Stuck in traffic on a freezing winter evening, I stare at the endless line of cars until it becomes a blur in front of my eyes. My hands, clutching the ice-cold steering wheel, are slowly going numb in my oversized gloves as the blood moves out of my fingertips and retreats into the warmth of my arms. I turn up the heater one more notch and attempt to adjust the black vents so that they blow onto my hands, but they swivel downwards again on their loose plastic hinges. The line of cars inches forward, then comes to a stop. I frown at the brocade of ice crystals that has not yet melted from my driver side window. Where am I going again?
My attention snaps back to the automobiles stretched out in front of me. The steam from their exhaust pipes is translucent white in the frigid air; it billows across the road, cloaking vehicles in fog. As I continue to stare, the exhaust begins to resemble clouds of smoky breath hanging in the air, the kind that burst from the nostrils of snorting horses. I squint and the line of cars morphs into a cavalry, horses panting and stamping as they head towards a wintry battlefield. I open my eyes and laugh, then sit on my hands, which have lost feeling.
I look at the cars again, but this time the red glare of brake lights dominates my vision. Each pair of lights becomes a pair of red demon eyes, piercing the darkness with their evil gaze and glinting maliciously off the ice that clings to the road surface. The clouds of exhaust cannot shroud their malevolence. I suck in my breath and shake my head to make the vision disappear. The lights all blink off and happily turn into innocent yellows and whites as the vehicles creep forward again, only to stop and flick back to red just seconds later. I peel off one glove to examine my pale, bloodless fingertips. I can’t remember where I’m going.