Making An Exception To A Rule

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Imaginarium
Written for a challenge at the Imaginarium House, posted by Reaper.
Cover image: pixabay.com

Submitted: June 05, 2019

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Submitted: June 05, 2019

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Making An Exception To A Rule

Never, ever pick up hitch-hikers! My father had drummed that message in to my head for years and it had stuck. No matter who, what, where, I’ve just driven on by. Waved hands, thumbs held out, cardboard destination signs – for the five years that I have been driving I have quite simply ignored them all.

And yet tonight I find myself slowing. At first it was because I had no choice, not unless I was going to commit vehicular homicide. As I drew nearer, the figure became clearer. She wasn’t much more than a child, early teens at most. Was that a teddy in her hand?

What could she be doing out in the middle of nowhere? I had left the last town a good while ago now and there were still plenty of miles to go before the next one. A runaway, perhaps, or maybe she had been abducted and escaped. My mind was coming up with all kinds of scenarios.

I pulled the car to a stop just before I reached her, opened the passenger door and called out to her to get inside. She climbed in and even in the dim light I saw I was not so far wrong in assessing her age. Eleven, perhaps twelve, very pretty...what kind of parents would let a daughter that age go out on the road on her own. Had they had an accident?

As I pulled away I glanced at her. She did not appear to be in any way injured, or even traumatised but it was better to ask, wasn’t it?

Are you okay, Honey?” I said, and she nodded in reply. “Where do you need to get to? Do you need the police?”

A bad idea to ask two questions without pausing for an answer, maybe, but she pointed along the road then shook her head. I was taking her the right way and she did not want to see the police, I took that to mean.

She did not seem to want to talk so I didn’t push it; just drove along with the radio playing softly. I started to wonder whether there was something wrong with her, whether she could talk, but then she began whispering and chatting to the bear that she held on her lap. She’d talk to me when she was ready.

Let’s play a game!” Her voice when she spoke was quite clear, but sounded a bit too young for her appearance.

What sort of game?” I asked, although I knew the options were pretty limited.

She went back to whispering to the bear on her lap, then said, “Let’s play ‘Teddy Says’.

Okay,” I said, thinking it was going to be a way of her asking me about myself, and then perhaps she would open up about herself a bit too. I was wrong.

Teddy says, ‘Stop the car!’”

Maybe it was my imagination but her voice sounded different in some way. Older, colder...I couldn’t quite work it out. “Sorry, Teddy, I can’t do that. I’m already running late. What’s your teddy’s name?”

Silence! Was she really sulking? When she kicked at my legs, stamped on the brakes making me fall forward into the steering wheel I knew there was something wrong. And that was before I felt the tip of the blade press against my neck.

Teddy does not like people who don’t do as he says.” She looked at me, the calmness of her expression absolutely chilling. “He says you can have another chance. Teddy says, ‘Drive off the road and in to that field.’”

I start to shake my head but the knife presses harder. I am not being given a choice. I turn the wheel to the right, struggling with the steering now the tyres were off the road. I kept driving, waiting to wake up from this nightmare that was now gripping me.

Teddy says, ‘Stop the car. Say goodbye, it’s time to die!’”

She strikes, lightning fast, giving me no chance to put up a fight. Straight for the jugular she’s gone and my sight is fading fast. The teddy is blood-soaked, dripping all over the floor but not on the girl.

If only I’d looked more closely at the bear.


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