Emma Blue

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The blue sky stretches endlessly across the open road, a red pickup coasting down the highway. The truck’s cabin is warm from the summer sun. A father holds the steering wheel in a loose grip, relaxed against the plastic bench seat. His daughter sits beside him, staring out the window at the sky ripping by—it’s them against the world, and for a breath, the peace is infinite. But then the deepest pothole snags the back wheel. The pickup veers off road in a chorus of metallic screeching. The father tries to correct, but the tire shudders against the dirt, careening the truck up and down along its axels. The tire is ruined, the pothole leaving its marks in a serrated path against the rubber treads.