping... something she normally did with me. I felt an uneasy
hole in my stomach that the can of chili I microwaved did nothing
to fill. I'd wound up sleeping in the clothes I'd been wearing,
of course, just to keep away from Mother's room, where the clean
laundry was. As soon as I'd finished, I went into Mother's room
to make a call. Sitting down on the bed, I dialed a familiar number.
"Hello", came the voice of my sister.
"Hi, Mary," I answered. "Everything okay where you are?"
"Not too bad," came the reply. "Finally got that gas bill straightened out, and I am not letting Phil pay the bills again."
"Sorry!" came Phil's tenor from the background noise.
"What's up with you?"
I took a deep breath. "Mary, you know how I've been a werewolf for years, right?"
"There was something on the news today about a bunch of guys that supposedly changed into something. You okay?"
"Fine," I sighed, glad that at least she wouldn't be too surprised. "Except for being a walking, talking wolf-creature."
"How's Mom takin' it?"
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about..."
"The South rose again," I sighed as I instinctively rolled my eyes.
"Anyway, I was wondering if I could stay with you guys until I get someplace to stay."
The pause went on for much too long. "The cats wouldn't like it?" I suggested into the stillness.
"Yeah. Plus, if you nibbled on my daughter, I'd have to kill ya."
I listened for the laughter that should've accompanied that statement.
There wasn't any.
"Mary!" I yelped into the phone, "How could you suggest such a thing? She's pack, for crying out loud!"
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Well, I've got another option possibly before I wind up sleeping in the alley."
"That's good. Well, I'll let'cha go."
"All right," I sighed. "Say hello to Sarah for me, won't you?"
"Will do. 'Bye."
I hung up the phone. I'd known it was a long shot, of course... I wouldn't even have bothered if she hadn't been off the same day Mother was... but I'd had to try. Sighing disconsolately, I retreated to my room before Mother could come in and chase me out, hoping I hadn't left any incriminating bits of fur where she could find them.
As soon as I was logged on, I started a download of another huge batch of messages, though not quite so immense as before. I'd just finished reading the reply from Darrius when I heard the door open again... a sound I was beginning to dread.
Not many minutes after I heard the pet gate be shoved aside, the door to the room I was in opened.
"You haven't changed back."
At least she wasn't yelling. "I don't think I can," I whined. "I --"
"How did you do this in the first place," she snapped without waiting for me to finish.
"I didn't!" I yelped. "All I did was wake up!"
"Then you'll have to go," she said... so matter-of-fact, that phrase.
I thought you loved me, I wanted to say. I thought you loved me.
"Yes, ma'am. I'm already setting it up. I'll be leaving tomorrow to join up with some friends down in Austin."
For a moment, she softened... for just a moment, I thought she understood what she was doing to me.
But the moment passed. "Good."
As she left, I bowed my head with a whine. It was over. She finally wanted to be rid of me, the way I'd always feared she would.
The only thing worse than finding out maternal love has limits, I thought to myself, is finding out you've crossed them.
I dove headlong into a websearch when an e-mail arrived from Toronto, asking if anyone knew of a farrier in that area. For a little while, at least, I could ignore what was happening, had happened, whatever you wanted to call it. I forgot everything else as I focused in on the hunt.
Finally, through a LookSmart search of Yahoo!, I tracked one down. It had taken me more than three hours, but I'd finally found a farrier in Toronto.
I slumped. The hunt was over.
And it didn't change a thing.
I shut down the computer and went to bed.
Thursday morning, as soon as Mother was gone, I came out of
my room and started packing the suitcases. "She can't complain
about my using them," I nattered to myself. "I've used them before.
Can't have her getting wolf cooties on her precious self, can
we? No," I snarled, throwing clothes into the case, "we can't
have an animal living here, can we? Couldn't possibly have your own son in the place if he's got a fur coat! Can't... can't..."
I seized Rufus and held the little plush raccoon to my furry chest... and cried.
After I'd cried myself out, I dried myself off, blew my nose on a convenient paper towel, and finished packing.
Finally, with the strap of a shoulder bag in my teeth and a suitcase on each arm, I staggered off to the two-and-a-half-mile walk to the bus stop.
As I meandered up the street, I could hear music in my mind...
Can you hear me,
Am I getting through tonight?
Can you see him?
Can you make him be all right?
If you hear me...
Let me take his place somehow.
See, he's not just anyone...
Can you hear me?
Can you see him?
Please don't leave him...
My mind bit down on the last line. No. Apparently I'm not anyone's son anymore.
And as I looked back, one last song came to mind...
We're... all... alone...
We're... all... alone...
Behold... the mys-te-ry.
Behold... the mys-te-ry.
I shut my mind up.
I started walking.
The main problem of living where I do... did... is that you need to walk more than two miles to the nearest bus stop in order to make it into Downtown Dallas. Not that they haven't tried to extend the bus system out to Mesquite... it just hasn't been a popular measure, for reasons I've never understood.
Reasons I really didn't understand as I hobbled along the sidewalk carrying a suitcase under each arm and a carryall in my muzzle. This was hard enough before doing it on tiptoe, I grumbled to myself. Not only were my arms going several varieties of numb, but my lower back was steadily informing me that carrying a fully-loaded something in my mouth was not a good idea, with extra reminders at every step.
Not that I didn't have some fun... for once, the two noisy dogs along the route were silent, staring at me and visibly hoping I wouldn't stop.
I shifted uncomfortably inside my jeans, wishing I'd had time to open a seam or something to let my tail out... but considering my less-than-stellar sewing skills, it was probably for the best. I fully expected to be stared at quite enough without having my pants fall apart.
As I stopped at the crosswalk, I finally put my luggage down... first the bags, so I could press the button, and then the carryall. As I rubbed my aching back, I punched the shiny chrome switch with my other paw. Looking up, I could see clouds gathering overhead... for whatever reason, my family's emotional moments have always attracted downpours.
I'm going to miss this, I suddenly realized. I'm never going to see this again. Even if things work out for the best, I'll never see this place again. I could feel my shoulders and tail slump as it hit home. I'm leaving.
Feeling more tired than ever, I put the strap of the carryall back in my mouth and shouldered the bags as the light began to change. Then, as the green WALK sign flickered on, I began scurrying across to the other side... like anyone around Dallas, I trust drivers as far as I can throw them.
As the realization beat its way into my heart, I grew more and more tired. My arms began to feel as heavy as the overstuffed suitcases, my paws like furry sandbags swinging at the ends of lead weights.
I chuckled sadly as I remembered the note Mother had left me, telling me I could come back if she ever managed to get a farm... as long as I slept in the barn. My own mother. I elected not to think about what my sister had thought about me... it hurt too much. I put down a bag, reached up to my face and...
Wait a minute...
Of course, I realized. That's what was missing. My glasses. Now that I finally had a chance to think about it, I'd never picked them up from the back of the bed on the day I changed. With my vision surprisingly clear, and life throwing too much at me too fast to think about it, I'd completely forgotten I even wore them... until reflex had prompted me to push them up.
At least some good came of all this, I fumed as I reshouldered the luggage.
Then I looked down at myself.
But, darn it, I like looking like this!
Finally, feeling as though I'd just finished towing a car all
the way, I stumbled to a stop against the steel pole of the bus
stop sign. "Bleah," I mouthed as I took the carryall from my muzzle
and stood there limbering up my tongue for a few minutes. "Nylon
is not tasty."
I smiled to myself. At least I had someone left to talk to... even if it was me.
Since it was approaching midday, the bus stop was deserted... though the gas station behind it garnered me quite a few stares, which I returned with a grin and a wave... so I didn't have to deal with very many people. Just then, people were the last thing I wanted to deal with. Still, I managed to calm down some before the bus arrived.
As the white-and-yellow monstrosity pulled up in a cloud of fumes strong enough to make my ears flatten against my skull, I put the carryall back in my mouth, pulled the four quarters from my pocket, and reshouldered my luggage. Teetering precariously, I waddled up into the bus, leaned far enough over to keep the bag on my shoulder as I dropped in the coins, then turned from the frankly staring driver and began walking to my seat.
Then the bus started moving.
Digitigrade feet, I discovered in that instant, may be wonderful for walking and running and standing. They are utterly useless in a moving vehicle. As the bus surged forward, my feet slipped from beneath me with a muffled scrape.
With a smothered cry wrapping itself around the carryall strap, I instinctively closed my eyes and turned my head to the left as I was thrown to the rubber mats on the floor of the bus, landing solidly on one of my suitcases. As the air shot from my lungs, my knuckles bounced off the metal strip at the mats' edge, and I actually skidded an inch or so farther down the aisle.
Ow, I winced as my mind caught up. Ow. Ow. Ow.
"Are you all right?"
I opened my eyes to find a middle-aged woman looking down at me and spat out the strap from the carryall. "I'm okay," I said finally, checking my jaw for loose teeth. "Thank you for asking, though." She returned to her window, Southern courtesy satisfied. Returning to my problem at paw, I looked around and formulated a plan for getting up.
Loosening my grip from the suitcase handles, I slowly got up to my knees and grabbed the aluminum pole that extended from ceiling to floor of the compartment. Using the pole as an anchor, I dragged myself to my feet, then began dredging my luggage from the floor of the bus. The two suitcases went between the spots where my legs would go, while I lifted the carryall to the seat beside me. Then, pivoting around my own grip, I dropped myself into the seat, my tail sliding over to an inner thigh to avoid being sat on.
Whoof, I sighed in my mind. Finally. I rubbed my poor, aching knuckles as I clenched my legs tightly to avoid luggage spillover. Now to go...
My mind stuttered to a stop as it hit me again.
The churches and shops receded past the sides of the bus as I watched.
I'm really leaving.
I held back a whimper, and then a howl.
And I can't even say goodbye.
Dropping my heavy head, I stared into the black rubber beneath my feet. There was nobody left to say goodbye to... no place left to go but Austin and a longshot called Darrius.
I looked up again as the highway passed the old hat factory
that had been turned into apartments. A crowning achievement, I punned bitterly, then mentally slapped myself... I was in no
mood for any humor, even mine. The small population of the bus
began to dwindle even further as the stops came and went... Pearl...
Finally, at Main and Griffin, I hit the signal strip, picked up my bags in arm and muzzle, teetered to my feet, and wobbled my way out the door.
As the bus pulled away, I risked a glance two streets over, to the building where my mother worked. A suppressed whimper managed to escape me as a patch of empty space opened up inside me.
Goodbye, I thought forlornly in her direction. Goodbye, Mother.
I love you.
Dragging my luggage and a sinking stomach, I turned away.
I'm leaving, I cried into my mind. Mama doesn't want me anymore.
I blinked away the tears and waited for the light to change.
Mary, my own sister, doesn't want me anymore.
I hurried through the crosswalk, the suitcases banging against my knees.
My mental "voice" trailed off into a whine as I hurried across another street and turned to face the Texas Club. I could feel myself yelping inside as I stumbled past the red brick skyscraper... past El Centro... headed for...
I don't wanna go...
... the Greyhound bus station. Catching the door with a suitcase edge, I scraped through into the terminal.
I know, I told myself almost sternly. But we have to go.
The ticket agent was remarkably understanding as I used my credit card to purchase a one-way ticket to Austin. I idly wished I watched the news more often... the story must've been interesting.
With a remarkably good piece of timing, it was only a matter of minutes before, carried along by the idly curious crowd around me (none of whom said anything, of course... it's a rule of Texas bus riding that you never ask about such things), I dropped my tagged suitcases onto the luggage cart, moved my carryall from my muzzle to my shoulder...
Because nobody wants us here anymore, I informed myself. They told us so.
... and lurched onto the bus. Thankfully, nothing was moving around me, so I actually managed to get to my seat without incident. I put my bag between my legs, leaned against the window...
... and wished it was easier for me to cry. But I love them, the most miserable part of my mind wailed. I love them!
But why don't they want me?
I could feel water welling up in my eyes as I answered, I don't know. I'm sorry, I honestly don't know.
The bus eased forward with a gentle hiss from the airbrakes... gentle, at least, from inside the compartment. Dallas began to leave me. Outside the bus, I could see rain pattering down, the storm growing in strength even as pools formed on the pavement.
In a wordless image, I wished someone could hold me. Someone who could tell me they loved me, and they wanted me, and...
I wiped my eyes. There isn't anyone like that anymore. I'm sorry.
I stared out the window as the scenery blurred with tears and speed.
[more to come]