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Sunday, October 28, 2012

20

A Halloween-ish Short Story

It was a dark and stormy night, and Dan and Carol were on their way home from a party for Dan's work.

"Don't the wipers go up higher?" Carol asked, squinting as she leaned toward the windshield.

"Yeah, they go up a lot higher, but I'm keeping them low because I hate to see the road," Dan said.

"Oh, good," she said, "I wasn't sure but I just wanted to—" the car screeched, and then ground slowly to a stop. "Oh my god, are we out of gas?"

Dan put his head against the steering wheel. "Shit."

Carol shook her head and looked out the window. (Also, their phones were dead, and they didn't have GPS.) "Well, what are we going to do?"

"I don't know,."

"There was a gas station a couple miles back," she said. "I could—"

"No, it's not going to be you, don't be ridiculous."

"We could go togeth—"

"No, also ridiculous. Plus someone has to stay with the car."

"Or we could wait for someone to come along, and ask for help, or for a ride somewhere, or for whatever seems logical based on how weird they are or aren't?"

"We haven't even seen anyone the whole time we've been driving." He tapped his forehead against the wheel. "I'm an idiot, I'm sorry."

"It's okay. It's almost so awful that it's funny, you know?"

"I guess. Okay. I'll go to the gas station off the highway, you stay here, and I'll be back with a tow truck or an apocalypse-style gallon of gas, if they even sell it that way anymore."

"You are a big, strong man, and extremely hot, and I love you."

"Thank you. I love you, too. So, I'll be back in like half an hour?"

"Okay good. And please be safe."

He kissed her, opened the door, and swung out.

She watched him for a few seconds, his shoulders scrunched, before he disappeared into the rain. Once she knew he couldn't see them anymore, she turned off the lights.

Ten minutes passed, then twenty, and then she turned them back on so he could find her again. At first everything seemed to be as it was — darkness, trees, headlights shining. But then, visible at the outer reaches of their light, a figure, not moving. Carol stopped breathing.

Her hands went to lock the doors, but they already were.

The figure came toward the car slowly, staying just out of the light, until it was at the car. And then it touched the car, putting its hand on the hood.

It moved up the hood, slowly, until it was at her door.

The figure stood there, then lowered itself, moving straight down. The light was dim, but Carol watched as the figure's neck appeared. Then its chin and mouth. Then its nose, and then its eyes.

They looked at each other for a few minutes, her barely breathing, him not moving. And then he opened his mouth. He didn't say anything, but left it open, and then the hole began to grow.

And it kept widening, stretching down and up and out to the sides, until it covered the window. Carol thought she was going to die, or that she had already. She stared into it.

For an hour.

And nothing happened. Dan came back with gas, apologized for taking so long, and they drove home. Carol didn't try to explain it, and eventually came to believe it hadn't happened.

Image via Flickr/mountainash

20 Comments / Post A Comment

laurel

/exhales, finally, since she'd been holding her breath without realizing it since "...But then, visible at the outer reaches of their light, a figure, not moving. Carol stopped breathing."

sandwiches

@laurel same here. there may have also been a distinct, sharp sucking-in of breath before the ceasing to breathe. /wimp

erincpdx

Wow, this was a great Sunday morning treat. Thanks, Edith!

PatatasBravas

But why does someone have to stay with the car? Why not just lock it and leave it, like we do with our cars whenever we park them at work or in parking lots while running errands?

Alternatively, why not have sex in the car and cuddle in the back seat and wait until morning to go get gas?

(ugh i am the worst i know)

theotherginger

@PatatasBravas that is exactly what I wanted to know.

Edith Zimmerman

@PatatasBravas Someone has to man ... the lights? Yeah I don't know. Sorry about that.

PatatasBravas

@Edith Zimmerman Hahaha no need to apologize! I am just that person who gets all GUYS MY LOGICS WILL KEEP YOU ALIVE, DON'T DOOOO ITTTTTT even when I know where all the tropes are leading, and then I keep reading/watching/offering advice.

PatatasBravas

The story is great, I just have so many unresolved questions from movie and stories in which people choose the scariest possible option.

Pocket Witch

@PatatasBravas Let's split up! We can cover more ground that way! . . . with blood and the sounds of terrified screams . . .

Miranda Loeber@facebook

@PatatasBravas If you watch Cabin in the Woods, it will give you all the answers.

Jane Err

@Miranda Loeber@facebook Seriously, I just watched Cabin in the Woods this weekend, and it was fantastic. I totally didn't know what it was about beforehand also, which made it waay better. I just knew horror move + really good, according to various sources.

Yup. Perfect ending, as well.

Etruscan Duck

This was really, really great. Thanks Edith!

Dirty Hands

"There was a gas station a couple miles back" +
"So, I'll be back in like half an hour?" =
NOT LOGICALLY COMPATIBLE. If he had to call a tow truck, that would take a while. If he got apocalypse gas AND someone gave him a ride, that would work if the gas station was, say, a mile and a half away, no more. Unless he ran? Or walked really fast, which he didn't seem to be doing, out into the rain?

maxine of arc

@Dirty Hands No, it totally makes sense if you assume that Dan is one of those people who's bad at time and always takes three times as long as he says he will. Even when it makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE, like he'll come out with "I'm going to the store, I'll be back in twenty minutes" when you KNOW that the store is a ten minute drive away, dammit! I feel like there is a PLAGUE OF DUDES like this. They probably also do other annoying things like not turn their windshield wipers up. Spot-on characterization, Edith!

Ham Snadwich

@Chesh - I'm pretty sure Dan was being sarcastic about the wipers, in the way that you do when someone tells you to do something that you're already doing.

redheadedtwit

@Chesh ARGH. My boyfriend is one of those. "Sure, I'll clean the kitchen while you run to the store"
An hour later I come back and he is playing video games. Good thing he is cute.

Lady Humungus

@Chesh My husband is a Dan. It's like, ONE time, he made it home from work in 10 minutes, and now that's how long he thinks it will take every time. He is always late.

Pyxis

@redheadedtwit Unfortunately I am also one of those, and I don't even have the excuse of dudeliness to fall back on. I'm always saying things like "Of course I'll put the lasagna in the oven on time so we can have it for dinner. What do you take me for?" Then at dinner we will be eating hot pockets while the lasagna sits half-frozen in the oven.

sarah.@twitter

am I the only one who found this completely terrifying? sort of existentially, but also just in general?

Geoff Alot

This is something one will not like while sitting alone inside the car and most probably at night. Any shadow or any suspicious thing, if you have seen at night while driving your car then, that might not be good sight for you. But, all that depends upon you and your way of thinking. If you are a brave person and you never look at unnecessary things, you will definitely succeed at the end. Car is one of the safe vehicle to travel and also quite comfortable one. I have a Volvo car and this is really beautiful. I, several times drive my car and go for long tours. I like my car very much. I refer to the best Volvo repair and service center in my city, whenever my car needs repairing.

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