Lily wasn’t her given name. She had chosen it after the five year time limit came and went. The Cadillac part came later after an offhand comment made by a kid who was part of the group that followed her own. The truth was that there weren’t any more Cadillacs than any other type of car.
There was no one there to explain to Lily why the cars had been abandoned in the field. No one who came afterwards had a plausible theory either. When it became clear that there’d be no more of her own group passing through and that her boat had left for the new batch, she set out to create an excuse.
There was very little order to how the cars had been arranged. Old International pick ups mingled with the economic frames of Yugos and Hondas. It helped that the rains fell evenly on the Cadillac fields and the rust had spread in similar circles across the steel. The only ones that stood out were the plastic coated frames of the newer cars. Lily tried to ignore those ones.
A year or so after she had decided to remain to stay a young couple had stumbled across her daydreaming in a black boat of a car, complete with chrome coated fins and a long dead radio, full of push buttons and analog knobs. It certainly wasn’t the first one of its type that Lily had chosen to fantasize within. She loved dreaming of watching neon lights waver and contort as they ran across the windshield. She didn’t understand why the speedometers ever went over forty. Anything more than that was too fast. How could someone possibly enjoy the wind playing within their strands of hair at fifty, sixty or seventy?
“Why are these cars here?” One of them asked.
“Because, The Rampant Lands are a place to be walked across.” Lily said, reciting one of the many reasons she had invented during her time in the various driver’s seats, passenger seats and back seats.
The couple was a nice pair, soaked with good intention and simple plans. They spent the night in the fields, sharing their whiskey with Lily. They lit a small fire in a space formed between the bumper of a mustang and the driver’s side door of a Volkswagen Rabbit. They spoke shamelessly about how many children they expected to have, the jobs they’d take on to support the young ones and how many bedrooms and half bathrooms their house would have.
“We’re thinking about a quiet spot in the countryside. A house up on a hill, looking down into a valley where the kids would play.” The female portion of the couple said.
“Like that hill over there.” The man said pointing at a distant hill, beyond the Cadillac Fields.
Lily followed the man’s gesture. Her eyes must’ve scanned the landscape many times, but it was the first time she had really noticed the location of the hill in relation to the field. She smiled at the idea of a house up on that hill and quietly determined that the couple nor her were even close to being the first ones who had made a similar smile.
The couple went to sleep together behind a Dodge minivan, but not before naming Lily’s home for her. Lily slept upon the hood of her field’s namesake. It was uncomfortable but had a perfect view of the hill beyond the valley.
In the morning Lily found herself alone amongst the steel and rust. It was fine though, she didn’t have time to entertain dreamers anymore. She had a task, whose existence still needed to be verified. She wove her way through the cars on her way towards the hill. Her fingers slid along them as they always did, but as she got closer to the hill she had to be a bit more careful as the orange flakes became more prominent and willing to deposit themselves in the lower layers of Lily’s skin.
The hill and the valley beneath it confirmed Lily’s suspicion. A handful of cars had spilled over the edge of the field. They were the first one’s who had come to the field. The color of the Buicks and Chevy’s had been pushed into the minority by the rust. Other than the that the only other thing that united the vehicles was the direction their headlights faced. All of them gazed up towards the summit of the hill. The false reasons that Lily had spent so long conjuring disappeared as she decided on a truth. The people who had abandoned the metal capsules behind her and down below her, were heading for the hill and hopefully their houses upon it.
Lily set out, with only intentions that hadn’t fully revealed themselves to her. Those who came before her, they wanted their cars up on the hill, only the valley stood in their way. An obstacle that had to be conquered. She stood for days, staring at the incline she had to overcome. Nothing about the task seemed impossible. Just one hill. She wondered why the ones who came before never made the attempt. Never put the effort into reaching the summit. They all stopped well before any effort would have to be made and those who found there way into the valley, those people Lily grew to hate. They were so close, how could they believe that their progress had been enough?
The understanding that she longed for came sooner than she thought it would. Her first few attempts were just as futile as her opinion told her that these people were. She shoved, strained and failed. Some of the cars managed to pass the first edge, but only managed to roll lazily down to the same resting spot as the others. Trying to push the steel beasts up the hill was even more useless. Without those who started the work there to help her with the load, all she managed to succeed at was tear apart her muscles and drain the water from her pores.
There were nights of despair; terrible, tangible and tasteful despair. She wept, for the old days that she never lived in. Her easy nights of cruising along boulevards and avenues were stolen from her by changing times and the useless task of getting those cars to their hilltop destination.
There were days of rage; hellfire fueled, hateful and horrid rage. She smashed windows, slashed tires and dented doors. Those Thunderbirds and Packards would never carry her eyelashes through twilight mist, they had no purpose to her, they deserved to rest forever in that valley.
It was during one of her destructive indulgences when a new group of people arrived. They wove their way through the powder blue side panels and sharp angles. They found Lily in the valley screaming out to the past and everything she believed it stood for. The new group was intrigued by her. Destroying cars in a tribal dance was just so cool.
A few of the more intrepid members went down and joined Lilly. The violent expressions were a whiskey that could induce the genes that are tied to alcoholism to emerge upon the first swig. Soon, the rest of the group joined in and it became a festival of violence with Lilly heading up the revelers. The smashing went onward until the cool stains of twilight eased the beasts within and then Lilly and her new comrades retired to another type of celebration.
The newcomers came equipped with the standard gear: Weed, wine, neon colored booze, and questions. Lilly had no reservations when it came to indulging in all of them. She lived a solitary life most of the time, Yet, had no problem when it came to explaining what she hoped to accomplish.
“I want to flash playful smiles at boys next to me at the stoplight. I want them to slow down with me instead of racing forward.”
“And you think you’re going to get that over there on that hill?”
“No, that’s where the house with the view will be. That’s where all these people were going. They stopped though.”
“You plan on getting there slowly?”
“But you’ll never make it up that slope without speed. Ya know, my dad taught me how to fix some stuff on our old car. I could get one running, maybe show you how to do it yourself.”
“No, no, that’s too fast. It would ruin the cruise.”
Lily didn’t hate the group for not understanding what she wanted. They were still young, they didn’t have the mindset to appreciate the benefits of taking time and giving old processes multiple chances to get something right. They’d figure it out eventually. As Lily laid to sleep, she once again failed to notice the new rust that had formed the day prior.
In the morning Lily woke to a noise she hadn’t heard since her arrival in The Rampant Lands. Not far from where she passed out came a low, uneasy murmur. A hibernating bear with sleep apnea. When she rose her head from the soft grasses she saw the one who said that fixing cars was a possibility. He was standing next to one of the Cadillacs that Lily had come to cherish.
The car trembled, like a child without a jacket. Smoke with a taste of sky in it puffed out of the exhaust pipe. The old chrome knobs on the radio had been joined by orange lights that flickered with each stutter of the engine.
“I know you said, it’d be too fast. Just figured I’d give you the option. There’s not much gas though. So, you don’t have forever.”
The group moved on.
Lilly took a seat in the car. Her hands ran over the steering wheel, feeling a response to her touch for the first time. She bit her lip as her fingers wrapped uneasily around the shifter. Lily suddenly felt vulgar as she continued to lay her hands on the various controls on the dash. The car continued to shake nervously, yet willing.
In front of her she saw the descent into the valley, and a path up onto the hill. Lily pondered if there was any room for innocence in her house with a view.