That Endless Black Ribbon
That Endless Black Ribbon
Disclaimer: All things BtVS Belong to Joss et al. All things HP belong to JKR and WB. Only the plot and the AU ending of HP belong to me. I make no money, I'm just having fun.
The highway rolled out in an endless ribbon, smooth and monotonous. The CB crackled occasionally, as other drivers talked to one another. When the lights of a truck stop hove into view, a single truck pulled away, leaving the small convoy to continue without it. The driver entered the huge plaza, maneuvering carefully onto the fuel island to fill the truck’s twin tanks. With a jaw-cracking yawn, the petite blonde hopped out to begin fuelling the purple and silver Kenworth that had become her home over the past year. She hurried through the fuelling process and gave the rig a cursory once-over before finding a slot in the massive lot to park in.
Collecting her keys, jacket, shower bag, and purse, she set up the RPMs so that the truck wouldn’t stall while she was inside, and turned off the lights before climbing to the ground once more and locking the truck. Striding confidently into the building, she greeted other drivers as if they were old friends, though she had never seen most of them, and likely would not meet them again. Such was the life of a long-haul trucker.
It had been surprisingly easy for her to adapt to the subculture of the commercial transport industry. Working the flatbed allowed her to use her muscles, although she had to be careful not to damage her cargo, and her strength was to her advantage in the line of work. The fact that the truck took longer to respond to her heavy foot and sharp-turning hands had tempered her driving style until she had actually managed to retrain her reflexes to react to the conditions of the road without overcompensating – which had been a problem when she’d tried to learn to drive a car as a teen. When she had first started driving, she learned that commercial drivers had their own social rules, and had even picked up the unique ‘good ole boy’ speech patterns with very little effort. Eleven months on the road and she handled herself and her truck like one who had been in the business all her life.
Another powerful yawn escaped her as she bought a shower and paid for her fuel. While she waited for her shower number to be announced over the intercom, she spent a dollar on video games in the Drivers Only game room. Her favorites were the touch-screen puzzle games. When her number was called, she headed into the private shower room and took her time getting clean. The hot water relaxed her stiff body and she reveled in the feel of it sluicing over her, washing away the past three days’ worth of work and travel grime.
An hour later, she made her way into the restaurant and found herself a corner booth. She ordered her meal, and had just settled back to wait when a familiar prickle in her abdomen brought her head up sharply. Annoyance washed through her, rapidly supplanted by the urge to hunt. Scanning the crowd in the busy restaurant, she quickly spotted her prey.
A pair of sleazy, grungy lot lizards had just sauntered through the drivers’ entrance, heading for the restrooms at the far end of the Drivers Only section of the restaurant. She slipped out of her booth and - stopping long enough to inform her waitress that she would be right back - followed the pair into the ladies’ room. She was faintly amused to see them washing up and preening in front of the mirror, in which neither reflected.
Taking her time and watching from the corner of her eye, she strolled past them, making sure both saw her enter the last stall. She ‘accidentally forgot’ to throw the lock, and perched on the edge of the commode to await her prey. Only a few seconds passed before the door swung open.
“Need a hand, honey?“ The two filthy females crowded eagerly into the confines of the stall with her. Their mistake. Faster than either could see, both found themselves impaled on sharp pieces of wood, the stakes having been thrown with enough force to drive them through flesh and bone and eventually protrude more than an inch out their backs. Three seconds later, the vampires were nothing but dust settling on the white tile floor.
The tiny blonde eyed the remains in disgust. “Not even a fight. Why do I keep finding the STUPID ones?” She continued grumbling to herself as she washed her hands, and returned to her table. The stakes were once more hidden in her clothes, and the moment her meal arrived, she put the incident out of her mind, and fell to with gusto. Leaving a three-dollar tip and paying her bill, she went back to her truck to get some sleep.
Once she was securely locked in her small home, she stretched out and drifted off, her last conscious thought being ‘I wish something DIFFERENT would happen once in a while.’