“How many times has it been?”
“I don’t—what does it—how—“
“Four,” Nancy announced. “Four times, Robbie, your car has broken down and four times you’ve called me to pick you up.”
“Look I would have been happy to walk home during the day,” Robbie said from the backseat. “But it’s not the day and you know how dark it can get along these roads. I was either going to be hit by a car or eaten by an animal. That happened once in Twilight Zone, did you know that?”
“Don’t talk about Twilight Zone when I’m driving on a dirt road when it’s pitch black out.” Nancy loosened her grip on the steering wheel and flexed her fingers. She was the only one she knew who would drop everything to pick up her friend in the middle of the night and not even complain when he insisted on lying down in the backseat while she drove him home because he ‘had a long day’. And of course, he had to live in the one part of town that didn’t seem to have electricity or paved roads yet.
“Wouldn’t it be creepy if something just jumped out of the blackness?” Robbie chuckled. “Like that thing on the airplane in that episode?”
“Creepy, but not happening.”
“You don’t know that.” Nancy heard him straighten up in the backseat and she sighed, ready for his volley of nonsense. “There are plenty of things that can’t be explained in the world, even in this rinky-dink town. You’ve heard of those people who went missing and were last seen on this road. They’ve never been found, not even a fingernail. And tons of birds and squirrels have been found in the road, dead. Drain of blood and everything.”
“That’s not even true.” Nancy pressed her lips together and tightened her grip. “Those kids were runaways, they could be on the opposite side of the country for all we know. And ‘tons’ of birds weren’t found, there were two birds and one squirrel found once, with all their blood I might add, and a dog or a hunter could have gotten to them.”
She heard Robbie grumbled a little and slide back down across the seats as she continued.
“You know all the rumors about this town. It’s so old there’s one for each decade. Remember a few years ago people were saying Marion Stanley committed suicide on this road and she actually moved to Ohio? And before that everyone thought it was suspicious the snow always melted here first but they seem to forget the town septic line runs parallel to the road. But I’m sure you have an explanation for all this, right?”
Nancy smiled and waited for her friend to come back at her with more nonsense. But he didn’t respond.
“Nothing, huh?” She said smugly. “Hm, who knew you could just silence the Great Conspirator with some facts... Robbie?”
There was silence from the back seat. That wasn’t like Robbie. He always had to get the last word in even if it was stupid.
“Robbie?” Nancy turn and glanced over her shoulder. The backseat was empty. Completely empty. It looked like Robbie had never even been there.
Nancy turned back to the road and her heart caught in her throat as she slammed on the brakes.
The woods on either side of the dirt road seemed to be darken as she was whipped back against her seat by the seatbelt. Raising her terrified eyes, she took in the figure standing before her car. Her high beams were on but they seemed to part around the shape of the tall creature looming in the darkness. It was too tall to be human, too skinny, from what Nancy could see. She could just make out its outline, boney and huge, as the rest of it blended into the night. One thing she could see perfectly, though, was its eyes. Red. Blood red orbs bore into her soul. They weren’t even eyes, they were just one shade of crimson, horrifyingly illuminated by the headlights.
Nancy couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t be real. But something was standing in front of her. Right in front of her.
Suddenly it moved, jumping from the road in what was like slow motion. Nancy put her arms over her head and squeezed her eyes shut, willing it all to go away, but waiting for the inevitable horrors that awaited her, alone on that dirt road.