A work in progress

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story I am working on for my next book, I am not sure at this point if it will be a book or a short story in a book.
Any and all comments are welcome.
And dont be afraid to critisize

Submitted: December 03, 2006

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Submitted: December 03, 2006

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One more load and he was finished running over the road. Eaton Fuller had found a local driving job.

He was going to deliver this load and pick up another going back to Michigan.

After that he would be home nights and weekends. No more staying out two weeks and then home two days at a time.

No more putting up with know it all super truckers.

Super truckers are the worst of them all. They always think they know more than anybody else, and according to them they never make a mistake.

They are the ones that will pass you on a snow-covered highway, bitching on the C.B. about you going to slow and then a few miles up the road you see them in a ditch or even worse ramming some poor four wheeler into oblivion.

No more sleeping in a truck or eating canned and dehydrated foods.

Sure, you could get a hot meal at a truck stop but, they are by no means cheap.

Eaton had stopped and got some fried chicken at a Pilot truck stop in Little Rock Arkansas the week before and it made him sick as a dog.

He decided that after that he would never eat road chicken, as he called it, again.

He would finally marry Martha and settle down.

He had less then twenty-five miles left to deliver this load at a small manufacturing plant in rural Pennsylvania.  It was just off a narrow two lane that winded through a mountain pass.

Eaton had delivered loads there before and had wandered why anyone would build a factory out in the middle of nowhere like this.

 

It was early spring and he was in the middle of the worst snow storm of the year. In the darkness the snow flakes seemed to pop out of nowhere as they entered the glow of his head lights.

 

Eaton needed to get off of the road and he knew it. Occasionally he could feel the drive tires of the eighteen wheeler brake traction on the snow and ice covered pavement.

He had just started down a long curvy slope when he felt the tractor lurch

sideways on a patch of ice. In a gut reaction his foot slammed the clutch to the floor and the big tires slowly regained traction giving him control of the big rig once again.

 

“Damn, that was a close one,” he said aloud.

 

He knew there was a scenic overlook just around the next couple of curves. He could pull off there, spend the night and deliver the load the next morning after the snow plow came through and cleared the road.

He had plenty of time on this load so he reasoned there was no need to rush.

After all, what could they do? Fire him? He was quitting anyway.

 

As he rounded the final curve before the scenic overlook he could see the tail lights of a newer silver Chevy Impala sitting on the edge of the narrow road.

As he approached the Impala, it slowly pulled out on the road in front of him.

 

Quickly he shifted the transmission into neutral, hit the accelerator bringing the engine RPM’s up to thirteen hundred, and shifted down a gear.

 

“Stupid numb nuts!” he yelled out.

 

The engine moaned as the weight of the trailer and the forty thousand pounds of cargo pushed the truck forward.

The Impala was not gaining any speed and the big truck was bearing down on it fast.

“I’m going to hit him, there is no way I can avoid it,” he said in his mind.

The engine was starting to over rev so he reached over and flipped the engine brake on causing a growling sound from the exhaust pipes as the RPM’s slowly dropped.

The truck was within three feet of hitting the Impala when as a last resort Eaton eased his foot down on the brake peddle trying to slow the trucks momentum and not lock the wheels in the process.

Just as the truck was about to hit the Impala its driver pressed down on the gas and it disappeared into the snow filled darkness.

 

As Eaton lifted his foot away from the brake pedal, he glanced into the mirrors.

He could see the trailer marker lights disappear from the right side and come into view on the left.

“Shit, it’s gonna jack knife,” he yelled aloud.

He pressed in the clutch and checked the mirrors again, the trailer had stopped swinging but by no means was it straightening out.

If it swings fifteen degrees there isn’t any coming out of it he reasoned in his mind.

 

In one last effort he shifted up a gear and pressed down on the accelerator in hopes of pulling the trailer straight.

The tractor jerked from the weight of the trailer as it started to slide back into line.

But, as the trailer slid into place behind the tractor, the tandems hit ice and continued its slide.

 

Eaton felt a hard jerk and saw the trailer lights in the mirror on the right side now. As the trailer swung around he could feel the tractor follow it and knew there was no hope of recovering from the jack knife.

The trailer had complete control of the truck now.

 

Eaton popped out the red and the yellow parking brake knobs in the hope they would have enough drag to stop the truck before it left the road.

The truck slid backwards off of the road down into a long slopping ravine.

 

Eaton awoke in a haze, his head hurt where it had it the door post and knocked him unconscious.

His first thoughts were, where am I? What happened?

 As his mind cleared the memory of the violent backward ride down the side of the mountain came back to him.

It was dark but he could see that snow was building up on the windshield and both mirrors had been ripped off from the doors.

He tried to open the driver door but a large tree blocked it.

As he started to get up from the air seat to open the passenger side door a pain shot up his left leg. It felt as if someone had a hold of his leg and was ripping it off just below the knee.

 

His leg was pinned under the edge of the air seat and all of his weight was bearing down on it.

He reached up and grabbed the shelf of the overhead storage area lifting the weight off the air seat enough to let it rise and free his leg.

Eaton cried out in agony as he pulled his leg free with one hand while holding himself up with the other.

 

In the darkness he could see and feel three or four inches of bone erupting from his leg half way between his ankle and knee.

 

“Shit, it’s broke,” he said aloud.

He checked the CB, lights, satellite communications terminal (Qualcomm), and switched the ignition key off and back on again.

There was no power, heat, or communications, he was helpless.

Snow was covering up the windshield and he didn’t know how far off the road he was, but even if he got out of the truck he knew he would never make it up the ravine with a broken leg.

None of the windows were broken and he had enough food and water to last a week if need be. It was cold but it was going to get a lot colder as the cab of the truck lost what little heat it still held.

He had lots of blankets so he knew he could bundle himself up and keep warm.

 

As his eyes scanned the interior of the cab he could see a glow in the darkness at the base of the bunk.

 

“My cell phone, I forgot all about it,” he thought to himself.

 

It was a painful journey from the driver seat to the bunk and it seemed like a mile even though it was only about three feet.

He snatched up the phone and rolled onto the bunk in one quick motion and the pain from his leg seemed to fill his whole body.

 

He dialed nine one one on the phone and pressed the send button, but all he heard was the awful beep, beep, beep sound that indicated no signal.

 

In despair he wrapped up in his blankets and passed out from the throbbing pain in his leg.

*****

 

At eight a.m. Tom Booth sat in his cubical at Sure Fire Transportation’s Detroit dispatch starting his morning routine of checking his email and driver status for the daily driver report.

 

 

After logging onto the computer, a line of red highlighted letters popped up on the screen that read, “No signal from truck 30768, last ping response to satellite 2204.”

“Red flag on 30768” he called out.

 

Marty Blitz, the driver supervisor, stepped into Tom’s cubical and stood behind him peering down at the monitor. He was a short fat man and no one liked him much.

He had no personality and never admitted to being wrong about anything even when he knew there was proof to the contrary. He had never even been in a truck, much less driven one so most of the employees despised him and called him Lard Ass behind his back.

“Who is the driver?” he asked in his usual gruff tone.

 

“Eaton Fuller. The signal was lost on Snowshoe pass in Pennsylvania at ten o four last night.”

They are having a hell of a snow storm out there, maybe the weather is killing the signal,” Marty thought aloud.

 

“Could be, but I have two other trucks in that storm and they aren’t having signal problems”, Tom said as he scrolled down the driver status screen.

 

“Who is the customer?”

 

“He is running a load to Hub Manufacturing, looks like he was less than fifty miles from there when we lost signal.”

 

“If it will make you feel better give Hub a call and see if he has arrived, I bet he is sitting at the dock or in the parking lot asleep.”

 

“OK,” Tom replied as he pulled up the phone number on the computer.

 

Awhile later Tom walked over to Marty’s desk, “I tried calling Hub but no one answered the phone so I called the Pennsylvania state police and was told that Snowshoe pass is closed. Hub is shut down until the pass opens back up.”

 

“How long do they estimate before the pass opens?”

 

“A couple of days at the least.”

 

“Still no satellite signal from the truck?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“Report the truck stolen, just in case.”

 

“Marty, I know Eaton, he wouldn’t do that.”

 

“He is quitting his job here isn’t he?”

 

“Yes, but that doesn’t make him a thief.”

 

“If he isn’t doing anything wrong then he will have nothing to worry about, besides if the cops are looking for the truck we will have a better chance of finding him sooner if something has happened to him.”

 

“OK, you’re the boss.” Tom replied in an agitated tone.

 

*****

 

Eaton awoke from a restless sleep, took four Tylenol, lit a cigarette, took a long draw and slowly exhaled the smoke.

 

His leg throbbed and the pain engulfed his body with each beating of his heart. Beads of cold sweat covered his face. His body shivered from fever and he could tell by the lack of light filtering from the snow covered windows that it was another cold moonless night.

 

Three days had passed since his violent slide down the mountainside and infection had set up in his leg. The poison was slowly traveling through his body like an invading army sneaking through the woods looking for an enemy to attack.

He was sure he would die if help didn’t come soon and as far as he knew no one was even looking for him.

 

“My god, no one knows I’m here and I’m going to die and rot away in this stinking shit hole!” he cried out.

 

“It is not as it seems”, a deep voice penetrated the darkness.

 

Eaton startled and pain flowed through his body again.

 

“Thank god, I was giving up hope of ever being found”, he called out in relief and excitement.

 

“Take my hand and I shall ease your pain.”

 

Eaton started to reach out but quickly pulled has hand back. Before him he could see the silhouette of a figure in a dark hooded cloak. Where the face should have been was only blackness within the hood and a skeleton like hand reached out to him.

 

“Who are you?” Eaton asked fearfully.

 

“Who I am is of no consequence.”

 

“Are you the grim reaper?”

 

“Who I am is of no consequence.”

 

“Go away, I’m not ready to die!”

 

“You know not what you ask, take my hand so I might ease your pain.”

 

“No, get the hell out!”

 

“As you wish. When you can bear the pain no longer I shall reach out to you again.”

 

The boney hand withdrew into the sleeve of the cloak and the figure dissolved into the darkness.

 

“It’s got to be the fever, it’s making me hallucinate”, Eaton reasoned to himself.

 

Eaton propped himself up on his pillow, lit another cigarette and watched the glow of burning tobacco dimly light up the sleeper area of the cab as he drew the smoke into his lungs.

He had planned on quitting this nasty habit but now he felt he wasn’t going to live long enough to get cancer anyway.

Eaton fumbled in the darkness and opened the drawer on the bunk side cabinet and pulled out a small tea light candle, sat it on the table and lit it.

He had put a few candles in the drawer when back winter started in case he got caught in a snow storm and had to sit it out on the side of the road for a few days.

He never thought he would have to use them but now he was glad he did.

After lighting the candle he lay back and watched the flicker of light dance on the ceiling of the cab.

As he snuffed out the cigarette out in the bean bag ashtray the noticed the cab started to glow brightly.

 

“Shit, I started a fire!” he said to himself.

 

Quickly he put out the candle and saw that even though the was no fire the cab of the truck was brightly lit, it looked as if some one had turned on a one hundred and fifty watt light bulb.

He felt as if the temperature in the cab had instantly climbed to seventy five degrees and for the first time in three days all of the pain was gone. He felt good, in fact he felt great.

 

“Howdy” a friendly voice said in a southern accent.

 

Sitting at the foot of the bunk sat a man dressed in a full gray confederate army uniform.

 

“Damn, another hallucination.” Eaton thought aloud.

 

 “Nope, you ain’t seein things” the solider announced.

 

“Well it isn’t Halloween, and I doubt you are part of a rescue party dressed like that so what are you, a ghost?”

 

“I reckon you could say that, I died right here where your truck is sittin on July the eighth, eighteen sixty three.”

 

“Yeah right, and I suppose you know who was earlier, or was that you too?

 

“Bones must have been here to see you already eh? Beings you are still here and alive I reckon you didn’t take his offer. Probably told you he could end your pain or some such nonsense.

 

“Yeah, but if your not a hallucination how do you know what he said?”

 

“Me and Bones go way back, he gave me the same offer. Good thing you denied him, all he has to offer is pain and suffering.”

 

“Did you take his offer?”

 

“Nope, if I had I wouldn’t be talking to you right now, that’s fur sure”

 

“I’ve got be crazy, sitting here talking to some one who isn’t even here. The fever must be baking my brain. But on the plus side I’m not in pain anymore and it actually feels warm in here. So, what’s your name? Or do ghosts have names?”

 

“My friends call me D so I reckon you can do the same.”

 

“You mean like D E E? Isn’t that a girl’s name?

 

“Nope, just D, no E’s”

 

“Ok D, if you’re real go get some one to get me out of here.”

 

“I can’t do that.”

 

“Why the hell not?”

 

“Living people can’t see or hear me, the only reason you can is because you are on the edge of death and just happen to be on my resting place. So all I can do is guide you into the after life.”

 

“So you are telling me I am going to die and we are going to spend eternity here in this spot. No offence, but that doesn’t sound very appealing to me.”

 

“To tell the truth most spirits go to the light, there are only a few like me that choose not to. I go all over the world too, I have been every where and seen everything just as if I were alive. But I don’t feel pain, hunger, cold, heat or any of the discomforts I had when I was alive. As matter of fact, I like it better this way. And if you choose not to go to the light you could do the same.”

 

“Well I’m not dead yet so think I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I could still be rescued.”

 

“I suppose, but not likely anyone will find you in time to save you.”

 

“How did you end up dieing here anyway, I didn’t think the confederate army made it this far north.”

 

“It’s a long story and it happened a long time ago.”

 

“I seem to have allot of time on my hands, besides I like civil war history.”

 

“Ok, On April 17 1861 when Virginia succeeded from the union I had a small patch of land near Manassas I was to be wed to a purdy little gal by the name of Anna Mae Colter.  But on July 11 at the first battle of Manassas the south kicked the union army’s ass. So as soon as I could I met up with a bunch of neighbors and we joined the confederate army. We were put in the 19th Regiment of the Virginia Infantry.

 

“So you fought to keep the slaves.” Eaton broke in.

 

“Fur most of us the war wasn’t about slavery, only the well to do had slaves.  Most of the men that actually did the fighting were just poor folk. We didn’t have no slaves. We were fighting for our way of life, we didn’t want the Yankees telling us how to live our lives and putting tariffs on our goods. The Yankees had no call to be sticking there noses in our affairs. We were fed up with it and we wasn’t gonna take it anymore.

 

Anyway, Anna Mae didn’t want me to go to war and made me promise that I would make it back no even if it mint running from battle.

 

General Lee took command of the Northern Virginia army on June 1st 1862.  We lost some men in battle but we didn’t have real heavy causalities until the last of week of June 1862 at the seven days battle near Richmond, we lost 138 men that week.

But I wasn’t about to turn yellow and let them damn Yankees get the best of me. Besides we was winning the war.

 

Gettysburg was the worst of them all though. All of the commanders was there, even General Robert E. Lee himself. The 19th Virginia was commanded by Lieutenant General James Longstreet, who was In charge of the first Army corps. Then there was Major General George Pickett the Division leader. And then there was Brigadier General Richard Garnett the brigade commander.

 

We got in Gettysburg on July 2 1863, the second day of fighting. The next day at one o’clock in the afternoon one hundred and seventy of our cannons started firing on the union lines. The cannons blasted for about two hours until they ran short of ammunition. That’s when we began our advance. What is now known as Pickett’s charge. We had Kemper’s brigade to our right and Pettigrew’s to our left. In total almost twelve thousand five hundred men. As we advanced we moved to the left toward General Pettigrew’s brigade and started storming the Angle. As we got within twenty yards of the Angle the 72nd and the 69th Pennsylvania rose up and fired. Now, General Garnett was on a horse even though orders were given for all men to be afoot. But General Garnett had been kicked in the leg by his horse a few days before and was unable to walk. Well when the 72nd fired General Garnett took a shot to the head and died right there on the spot.

From that point on it was total chaos, men were falling all around me, I could hear shot passing by my head and see them hitting the ground inches from me.

I looked at the man next to me just in time to see a shot hit him in the forehead cracking it open like a watermelon. Then the man on my other side took a gut shot and went down. The ground around me was covered in bodies and blood and men were dropping like flies. Men were screaming in pain and asking for help, some were crying that they didn’t want to die.

That’s when the memory of Anna Mae came to me and I remembered her telling me to come home alive even if I had to run from battle, so that’s what I did. I turned tail and ran as fast as I could. The 19th Virginia went to Gettysburg with three hundred and twenty eight men, Almost half of them died that day.

 

I was so eager to get out of the battle alive that I didn’t pay attention to which way I was going. Five days later I was standing here realizing that I had been going the wrong direction and trying to get my bearings when a Yankee solider came walking up within a few yards of me. Our eyes met at the same time and I raised my musket and pulled the trigger but the powder didn’t fire. I turned and started to run and the Yankee shot me in the back hitting me in the spine. I couldn’t walk or crawl, and I lay here for three days until I died.”

 

“How did you do that?” asked Eaton in a bewildered voice.

 

“Do what?”

 

“As you told me the story it as if I was watching it, like a movie but at the same time like I was there.”

 

“It’s just a trick I learned from a spirit I met awhile back”

 

“It’s almost daybreak so I got to go for now, you could say I have a prior engagement.” As D waved he slowly faded away.

 

When D disappeared Eaton’s pain returned and he could see his breath in the cold air. He then puked on the floor by his bunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martha Rubin sat in a small room at a round table with plastic chairs surrounding it. The drive from Hillman to Detroit took five hours and she had been waiting in the little room for and hour. Her patients were starting to run out.

Finally two men came into the room and as they sat down one of them began to speak.

 

“Hello Miss Rubin, I’m Marty Blitz the manager of operations and this is Tom Booth. He is Eaton’s dispatcher, what can we do for you?”

 

“First of all I need to know if there has been any progress in the search for Eaton since I talked to Tom on the phone yesterday.”

 

“No, I’m afraid not.” Tom replied.

 

“Something has to have happened to him, he calls me every night before he goes to sleep and I haven’t heard anything from him in three nights,” Martha sighed.

 

“I’m sure he will be found soon, as of yesterday the FBI is looking for him” Marty announced.

 

“FBI, why would they be involved?”

 

“Because stealing a truck loaded with freight and takeing it across state lines is a federal offence.”

 

“Theft, what in hell are you talking about? He disappeared in a snow storm for Christ’s sake.”

 

“I don’t think so, I believe he stole it and is somewhere cashing in on it. For all I know you are involved and are trying to cover your tracks.”

 

“One thing Eaton is not is a thief Mister Blitz. You mean to tell me no one is even searching the area where his disappeared? What in the hell is wrong with you?

 

Marty slammed his fist down on the table. “Don’t take that tone with me Miss Rubin, I’m not going to waste time and money on a search that goes nowhere. The man is a thief and he will be caught and sent to jail as such!”

 

“Well then if you wont I will, He could be out there dyeing or even dead. Something has happened to him and I know it.” Martha cried.

 

“I’ll tell you this missy, if he isn’t dead he is going to wish he was. Even if he did have an accident he is going to pay for any and all damages to the truck and the cargo. I will see to that.”

 

Well I’ll tell you this you fat piece of shit, I work for a small town newspaper and I am going to do a story about the way you are handling this. I have a friend at the Detroit Freepress and he will publish it also. Then the Associated press will have access to it and it could go nation wide and then everyone will know just how much of an asshole you are.”

 

“Listen bitch, your small town rag doesn’t scare me. I am a powerful man here and in this terminal I am god.

 

Martha stood and walked to the door. “In here you maybe god but once you leave this terminal you are just another fat, pathetic looser, and you are about to find out just how big of a bitch I can be.” The door slammed shut as she left.

 

Tom sat looking at Marty, he couldn’t believe how badly had handled the situation.

 

“What?” Marty yelled.

 

“I think she is right Marty, I know Eaton pretty well. He isn’t a thief.

 

“Well lucky for me what you think doesn’t matter Tom. Get your ass back to work before I fire you.”

 


© Copyright 2018 Everett Swift. All rights reserved.

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