Quick Note: later in the story, it is said that one of the characters is speaking Farsi when actually he is speaking in Swahili... I speak neither language, but know that the intended language is Farsi, and I'm waiting on a friend to help me with the translation. Sorry for the inconvenience, and enjoy the story:)

PS- this story contains very dark, maybe even disturbing imagery, but all for a purpose. Reader discression advised- (hehe, always wanted to say that)


The Girl who Sat Beside the Highway

High noon. A current flowed through the belching, glistening day of hustle, bustle and words. That is to say, the ocean of cars, a current on hardtop choked down the interstate on this, a day like any other. Cross-legged beside the highway, a girl of blossoming age sat and stared. Nearby her were all her clothes, neat, folded beneath the guardrail, hidden in the grass like change in a couch, and every bit as useless. Stripped neatly to the nines, the sun prickled her milk-drop skin, leaving a pink shawl across her shoulders. She didn't mind. Before her the broad ocean of roaring, pulsing life flooded a world of black. Thousands went by; fathers, mothers, lovers, children, nieces, nephews and cousins, ne'er looking up nor down, left nor right, only ahead. Most never even saw her. There were too many parties, too many funerals, too many vacations, too many masses and meetings and partings and greetings: how on earth could they bother with a pinkened blur beside the road? Let others handle such trifles. The Thing was waiting, so on they must drive. Cars, RVs, Mack trucks and buses, all these and more the girl saw from her place beside the highway, and all was good.

The first to stop was the woman. The woman was middling in height, age and personality. She had been driving in her plush little bug, with the plush little cross swinging from a plush little mirror, when she saw the girl. "Poor, sweet, little innocent," the woman tsked in her head, cursing the anonymous mother who'd left this little angel bare to the Lord beside the freeway. She pulled over.

"Here little angel! Take my coat; come with auntie, who's abandoned you here?"

The girl said nothing. She was too occupied with the ocean.

"Did you hear me, angel? Here's my coat; it's not right you being out here like this… please sweetheart; come home with me. I'll find you some good clothes, fix you something nice to eat and tomorrow we'll go find your folks, how's that sound?" She paused, her middling smile transfixed in awkward anticipation. Still nothing. The woman continued in this manner for another five minutes or so, even going so far as to squat in front of the girl to rescue her from the thousands of eyes that she didn't know we already averted. She draped the coat about the pinkened shoulders, but it wouldn't stay. The girl just shrugged away the weight.

It was only when the woman's kind, albeit frustrated, eyes locked upon the girl's tiny pupils that finally she spoke: I wish only to sit.

And that was all. In her heart of hearts, the woman saw the truth of these words, but not what to make of them. Resigned, she said only what she knew, what she could comprehend. "God keep you child," she whispered, crossed herself, and left for her Thing. She had every intention of calling for child services, truly she did, but her phone was nowhere in sight. She shook her head, and turned the ignition.


Afternoon. Another car. A taxi. The girl observed without observing. Her delicate cheekbones and shoulders stung horribly, like the seat of a wasps' nest, but her interests were elsewhere. Little ants excavated her clothes, legs, and back, but to the girl they were nothing more than kisses from another reality. She had no concerns with them. The ocean had stilled. Traffic. It was the bane of all America, except for she. She saw it all, horns blaring, nobody caring and people swearing, and knew all was good.

It cannot be honestly stated at this point why the taxidriver saw her, but one can speculate. Maybe, just maybe of course, as the cold metal and rubber scaffolding built itself around his translucent vessel of a cab, his eyes lifted ever just so from the weight of the many Things ahead and drifted, drifted away from duty. Maybe just as he was fighting the dark haze of sleepless nights and smoggy days, he so chanced to look- and he saw.

He slammed his breaks damn near killing the mother of four behind him. It was just a scratch, but still. It was the principle of the thing. They argued, he in broken Farsi, she in the tongue of motherhood. Eventually it was settled, and she returned to her SUV, flustered and ranting about policies political and otherwise. He, enraged and disinclined to return to his chalk-dust coffee and money-eating traffic, found a perfectly human vessel for his miseries. The traffic was so deadlocked he didn't even need to pull over.

"You! Wewe! Samahani- I don't understand this! Why are you here? Move away! Dress yourself! Do not sit on the road side as you are; it is disgusting!" As before, the girl held to peace.

"You disgracing child! Do you not speak? Jibu! Reply to me!" Slowly, like a little chiseled Buddha, the girl lifted her sun-stained head. I wish only to sit.

"Nini? What is this you say? 'To sit'? Are you a dog, child? Girls do not sit by roadways; put your clothes on and leave here!" No response. In a rage the taxidriver scooped up the ant-trickled clothes from beneath the guardrail and thrust them at her violently, careful not to touch her. He knew what happened to men like him who were found alone with naked girls. An ogre of a horn blast brought him back to reality with a start. The mother had switched lanes and in her place was a fairly coked up truck driver with a load to dump in Cincinnati by Monday. He was in no mood.

Beside himself in every way imaginable, the taxidriver shook one last, demeaning finger at the girl before hop-running his way back to the dreary, ashen cab. "The Devil have you!"


The sun was now at her back. Evening. The girl shivered, but beyond that was still. A picture of a girl. Her once-pastel shoulders, face and bosom had ripened with the day and turned an almost bloody crimson. For a long time, nobody stopped. Many didn't even see her. Many stared, especially the children, but the Things of life were turning on their neon lights, beckoning, tap-dancing, stealing, and so nobody stopped. She knew this, unwavering, and knew, somehow, it was good. Then a car slowed; mowed its way through the grass while hissing, serpentine, through the grass. It paused several yards to the left. The door announced it's opening with a "ding… ding…" The driver stepped out; he'd left his blinker on. The car door slammed, and shuddered, weakened from repeated abuse and reuse. Out from the corner of her eye the girl saw a shadow, hulking and dark. I?t must've had eyes, as all things do, but she couldn't see them. Cars buzzed by before her little blue eyes, and her sole attention was with them, so she didn't hear the "scuff, scuff, scuff" of shoes in the grass, of a colossus rising. The jutting shadow of a rather large fedora fell upon her lap.

"Hey there pretty one… how'd you get out here?" There was a smirking laughter, but the girl was unmoving.

"Hey, you hear me when I'm talking to you? Huh?" There was a sharp pain in her thigh, and a scuff the size of a work boot, but still the girl was still. The man laughed again. Each note was weighted with ice.

Another shadow crossed her lap, a fist. The girl neither flinched nor screamed, but the blow fell hard just above her right ear. A pain interrupted her meditation, but she moved no more than the fist made her.

"Oh you like that do ya? Well you should talked, honey, 'cause far as I know, that's a 'yes sir! I'll have another sir!'" Another round of laughter preceded another round of blows. The girl's little body pitched and yawed like a plane in turbulence, but she did not fall. She tasted blood.

Headstrong as the devil himself, the shadow-man pushed the naked girl on her side, and pulling the over-sized fedora hat over those little blue, ravaged her before the thousand eyes of God and the buzzing, black ocean. Still, nobody stopped. He finished, beat her again with boot and fist, plopped the hat back on his head and turned away.

"You're no fun anyhow," he laughed. Scuff, scuff, scuff …ding…ding…ding-

The girl, a sliced-up painting, a blood-smeared abstract, stared with her little blue eyes at the shadow flying away down her calves. I wish-

The shadow-man was gone.


Night. A Siren sings, luring the cars to each respective side of the road to meet a collective doom. To keep them from reaching, achieving the Thing so desired. The siren grows louder, and splices the tar like a motorboat. People glare, spiteful with the inconvenient interruption. "Damned pigs," some whisper. Children with sleepy eyes peep out from beneath piles and piles of homemade quilts, curious. They don't have long to look, however, as their parents pedal to the metal and speed away before they get written up for misdemeanors "of course we didn't do." All resume their sleep.

The Siren draws nearer. Its interest lies not in misdemeanors. The ocean drones on, oblivious of the call made by one of its own not 15 minutes earlier. A woman, not yet fifty years of age had struggled with the words to properly express what she felt was her solemn duty to report. "Please, Lord Jesus, go do… do whatever it is do, whatever you can, officer, please… and quickly!" and so a dispatcher sent the Siren and its men to check on Things Undesired.

When the car finally reached its destination, ("…the stretch of pavement after exit 46 but before the state line,") the elder of the two cops was careful to mute the siren. It'd been too dark to see exactly what the woman had been talking about, but if she had been right then the girl should be easy enough to find on foot…

"Oh shit. Don… c'mere." The younger of the two flipped his flashlight in his partner's direction.

"Hey you find something?" Don asked. The elder said nothing.

Don, neatly pressed in his brand-new uniform almost strut to the place where his partner's light glinted off a decades-old stretch of guardrail. It was his first field job. He smelt it before he saw it.

"I guess we found her," Don said, his face like ash. "…well, that blows."

"Yeah. That blows."

And so they stood there a good minute, elder and younger, surveying the lifeless meat, the roadkill of a different kind, the dull roar of a metal ocean reverberating in their skulls, both thinking and trying not to. The elder turned back to the mute flashing car in the distance. He didn't want the kid to see him cry. "I'll call the morgue."

The younger nodded. "You know what I think-"

"Don't really care, Don."

"I think she just wanted to sit here. Just like this. Forever."

"Let the girl rest Don."

"Huh. All that… and she just wanted to sit and watch over us all… like a-"

"Don! Get your finger outta your ass and help me prepare the crime scene."

The younger waved him off. He cast his eyes down upon the carefully seated idol of flesh, blood, hair and insects and crossed himself. He laid his cap at her feet, in silent reverence, and turned to aid his partner. He left her eyes open. In her lifetime, Officer Don Martinez never knew the girl who sat beside the highway, but even so, he understood.