Camping in Death Valley, Paxson Woelber

Chapter One – Transit

The city stood erect and imposing. Crowds walled within its maze moved in streams of color and shadow, with an urban pulse coursing through each running, rattling member.

Evie was one of them.

Rushing through her morning ritual she ascended from her garden apartment, jumping into the push. The city told her where to go, what to do, and who to do it with. Evania wasn’t quite the mover and shaker of Wall Street, but she had her own network of connections – people she relied on and who relied on her for day-to-day decisions and operations.

She ran across East Street, jacket open, scarf and hair braided by the wind, calculating how much time she had to grab a latte and catch the train to get across town. She joined the jittery lines feigning movement with urgent calls, news updates and text messages, hurriedly cupping coffees and jumping back into the rush.

Pressed against other commuters, Evie watched the doors suction open with a hydraulic cry to embrace and expel commuters en route. Faces stared forward, suppressing yawns with deep breaths, blinking impersonal glances, then down to screens printed with busy thumbs.

Suddenly, the train strained against its hurling momentum, breaking in a screeching halt, then finally rocked to a moaning stop, fuming biting smoke. Bodies flung in slow motion toward the front and then back of the car like pendulums anchored to seats or poles to which they desperately clung.

Finally still, Evie blinked…

Campsite #6: She wanted to get away. She didn’t know how far she would go.

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Camping in Death Valley by Paxson Woelber. Used with permission.