Despite the blizzard, Will accelerated down the icy ramp. He grabbed fourth gear, too soon; beneath him the big diesel shuddered and groaned. Thirty, thirty-five, now forty, the transmission whined in protest. He ignored the truck’s mechanical complaints and slid into fifth. The Kenworth lumbered onto the deserted Interstate, the last cold light of February shining on Will’s brow.
The pavement was glass. He regretted now not replacing that left rear tire back in Bismarck. He could feel it back there: slipping, grabbing, slipping, each icy bite making the truck groan and yaw in a great quarrel of reverberating sheet metal.
Beyond the heaving mounds of troglodytic ice and snow crowding the highway’s narrow shoulders, visibility was but a few hundred feet; beyond that, the landscape revealed naught but an obscure pall of white gusting across the ghosts of desolate farm fields, the dirt and snow painting hazy zebra stripes down the silent rows of October’s forgotten cornstalks.
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