Ol' Silver Eyes
Where the Future Rests in the Hands of the Past...
She never stopped running for me.
Through heat of desert, through fire of lead and laser, she never stopped. Same four wheels throttling the sand, same eight cylinders pounding away with all the fury of a jackhammer. She did it all for me, my gal, and my boy.
Lord knows why It chased us all into the plains. Those it didn’t slaughter first.
There was no reason, no rhyme to it at all. One day it just came roaring at us, a million miles an hour. The maintenance system citywide crashed, whole thing collapsed in an instant, and the moment it was back on, death sat on the wiry tongue of that bitch's lips. That cold digital bitch with her electric tendrils wrapped around the throats of all within her sprawling urban grasp.
Ah hell, stewing on it never did me good. Keeping 'em together was what I cared about. Damn near the only thing I could do. I'd catch a friend on the intercom every now and then. The "Hey how you doings" and the "Holding up fines" fading in and out with the crushed static as we drifted on and on across the land. But all I had was the family.
Marina was good about keeping Bobby's spirits up as we went, also kept that train of knowledge rolling God bless her. Miracle what you can do with a couple of Old World textbooks and a sharp brain like hers to keep Bobby learning. And hey, he doesn’t really mind hanging in the backseat of his ol' pal Silver Eyes. Kiddo's only six and loves her to death. Bet he'd drive her like a pro if I let him.
When we have the time Pal, when we have the time.
As for me, Silver and I are one in the same. One boot welded to the throttle, both black-furred hands molded to the wheel. She lives for us, and I for her. Every now and then, on a clear night before my eyes descend into that warm pit of darkened slumber, I can hear a faint rev from her, well after the engine had cooled. It was her gentle way of saying "goodnight," one I welcomed with a smile and a pat on the wheel before drifting away.
No one ever thought they'd need her. It’s why I love her so damn much.
Every cotton-picking time I'd leave the labs, after writing my reports and touching up some of the maquettes for the latest gadgets in development, some cybernetic ass would waltz up to me and say "how's the gas-guzzler Tex" or "she still have a place in the Smithsonian?" I could always take a joke, but I always got the feeling there was some real disdain tucked away in that punchline. No one in the bold world of the Electric Tomorrow saw what I saw in her.
I saw beauty and grace in that old white '50 Fleetwood. I saw something of myself in her. Unwanted by the march of time, forgotten by all who stare straight ahead, onwards and upwards. Her cross is being out of the past, mine’s not getting chipped. But for God's sake, how can you not marvel at a dame like her managing to live on this Earth for a gob-smacking two centuries? I felt that kinship the moment I stepped inside her. She never wavered, she never fought, she never broke down. I treated her well, and she treated us like royalty.
I always felt bad for 'em though. When that...thing dropped the calibrated EMP, I wouldn't wish the frying that befell those augmentations on my worst enemy. There was, dear God, there was nothing I could do for them, just watch the bodies writhe all across the lab. I promised myself as I loaded Marina and Bobby in that I would etch those memories into time itself, if only so they wouldn't be forgotten the way my Silver Eyes was.
And so we ride, on and on, with the clear blue sky above us and rusted sand below. We've got our last can of gas in the trunk, a total of five spare parts for who-even-knows at this point, and the last of the rations. Whatever remains of that great city is long since lost to the depths of the rearview. It’s just us against the land. We've been holding up pretty good up until now, but we're worried. God knows we are worried.
But I got one thing keeping me strong.
Whenever I get down about things, or I see my gal and my boy losing the spirit, I always say one thing to 'em, and to myself.
"She'll never stop running for us."
She hasn’t yet, and I hope she never will.