“The world is ending, and it always will be.” Those nine words were emblazoned across the side of his thorium-powered rig, a sign of rare optimism while crossing what remained of the American interstate system. The boss told him that he would be hauling eighty-eight barrels of angel blood, and in this economy, he was willing to believe it- but he’d learned long ago not to get too curious when dealing with this sort of clientele. More than likely, it was just another batch of heavy water. At least, that’s what he told himself.

The road to Detroit was proving particularly obstinate, however. All around, he could see the lights of radio towers blinking an unnatural red. The horizon was receding away from him, resisting his approach as local space stretched beneath his wheels. Predatory thunderheads were rapidly approaching in his rear-view mirror, unimpeded by this relativistic anomaly. White noise hijacked his sound system, followed by a haunting rendition of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”  Whatever he was hauling, the heavens wanted it back.

This trucker had other plans. He gripped a plastic handle behind his radio and pulled the right-side of his dashboard down with violence. Beneath it was a lever smoothed over with sturgeon leather and tipped with a single sapphire- his contingency plan. Pulling it would set him back ten grand, but it was better than going to hell. He pressed his finger against the gemstone, then cranked the mechanism down as far as it would go.

Cherenkov radiation erupted from his speedometer. The distant lights of the towers beyond began pulsing with blue raspberry approval, and “Radar Love” overcame the mournful songs of damned cowboys. The road churned beneath him, and his middle finger extended towards the clouds in the distance.