They traveled across the badlands in the deep darkness of the small hours between late night and early morning. Father and son. The father drove and the son watched the dark and quiet world go by. The stars were bright, allowing one to see where the universe began. There was no moon. Not a word passed between them. It wasn't necessary.
The ancient vehicle was loaded with cargo and contraband. Old songs played from an even older radio. There was the smell of motor oil, diesel fuel, cigarette smoke, and whiskey. Rust and metal rattled as they moved down rickety roads, on their way to their final destination.
On occasion, they would see lights of other vehicles. The father would reach for a gun he kept by the seat, mindful of bandits along the way. Sometimes, when they saw more than one set, and they didn't worry about marauders, they were given to illusion of being near some manner of settlement. This mirage was shown for the phantasm it was by the next curve or hill.
The roads were composed of dirt and cobble stone. Broken pavement and ruts through sand. There were times, when it seemed there was no road at all, and the father was driving by memory alone.
As the darkness deepened, getting closer to dawn, mist began to rise. An impression of wandering spirits or passing through the territories of angels. Fog and dust shrouded the headlights. The son found himself wondering if since there was haze, if the sun would ever rise again.
"Think we'll make it?" He asked his father. His voice was scratchy. Those were the first words he had spoken in hours, perhaps days.
"It's fine, son," the father said, his voice was clear and warm. "Everything is okay."
The son leaned against the passenger side window and shut his eyes. Sleep was coming for him. He lost himself in the old song playing on the older radio. His father said everything was okay, and in that, he took great comfort.