"Okay, Lucy, calm down. You're gonna be fine. Just put your foot on the pedal and press down gently."
"Okay, wait, wrong foot."
Lucy was doing her best not to embarrass herself in front of her mother, but the sensitivity of the gas, the difficulty of handling the wheel, and the worry of a possible accident made it almost impossible. Her arm shook lightly as her hands clutched at the steering wheel. They pulled out of the driveway and joined the other drivers on the road.
It was a hot, summer day. The sky was blue, the Blur's were chirping, and it seemed as if everything was peaceful and serene. Even the kids were inside, hiding behind televisions and books, doing their best to escape the heat.
"Okay, go ahead and take a left here."
Lucy swallowed hard and obeyed her mother. It wasn't the first time she had driven, and she knew it would get easier once she calmed down, but there was something else on her mind; it was the first time her mom was going to let her on the highway. Was she ready for it? She pictured streets filled with speeding behemoths, and then she saw herself, moseying along, praying not to be read-ended by one of the monsters; or worse yet, to rear-end one of them.
"Did you have this much trouble the first time you drove?"
"Yeah," her mother replied with a slight chuckle. "I was pretty nervous."
"It's hard to picture you nervous." Lucy said with a slight smile.
"Well, I was a kid once too."
"What happened?" She laughed.
"Hey! Watch it! I may be your mom, but I'm still not that old. And one day you realize there just isn't time to be worrying about dumb little things like driving and relationships. They're gonna happen whether you want them too or not, so you may as well get used to it."
"… Okay, we're getting close to the highway. You ready?"
"No," Lucy replied meekly.
"That's the spirit."
Lucy watched in terror as the highway neared them. When she reached the intersection, she put her foot on the break and came to a slow, stuttering stop. She clicked on her turning single, watched the road intently, and when it was clear, tapped the gas pedal lightly and brought the car onto the strip of highway.
"You're doing good."
"Thanks." Lucy could feel her heart beating as they drove, but as time passed and she grew increasingly comfortable with the speed, the company, and the lights, it slowly returned to its normal speed.
"This is going well." Lucy spoke up after about twenty minutes of driving as they came to a stop at a stop light.
"Yeah, you're doing really good. You ready to head home?"
"Yeah," Lucy replied, relieved it was over with – despite the fact she was beginning to enjoy it.
"If you want we could-"Before her mother could finish, she was cut off by the car lurching forward violently, sending the world around them spinning rapidly.
"What's… going on?" Lucy mumbled groggily. Her eyes had opened slowly and peered around. She found herself in a dark room; it appeared to be some type of garage. There were tools on the walls and cars around her. She tried to move, but she couldn't. She felt almost as if her body was dead, yet her mind lived on. Was she paralyzed? She felt fear begin to overwhelm her. Had she been kidnapped? Why was she there? What had happened?
It was then she noticed a man. He was in dark clothing, further darkened from oil smudges and dust. He was sitting on an old, wooden chair positioned next to tool bench, reading the newspaper. She looked at him in both fear and desperation. She knew that he could have been dangerous, for he could have been the one to have kidnapped her; but she didn't care. She wanted to know what was going on, and she didn't want to be alone. After all, there might be a logical explanation for everything, right?
She stared at him intently, hoping for him to lower the newspaper and notice that she was awake. Suddenly, in her intensity, lights shot out of her eyes, persisting only a second. What was going on? The man looked up from the newspaper, a dull expression on his face.
"I see you're awake."
Lucy wanted to respond, but she couldn't, so she sat in silence, looking at him.
"I'm sure you're wondering what's going on. First, try and turn yourself on."
Lucy looked at him, confused.
"Just do it, trust me. Once you try, you'll know what I mean."
Lucy felt panic run through her heart. Had she really been kidnapped? This psychopath wanted her to turn herself on? She wanted to cry, but tears wouldn't form. She attempted to scream, but instead of her voice – like she had expected – a shrill honking noise came out instead.
"Good. You're doing good. While you try and turn yourself on, I'll explain what happened – and don't worry, once you get the hang of things, it's easy." The man's voice was deep, but calm and controlled. He didn't seem mean or lusting; if anything, he seemed helpful. "You were recently in a car accident. I think you got rear-ended. Well, you and your mom were rushed to the hospital. Your mom was fine, but you were in pretty bad shape. Majority of your body had been destroyed… but your mind was still intact. The doctors weren't sure what to do. You were in such bad shape; you practically needed a whole new body. It was something they just couldn't help with." He paced back and forth in front of her, slowly. "So they sent you to me. See, I am a mechanic. I used to be a doctor, but I got my license revoked because I shunned my corrupt supervisor – they were just in it for the money. But this isn't about me; it is about you. They took you to me, and we all knew that I was your only hope. It took some convincing, but I decided to do it."
Lucy looked on, confused. What had he done? Why couldn't she speak? Why were lights and honking noises coming from her body?
"Lucy, I made you into a car."
It was late that night. Lucy was sitting in the garage, alone, scared, and in the dark. She looked at the cars and tools surrounding her. She waited for someone or something to emerge from the shadows. She still could not move, speak, or cry, but she had figured out how to make her eyes light up. It took considerable strain on her part, but the more she practiced, the better she got at it.
At first, it had seemed the proposition that she was a car was ludicrous, but it was becoming harder and harder to deny. She had been in that garage for hours; she didn't need food, water, the bathroom, or anything organic. When she looked down, she could see a white gleam, but it was not natural like her fur was. It seemed almost as if it were paint. Could it have been the front of a car? What sort of deranged nightmare was she in?
A door opened up, the same one the man had exited through. She heard talking.
"She is right in here." It was the man.
"Lucy? Are you okay?" It was her mother. In excitement, Lucy's headlights flicked.
"She is right over here."
Lucy desperately wanted to call out. She wanted to hold onto her mother and to cry in her arms. She had been locked in there for hours, alone and afraid.
"Oh, honey, it's okay." Her mother ran up to her and rubbed her gently. Something about it felt odd, but it was still soothed her.
"She sees out of the headlights." The man interjected. Lucy saw her mother come up and look into her each of her eyes, going back and forth. She was crying, petting her softly.
"I'm so sorry, honey. I shouldn't have taken you out on the highway. I didn't know this would happen!" Her mother sobbed as she hugged her. Lucy could feel an odd sensation building where her stomach once was. Was it emotion? Could it be tears? She did her best to grasp at the unfamiliar feeling, and as it came to a peak, she heard the grinding of gears as she suddenly become able - in all respects.
"Mom?" She said, terrified.
"What's going on?" Lucy could hear the rumbling of a car. Was it her?
"Did Mr. Schuldiner tell you what happened?"
"He said I was a car, mom! What does that mean?"
"Oh honey," her mom said with tears in her eyes. "I… here, honey, look." She reached into her purse and pulled out a small mirror. She held it up to one of Lucy's headlights and allowed her to get a look at herself. Lucy gasped and went several feet in reverse.
"What…" She started to sob. "What is that?"
"It's you, honey."
"No… no… that's not true! That's impossible!"
"Search your feelings. You know it too be true."
"No!" Lucy fell into a pit of crying and could not manage to speak any longer. Her mother walked up and held onto her tightly, kissing her chassis softly.