You don’t know you’ve left until you see the deer’s body on the side of the road. At first, you think it’s sleeping. You think: What if it is hit by a car. You think: I should do something.
But your foot is steady against the gas petal, and then you’re driving past. That’s when the image hits you again. White highway lights, displaying the crooked neck and empty eyes like a cadaver on a scientist’s sterile table.
You realize it is dead.
And that is when you know where you are. Speeding down Route 9, your hands steady with sweat around the steering wheel, a deer’s body not-sleeping two miles back.
You catch your own eye in the rearview mirror. The pupil, round. Someone else’s blood spreading like determined tree roots in the white. Spreading as in an infection. When you close your eyes hard enough, you see the red, then, exploding like fireworks across your black vision. Your fingers reach up and scratch. It hurts.
If this is where you are, there’s somewhere else you’re meant to be. But your foot has never been more certain against the gas petal.
And you don’t trust what you see, not with an eye as diseased as the one looking back at you. A deer’s body isn’t a body if you never remember the lights, after all.
So don’t remember. So you tell yourself, don’t remember.
And you’re still going, going, going.