Great-grandmother, in the newspaper. Front page. Photo and all.
A headline screamed in brash, bold letters 'Elderly Woman Found Dead With Hung Grandchild'. Bile seeped up my throat as I bought the newspaper at the petrol station.
Here, in the goddamn middle of nowhere, the world still yelled its melodrama at you. I hadn't even bothered to look what state I was in, what pathetic little town I was in. It was all brick house, wooden house, shop, shop, brick house, desert, shop – all flying past the windows in Technicolor blurs.
My palm was sweaty, and was stained faintly with printing ink as I put the newspaper on the cluttered passenger seat. I sculled down the rest of my overpriced and utterly burnt-tasting coffee and turned again to face the front page.

It was a photograph of my house, wrapped in police-tape likethe birthday present that I had never gotten. I read through the article; ..found lying on armchair…bullet through brain…passed away…believed to be another inhabitant of house…hung from ceiling beam…left four days...

It all molded into one mass of text, single phrases jumping out at me rapidly.
Four days? I couldn't believe it had actually been that long.

If I was normal I would have gone to the house, accepted that my case was just another instance of grief-charged teen escapism. But it wasn't. And I wasn't. When I should have been planning those two funerals, I was playing 'eeny-meanie-mynie-moe' to decide which road to take.
While my great-grandmother was sitting in her armchair with her brain matter drying against the faded curtains, and my mother was a Christmas ornament hanging from the ceiling, I was painting by the light of a citronella candle - out on the open road, my canvas resting against the bonnet of the car as I shooed away hypnotised moths, sipping at the cold, gritty dregs from my collection of paper coffee-cups.

I was in a kind of numb heaven; back home was slowly deteriorating and I was moving far away from it in some caffeine-aided stupor. But I knew that I would have to come down soon; find a job. My money was virtually gone. But according to the man at the petrol station, there was a small city not too far away. And that's how far I would go. There would be enough distance between me and my home then, I had decided.

I pulled out of the petrol station and went on my way once again, always taking the more used and larger road in the assumption that they would take me to this city.

A couple of hours later and I fell into the star-pool of streetlights.