The Back Roads

The headlights of your car sweep across the area as you round the bend, the trees bristling in the slight breeze. A white light appears ahead, just over the hill a few feet on the road you are driving along. The clock on the car’s stereo system is glowing green, the neon numbers reading 11:21. Well into the night, on a normal Monday you would be at home, in bed or preparing yourself for the next four days of the workweek to come. It had already been a long day; Mondays always seemed long no matter what happened.

You realize your high beams are on as you move smoothly along. Afraid it may be too late, you turn the high beams down as the car coming towards you crests the hill. The driver waves, you pull a few fingers away from the leather-covered steering wheel in response, followed by a curt nod. You are tired and a mile from home, you just want to be there already.

A rain puddle glistens in the light of the low beams and you slow down slightly as you approach it. Something is moving in the tall grass to your right; you immediately wish the occupant of the house would cut the grass down, it reaches towards the sides of your car like the hands of small children are attracted to their parents’ pant legs. The grass is obnoxiously long, a hazard because snakes and spiders and the like could easily be concealed within the layers and height of the dying grass.

A rabbit darts out onto the road, and you push your foot into the brake pedal, the familiar feeling of your body pressing against the cushioned seating. The rabbit looks up for a moment before hopping away; you shift your foot from the brake to the gas, moving forward as a song comes on the radio you do not much care for. Almost subconsciously, the hand nearest the car radio moves from the wheel to the knob, flipping through the channels until you find a song you do like. Realizing you cannot see much, you turn the high beams back on. More lights appear in front of you, a little less than a mile away, around where you would soon be pulling into your driveway to settle in for the night. You have a second, you ignore the high beams that are still shining bright, figuring you will turn them off in a moment or two.

Beginning to move by some trees, you notice something rustling within the small patch of forest. You press your foot on the braking pedal once more, the car forcibly slowing down, the seat belt cutting into your neck slightly as a deer darts out in front of you.

Its eyes glisten in your lights as you slow down, your heart pounding in your chest. You can hear the thumping, feel the pounding, a physical manifestation of the sudden fear. A mental image flashes across your mind, the front of your vehicle folded in on itself as the limp body of the deer hangs off the twisted remains of the car.

Fortunately, the deer bounds away as quickly as it had appeared, your heart still pumping in your chest. Breathing heavily, you continue once more, the headlights coming from the opposite direction peaking up over a hill. They were further away than you had thought, and after your most recent wildlife encounter you are not so eager to turn off your high beams just yet as you put more pressure on the gas, your car straining to get up a hill.

Suddenly, a grotesque creature appears, moving out from the woods and looking into your eyes. You swerve suddenly, your car at an odd angle in the road, crossing the double yellow line. Your heart is pounding and you suddenly feel nauseous as the creature lifts is head up, turning it around to study your car.

The creature is tall with long arms dragging almost to the ground, it appears they could also be used to aid in movement. Both its arms and legs were sinewy and rippling with muscle, scratches stretching across its legs, presumably from tearing through the nearby woods or battling the small creatures it hunted for food. Matted fur clung to its flesh, and its feet were oddly clawed.

Its torso was rippling with muscle and power, shoulders sculpted as though they were molded from the glorified bodies of the ancient statues of Greek Gods. A long gash ran diagonally across its chest, blood running down its front but it had been long dried since it sustained the wound. Long claws hung from elongated hands and fingers, the rabbit in one hand half-eaten.

Most terrifying of all is its head, which has an odd snout-like protrusion and fangs. The same matted fur that coated its legs coated its face in patches. Odd, shiny black orbs glistened for its eyes sunken back into its head, and fangs are hanging from its maw. Something like antlers sprouted from the top of its head, and it was breathing heavily as though it had been running recently.

The creature lowered himself down onto its arms and legs both, moving forward on all fours and staring at you where you are huddled in the driver’s seat in your car, hoping the door is enough to keep it out. Saliva drooled and dripped from its hardly opened mouth. A low and guttural growl escaped its throat before lights appear over the hill. The creature starts and turns and runs away, following the same path as the deer.

A sigh of relief escapes your lips; you suddenly realize you had been holding your breath since the creature had appeared on the road. Just as your heart began to settle, your breathing relaxed when you feel a jolt run through your body.

You scream as your car rolls backward, spinning around on the road. An airbag inflates, the safety feature feeling like a sucker punch in the face as you throw your hands in the air, your ears ringing from the sound of the impact. The oxygen leaves your lungs and you feel as though you are drowning on dry ground. A foul taste fills your mouth, a combination of the smoke and the powder to keep the airbags fresh. The car that had been coming at you was smashed up and into your hood, the driver screaming in sheer terror.

You look to where the creature had run. Instead of the rabbit, the creature was ripping apart the deer that had darted across the road not too long ago.

You realize that you had forgotten about the seemingly minuscule issue that had been your demise in the end.

 

Be sure to follow my Instagram @the_twilight_sloan. Covers designed and created by Rowan Phelps. You can see her work at phelpsrowan.wixsite.com.

2 thoughts on “The Back Roads

  1. Ah, is this the one you were telling me about when we last spoke. You were telling me of the basic sketch and you probably had everything but the specific wording in your mind. The other things I’ve read you have used narration to carry the plot line along…so this is different reading for me. It held my interest and I was mentally picturing the images you wrote.

    Like

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