Ill Meet You On Route 62
(A Disney/Pixar Cars fanfic)
Vee drove slowly across the vacant lot, balancing an oil drum on her hood. A light drizzle of rain blurred her windshield, and she turned her wipers on to clear it. She slowed to a crawl as she rounded the corner of a dilapidated brick building that had once been a supermarket, careful not to tip the drum. It wobbled for a moment, and she could hear the oil sloshing around inside it.
Behind the store, in a dank, dirty alley, Mack stood beside the trailer rummaging through a tool box. Tangled weeds choked with trash lined the narrow passage between the store and another brick building. The mingled odors of rain, rot and motor oil wafted up from slimy puddles on the broken pavement. Little mud-colored bugs buzzed around a nearby dumpster. Vee wrinkled her nose at the smells, but, having chosen the location for the sole purpose of hiding the trailer, she did not complain.
Mack looked up from his tool box when he heard Vee approach and smiled. Hey, Sugar Lips! he greeted her. Bout time you got back. I was starting to get worried.
Sorry it took so long, Vee replied as she parked in front of him. Dinner is served!
Mack stared at the oil drum on her hood. Is that what I think it is? he asked her.
Only if you think its oil, she answered with a grin. Would you mind? She fidgeted a little. My hood is killing me.
Oh! Sure. Mack lifted the drum off her hood, revealing a small indentation where it had been sitting. He set it carefully on the ground between them. Wow, he murmured. Howd you get a hold of this? Legally, I hope.
Vee popped her hood open to ease the dent out of it. Mack blushed and quickly pretended to be busy trying to pry the lid off the drum, but his eyes were soon drawn back to her and he found himself staring shamelessly. Chrysler, he breathed.
Vee smirked and slammed her hood shut with a bang. Yes? she asked sweetly.
Mack smirked back. Very funny.
Vee chuckled and blew him a kiss, then took hold of the oil drum and ripped the lid off with gusto. Am I getting stronger, or are you getting weaker? she teased. She took a drink and nodded to Mack to help himself. He stuck his tongue out at her, but accepted the drum and gulped it down.
Got something else for you, too, she told him, and turned around. Mack stared down at her back bumper, eyes wide. Vee noticed his expression in her mirror and laughed. Dont get any ideas, she joked. I was talking about this. She popped open her trunk, revealing a red plastic gas can filled to the brim with fuel. I topped off my own tank and got some diesel for you.
Oh. Wow, thanks!
Mack reached into her trunk. So how did you get all this stuff?
Oh, I just bribed the guy who was working at that gas station down the road, Vee replied casually.
Mack fumbled the gas can and it fell with a clunk on the damp pavement. You didnt - he stammered, staring at her in horror.
Vee turned to face him again. Of course not! Jeez Mack, get your mind out of the gutter! I just traded some stuff from the trailer. Mack didnt look convinced enough for her. Honest! Thats all I did! she insisted.
You were gone an awful long time, though.
Only an hour. Mack raised a brow. Hey, it wasnt easy trying to find someone who actually wanted that crap. There doesnt seem to be a whole lot of Lightning McQueen fans in this town.
Mack turned to look inside the trailer. So what did you give him? he asked, trying to determine what was missing.
Vee shrugged and took another sip of oil. Oh, this and that. Couple of posters, some bobble-head toys
anything with McQueens face on it. That guy at the gas station sure was stoked. Claimed to be his number one fan.
Great. First the jailbreak, then grand theft trailer
Mack sighed and shook his hood. And now this. He made an accusing gesture at the gas can in front of him.
Well, we dont have a whole lot of options right now, Vee reminded him. Either we find an honest way to keep our tanks filled, or we starve.
Mack sipped his fuel. Somehow I cant see hocking Lightnings stuff as honest.
Vee frowned at him. Dont think I dont feel bad about all of this. I do intend to pay him back, you know.
She took a final sip of oil and pushed the drum away. Mack frowned. Whats the matter? he asked her. Arent you hungry?
Vee shrugged. Ive had enough.
You hardly had two sips!
And that was plenty, she insisted. We need to make it last a while. Who knows when well be able to get more? Besides, I need to lose some weight.
Mack smirked at her. Says who? he demanded. You dont need to impress anyone but me! He moved closer to her and reached a tire out to caress her side. And Im already impressed, he murmured, fogging up her window with his hot breath. Vee felt his lips graze her side and bit her own lip to suppress a giggle.
Mm, so am I, she purred, leaning into him. Especially after last night. Mack blushed crimson, but couldnt help smiling at the compliment.
Feeling bold, he planted a big, wet kiss just above her front wheel well.
Vee giggled. Jeez, just slobber all over me, why dont you! She gave him a playful shove.
Mm, dont mind if I do! Mack replied, pulling her close again. He tried to plant another wet one on her cheek, but she wiggled out of his grasp and backed into the narrow space between the trailer and the building, where he couldnt reach her. She stuck her tongue out at him and he chuckled.
You do realize that I can easily move the trailer, right? he said with a smug grin.
And you realize that Im a lot faster than you, right? Vee teased back with an even smugger grin.
Mack started pushing the trailer aside. Vee waited until hed widened the gap enough, then zoomed out past him.
Hey! he shouted, spinning around. Vee laughed and drove back to him, nuzzling his cheek. He returned the gesture with a purr. You drive me crazy sometimes. You know that?
Vee chuckled. You drive me crazy, too. In fact, you drive me everywhere! She kissed his cheek. And I wouldnt want anyone else driving me there but you.
He kissed her back. Well, I guess wed better get going now, he murmured. Vee nodded in agreement and drove up the ramp into the trailer. Mack passed the oil drum and the gas can up to her and she stowed them in a cabinet in the back.
Dont worry about the oil, he told her, sticking his grille into the trailer. Drink all you want. Ive got our next meal covered!
Yeah. I sold my snow chains to another big rig while you were out. Got forty bucks for em.
Great. Far from looking impressed, Vee smirked at him. You do realize that well be heading right into a snowstorm now, dont you?
Mack frowned. What do you mean? I didnt hear any snow warnings on the radio.
Yeah, but you know how it goes: when you dont have your snow chains, thats when you need em the most. Just like every time you get waxed it starts to rain.
I thought it was supposed to be every time you get washed?
Vee shook her hood. Not for me. Seems like every time I get myself waxed theres like a downpour right afterward.
I bet I know why! Mack chuckled.
Vee laughed and smacked him on the grille. Go get hitched up!
* * * * *
Talk about irony, Mack thought to himself as the snow and bitter winds swirled all around him. The mountain road was slick with black ice, making it nearly impossible for him to maintain good traction while he drove. He pointedly ignored Vees I told you so! and pressed on, driving slower and slower the higher he climbed. The brim of his cap protected his eyes from the sharp wind and snow, but of course did nothing to keep him from inhaling it through his grille.
Inside the trailer, Vee watched the snow sweep past the tinted windows. Though she was safe and warm, the view outside made her shiver slightly. Mack had driven through worse conditions before, and he slept outside all the time, spring, summer, autumn and winter. He was built for this sort of thing. Even so, Vee couldnt help feeling guilty about all the unnecessary strain he was putting on himself right now.
True, he had an internal heating and cooling system like most vehicles did, and hauling the trailer up the mountain was probably helping him keep warm too, but still
How you doing, Mack? Vee called to him over the intercom.
Eh, not too bad, came his staticky reply. A gust of wind shook the trailer. Im freezing my nuts off out here. My bolts are okay, though. Vee laughed. The roads pretty slippery, but Ive driven in worse. Like the time I went up to - Another gust of wind hit the trailer and rocked it hard. Macks words were drowned out by static.
What? Vee yelled into the intercom. I cant hear you! Mack?
He spoke again, and this time he sounded as though he were calling to her from across a canyon.
cant do it
not enough traction to
was all she could make out.
Vee was about to call out to him again when a sudden violent jolt slammed her against the wall. The trailer vibrated, and a loud groaning noise issued from beneath her tires. Mack? Whats going on? she shouted. The trailer slowly began to tilt. It jolted again, and Vee tumbled sideways against the wall. Now slanted at a forty-five degree angle, she glanced out the window and her engine died. Countless snowflakes swirled past the window, only to be swallowed up by the dark chasm at the bottom of the mountain.
For one terrifying moment, the trailer seemed to hang suspended in time and space. And then, it happened. Vee screamed as they plummeted into the gorge below. The trailer fell for what seemed an impossibly long time before it struck something solid and rolled. Vee was tossed and flung and tumbled against the walls, ceiling and floor. With a final, dull thud, it came to a sudden stop.
Vee had no idea how long she lay there on her side, eyes shut tight against the nightmare ride shed just experienced. When at last she opened her eyes, she found herself face to face with a bobble-head toy. Though it stood right side up, its spring was mangled and the little Lightning figurine hung from it dejectedly. It was dark in the trailer, the only light coming from the window above her.
Vee struggled to roll over, kicking damaged McQueen merchandise out of her way as she righted herself. One glance around her told her that the trailer had landed on its side. She strained her ears for something, anything, but all she could hear was the faint, ghostly whistle of the wind outside. Mack
Engine racing, Vee waded through the debris and hit the intercom switch. Mack? No answer. She pressed the door button. There was a faint whirring sound, then the ramp began to lower. It opened three or four inches, then jarred and quit. No! Vee threw her front tires against the door and pushed with all her might.
Slowly, inch by inch, it began to give. Snow as high as her wheel wells poured into the trailer. Vee kept pushing until the gap was nearly wide enough for her to pass through. She squeezed through the opening, scraping her sides in the process. Once outside, she looked around. The trailer lay at the foot of the mountain, in a narrow gorge filled with rocks and snow. Vee stared numbly at the trailers underside, then followed the length of it with her eyes. Her engine died.
There lay Mack, motionless on his side with the trailer still hitched to his fifth wheel. From where she stood, hubcap-deep in the snow, she could not see his face. There was no telling whether he was still conscious, or even
Vee swallowed another sob and shook her hood fiercely. She wasnt even going to think about that possibility. Taking a deep breath, she plowed through the snow toward her friend.
Mack! Mack, speak to me! Please!
Mack cracked an eye open. Vee reached a tire out and placed it on his hood. His entire body was covered with dents and scratches. The snow beneath him was stained with oil and transmission fluid. He groaned quietly and forced both eyes open.
he croaked, his voice raspy and frail.
Mack, Vee sobbed, in a voice just as hoarse.
Are - are you okay?
Vee nodded, blinking back tears. Im fine. She did her best to fight back another sob. She knew she had to stay strong for him. What about you? she asked, nearly choking on her words. One look at him and anyone could see that he was far from fine. C-can you get up?
Mack turned a front tire slightly and groaned. No. I dont - rrrnngh - I dont think so. It seemed to take a huge effort for him to speak. His sides heaved as he drew in one ragged breath after another. Though the wind howled loudly through the gorge, hearing him breathe was far more chilling. Vee pressed closer to him, shivering.
Through a haze of pain, Mack looked sadly at his friend. He drew in another deep breath and tried to talk again. Help, he wheezed.
Vee blinked and sniffled. What?
call for help
Oh! She moved closer and looked him over. Is it on?
Macks pained grunt confirmed that it was. Vee kept a reassuring tire pressed against his hood as she called for help. H-hello? Is anyone there? she called out, uncertainly. She waited a moment, then took a deep breath and shouted out "Please! We need help! Its an emergency! Weve fallen into a ravine. Ma - my hauler is hurt badly! Hello? Somebody, please! Help us!
Sobbing, Vee tried again, over and over, but to no avail. The faint crackle of static and the wailing of the wind were the only answer to her call.
Chapter Thirty: [link]