Everybody else was driving south. Miles and miles of thousands of vehicles crawling, bumper to bumper, with many pulled over to the side. She grieved for the freezing people but she could not stop to help. She was the only person heading north on the freeway. Her chest tightened as she glanced at the small box she clenched in her hand. Miles and miles of empty lanes yet the snow kept getting heavier. Even with her snow tires, she didn’t know if she’d make in time for…

(Stories need only touch on this topic in some way to qualify.)

Read this one twice! 😉

Alice stood against the fence, breathless, waiting for her one chance. When it came, she wouldn’t hesitate. Clutching the box to her chest, she looked first to the left, then to the right. To her relief, no one was paying attention to her. No one was poised to prevent her from bolting at her first opportunity.

She must play it very cool. It wouldn’t do for anyone to uncover her plan. Alice took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself.

The moment was upon her. Alice deftly slipped past the barrier, and sprinted across the platform where several cars sat open. She didn’t have the luxury of being picky and she leaped behind the wheel of the first vehicle she came to, placing her box and its precious cargo on her lap.

Dame Fortune smiled on Alice that day. The car was already running, with the engine sputtering and catching as it idled. Securing her safety restraint, Alice stomped on the accelerator and the car lurched forward, throwing her backward into her seat. Behind her a man shouted for her to stop but Alice ignored him, and white-knuckled the steering wheel as the tires screamed in protest, and the car picked up speed.

She rounded the first turn only to find a car stalled on the road ahead of her. Was this intentional? Had someone deliberately tried to thwart the execution of her bold and audacious plan? If so, she would make certain their efforts would come to naught.

There was no way to stop in time to avoid plowing into the car ahead of her and she yanked the wheel hard to the right. Her car struck the curb, and went up onto the grass. Alice drove across the greenery until she pulled onto an adjacent road. There, she pressed on the gas, and sped down a ramp, back onto the highway.

Now that she was on the main highway, Alice realized she was the only one heading north. All of the other vehicles she saw were headed in the opposite direction. What was going on? Had there been an evacuation order?

The line of cars traveling the other way was truly impressive. As soon as it looked as though the last of the cars had come, more would follow. What would account for such an exodus? Had there been a natural disaster? Perhaps there had been a radiation leak? It was useless to speculate. Fate had placed her on the road she now traveled and she had no choice but to ride it out until she came to the very end.

Alice slowed her car to more closely examine the oncoming traffic. There had been accidents. Cars were ordered to stop. There was a car on the side of the road and men in uniforms pulled a child out of the car, and took her away.

She slowed even more, and saw the faces of the riders; glazed, expressionless. They had no hope but to wait until the road cleared and they could continue their headlong flight from whatever peril they so desperately hoped to escape.

Inadvertently, Alice had put herself in danger. Her concern for the southward bound sojourners had distracted her from her own jeopardy and men in uniforms attempted to stop her.

Her reflexes were quick and she sped away at the last possible moment.

Toward the east, in the distance, Alice spied naval shipyards bustling with activity. At the dock was moored a submarine, and uniformed sailors assisted the crew in boarding before setting out to sea. Was this a military exercise or had the country been attacked?

Alice instinctively knew her journey was near the end. She looked toward the west at the snow-covered mountain towering over the landscape. It reminded her of the time she spent in Zermatt, Switzerland.

When she graduated college with her bachelor’s degree, she’d taken off for a month’s tour of Europe. It was there in Zermatt she’d met Andre and they spent two glorious weeks together with the great mountain always looking down upon them.

This present view of the mountain reminded her of Andre and her heart ached with longing to see him once again. Keeping her eyes on the road, she placed her hand on the box she guarded. It was a gift from Andre. She’d confessed her fondest wish to him. Against all expectations, he had granted her that wish all the way from his home in Belgium.

Daydreaming was not without consequence and she saw the stalled car far too late to stop in time. Her tiny purple car slid on the damp pavement and hit the identical tiny red car ahead of her. The box on her lap was thrown to the floor and the top popped off.

Her chest tightened from the safety restraint as she reached for the box. The card inside read, “Alice, have a wonderful time at Disneyland!” Nestled in the box was her Minnie Mouse hat, complete with ears, which she’d been afraid to wear for fear it would be blown off.

The ride crew finally caught up with Alice, and demanded, “Hey, Lady. This is the Autopia, not a demolition derby. How did you get over on the maintenance lane? You were going the wrong way the whole time! We don’t want any trouble in TomorrowLand.”

Alice hadn’t been to the Magic Kingdom since her high school graduation. Now what would she go on next, the Submarines or the Matterhorn?