The radio played an old Sarah McLachlan song. Salome licked her lips, bringing them no relief. Some music parched her too deep inside for her tongue to heal. Empty, restless melodies.
A girl squealed in front of her. Salome glanced that way in time to see an elbow fly above the green hump of the seat, the sounds of an altercation drifting back to her over the road noise. Another boyfriend starting a tickle-fight, hoping for a well-timed grope. Salome never had such problems, for all her appearance. She could see a ghostly image of her own face in the window against the gray sky and tired pines: pale with only a touch of sun gold, a straight, delicate nose and gentle lips. Dark brown hair clustered around her neck in languid, large curls.
Her eyes drove them away. Eerie, faded green framed in a ring of terra cotta brown, they reflected her too well. Souls were so passé these days.
The highway mile markers swelled over the horizon and dashed past Salome's gaze, racing with the frequent cars. She ignored the grumblings from behind her.
"Driven out to the middle of god-damn nowhere just to see a rickety old house."
"Nearly three hours!"
"Wish we'd stop somewhere. Ate my last Snickers bar half an hour ago."
"Hey, Sah-loh-may! Got your nose stuck in a book." Jessica leaned over the back of Salome's seat, propping her brown elbows on its dull, metal ridge. "Some way to fulfill a promise, huh? 'A fantastic field trip for the new high school seniors', my derriere! Poor Jeff back there's stewin' a fit, he was hoping for something worth the video capture. Come on, what are ya' thinking?"
Salome smiled at the other girl, one of the few who ever spoke to her. "I'm thinking I won't know if I like it until I get there."
Jessica rolled her eyes. Salome liked their color, a startling amber against the cocoa-brown skin that crinkled at the border of her eyelids. "You're always saying stuff like that."
"Yes," Salome agreed, and resumed studying the late autumn foliage scrolling by like an old player piano's music roll. She canted her head as the engine's whine changed pitch. "We're leaving the road."