As You Drive East

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As you drive East from Budapest, cars get older and louder and blow grey smoke. You see farmers guide horses pulling wagons of hay. You see old man wearing big hats and darker, aged clothing. You see roofs on houses sag, cement facades chip away to red brick beneath. You see sidewalks crack, heave and then disappear. You see more and more people on dusty bicycles and boney mopeds.

As you drive East you find road signs to be hidden by trees or missing completely. The smooth pavement gives ways to splotches of cement and asphalt. Then holes in the road get bigger and bigger, some large enough to swallow your car. The guardrails and street lights disappear and you drive along in a pitch black, flat, foreign land. Everywhere you look is a mysterious abyss except for the thirty feet of broken road ahead, light dimly by the weak headlights on your early 80’s Volkswagen.

You go through town after town; rows of sad houses lined tightly, their front doors spilling straight into the street. All the lights are off and you wonder if the motionless towns are abandoned, but you know really everyone is sleeping.

You turn off in a dirt truck stop to take a piss and a stretch. The cold air bites your face and you run back from the bush to the van. Two shepards come by, in the black of the night, carrying long old wooden sticks capped with blinking blue lights and whistling at their group of fluffy white sheep that glow even through this incredible darkness. They come towards you to pass, trotting clumsily along, and you hear their soft bodies rub the side of your parked van.

With the bad roads and the darkness you drive on slowly again through the black, through a strange quite town, and again through the black.

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