A short story for October!
You all know that I’m a writer more than anything else, and in honor of scary-month, I thought I’d put up a story that I had written about two years ago for an online class from Gotham Writer’s Workshop, so naturally the flow of the story is a bit off, because my best writing is in the stuff I chose to write. The line we were given to start with was : “Loretta and Mick were driving down a lonely highway one winter night.”
Here’s Conduite Mortelle:
Loretta and Mick were driving down a lonely highway one winter night. The Headlights peered across the thick snow that had been compacted and dispersed to the sides of the road by cars previous. The light from the front of the car hit the eerie tree line, and revealed a sign warning of large animal crossing.
Mick slowed almost to a halt to observe the sign before continuing. The car revved and the back wheels screeched across the wet pavement. The car swayed back and forth, hinging on the front wheels for a moment before lurching forward. Mick held the wheel carefully but he was unable to avoid the snow bank the inched closer and closer.
In moments the front end of the car had been submerged in snow. The headlights emitted a glow from several inches under the white blanket. Mick knocked his head on the horn. A loud noise ensued. Loretta pulled his shoulder and removed his head from its resting place angrily. Mick was uninjured. He told her how lucky he thought it was that he had survived.
His wife threw open the door and stormed out to inspect the damage. It was an old Buick that had seen better days, but the current damage was surprisingly minimal considering the very abrupt stop the car had made. She had expected that they hit something other than snow. Slowly she reached up and pulled her hood on. Another car drove passed on the other side of the highway and stopped at the nearest u-turn to double-back. Slowly the other car approached and stopped by Mick who was hobbling out of the car.
Loretta watched the window lower and a man looked out from the driver’s seat, “You folks ok? Looks like ye had a bit of a run in!” he chuckled. Loretta stared silently at him.
“Hmph… Yer not from around these parts are ye?”
Loretta kicked the snow at her feet and returned her attention to the man, unaware of what the man was asking, “I from place far from here. I go home. I is lost. Please.”
The man’s smile dropped. It was obvious that he would not be able communicate easily with them, so he reached across the passenger seat and opened the door of his truck beckoning her and Mick. Mick looked at his wife with concern, but reluctantly realized that he would be forced to accept the ride. Mick reached into the car and withdrew his key.
Loretta sat in the front seat and smiled and nodded to the man who gave a half-smile back and locked the doors. Slowly he picked up speed and continued down the road. Only three minutes had passed when they came across another parked car. At first they saw it from a distance and the man driving groaned.
The car winded up the road slowly and stopped. The man lowered the passenger side window and looked out. An old Buick with familiar traits graced the eyes of three sickened passengers. The man stopped the car, and stepped out, fearing what he would come across when he came nearer. Mick and Loretta stepped out of the van as well. Loretta rushed to the drivers seat and opened the door, unable to see past the tinted windows. She yanked on the handle but it was locked, just as Mick had left it. Mick walked over and pushed the key into the hole. He twisted and the locking mechanism popped. Loretta pulled on the handle again. The man who had rescued them stared from behind with caution. He whispered.
“I’d be very careful what yer find behind that door.”
Loretta nodded. Quickly she realized that she had understood what he had said.
“You understand me?” She asked in her native tongue. The man looked at her, confusion written across his face.
Loretta turned slowly back to the door and pulled it open. Mick lay dead on the steering shaft, Loretta herself twisted around the glove box compartment.
Mick backed away and Loretta let out a shrill cry. She turned back to face the man. He had been removed from the scene. She looked around frantically.
Out of the darkness, a tall hooded figure in tattered black robes emerged, the curved blade of his scythe gleaming across his chest.