Eevee TF Series Part 1 Chapter III
Arrival at Coledge
It was 7:00 and Ron's cab was speeding past less desolate desert and into scenes of a more civilized nature, but 'nature' would be an understatement. In the distance, even while in the back seat (keeping away from Don) Ron could see a large mountain, surrounded by several smaller mountains, with the road heading into the heart of it all. Ron, never having been to Coledge before, was speechless. It was beautiful.
"There's your Coledge, buddy!"
"My goodness! Within that mountain range? It must be huge!"
"Sure is! Biggest city this side of the desert! Possibly the only city this side of the desert! Best be careful, though. There's always been a certain kinda suspicious goings-on down there."
"How so?," asked Ron, still gathering himself together from the sleepy car ride. At the word 'suspicious,' his mind went immediately to the past night's excitement on the road. What was that thing, anyway? He began to let his mind ponder on that for a while, until Don's rambling pushed his mind back into the present.
well, um.. you'll see what I mean."
At last, any evidence of desert vanished from Ron's view and was replaced by the foggy skies of the Coledge outskirts. To his relief, the fog was not so thick as to completely blind him from the fantastic views the city offered. Coledge was indeed littered with fantastic sights, but none as outstanding as the enormous mountain that loomed over the grassy hill on the left. Ron's eyes widened at the fantastic surprise.
At first, the shadow cast over the cab was what drew his attention. Being out of the sun, Ron was now able to see the mountain- the largest he had ever seen (although, he had lived in his relatively flat hometown all his life, and had never really seen any such an altitude in person.)
Now, a large hilly forest on the left hid the mountain from sight, and innumerable trees and brush had created a long narrow trench, with the gradually busying interstate running in curves up and down the mountain into the valley of Coledge. Ron's inexperienced ears started popping to the rhythm of the tires spanning the cracks in the aging road. The unusual pain caused Ron to curl into a fetal position, further humoring Don. Being a usual driver to the hilly attraction in the middle of the desert, he saw this reaction quite a lot.
The cab drove for several more miles. The trees never seemed to disappear and the sun was forever bound behind the spanning form of the great mountain. The lack of sunlight kept the fog around for a while longer than in most areas. The atmosphere made it feel like it was still early morning, though several hours had passed.
Finally, the first buildings started reappearing, the first Ron had seen since he left the limits of his town the evening before. He first saw welcoming centers, which targeted audiences and encouraged them to buy "authentic artifacts" or tickets to a long but informative show about Coledge's history and geography. There were soon a large handful of discount stores, diners, bars, and inns seen littered about the outskirt streets. Soon the colorful blend of small-town buildings gave way to a larger concrete-and-steel jungle of hotels, business centers, skyscrapers, and other towering structures. It was not as intimidating a city as one would find in places like New York, but rather the buildings were quite a bit older and not as tightly packed.
Ron could tell that his drop-off point was approaching, so he started gathering his belongings furtively, trying to avoid comments from his already tired driver. He decided that any distraction to him in a large busy city could spell disaster. Don however, was fine. The man lived an easy and successful business life in Coledge. If he wanted, he could drive a few miles home after dropping off his passenger and take the rest of the day off napping.
"Well, here's your stop, bud."
"Thank you, very much, Don. What's my fare?"
"Well, lemme see- oh. That's too much, stupid meter," Don muttered, banging the fare meter on the cab's dashboard. "Tell ya what. I like you. You're a funny kid. I'll take off like half of what this-here contraption claims ya owe me. Sound fair?"
"Wha-I, uh but
"Nah, na I insist. Just $75, how's that? I'm too tired to count that $133.56 or whatever that thing says, anyway. 'Sides, you were fun comp'ny!"
"Wow. Thank you very much!" Ron was overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the city, and also by the sudden generosity. He felt very timid leaving the cab, for leaving the first Coledgian hospitality he had ever seen, and felt somewhat rude for not trying to pay the man more. He once again collected his belongings and, making sure he had not left anything, shut the cab door. He was about to walk off, when Don opened the front passenger window and called at him.
"Oh, Ron, one more thing: another piece of advice before you go off- never take my advice, ok?" Smiling and laughing like a toddler, he rolled up the window and drove off, leaving Ron in a dazed state of utter confusion. Ron tried to shrug it off, but as the car drove off, he blinked and stared through the dark tint of the rear window. It could have been his morning grogginess messing with him, but as he squinted he faintly made out the outline of a small, scruffy, rusty-red dog with the largest eyes and tail he'd ever seen on a dog. It was hidden by the shadow of Don's seat, sitting and staring out the right-side window towards Ron.
Ron was more than startled. He tried to recall if he had seen the extra passenger in the cab at any point in the trip. As the car disappeared from view, Ron was left motionless and dumbfounded. He slowly tried to shake the whole thing off, composed himself, and collected the belongings he had dropped during the encounter.
Funny, I don't ever recall having seen that thing before. As he thought this, curiously enough, he thought of Julia. He missed her already, and wished she could be there with him. He knew she'd love the sights just as much as he did.
He soon put the whole morning's excitement aside and thought about what Don said. He never had planned on actually taking the advice that Don had given him earlier. As a matter of fact, he didn't even remember exactly what he said, but now that the topic was in his mind, it stayed in there the rest of the day. His first priority needed to be finding his hotel.