Night Trip

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 17, 2017

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Submitted: September 17, 2017

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Night Trip

I have driven this road hundreds of times before, but never once in the dark. I know where every curve is, every bump; I know when I need to slow for safeties sake, and when I can disregard the speed limit. But that is in daylight and it all seems so different now.

Cassie is sitting beside me. It is because of her that we were so late getting away, and she knows that I am still mad about it. So far the drive has been made in uncomfortable silence; neither of us being willing to be the first to apologize or forgive.

She is drowsy. I can see her in the mirror, her eyes getting heavy and closing, only for her to fight it off and force them to open again.

I wonder why it is that this road seems to be so much longer in the dark. We’ve not seen one other car while driving; not passing us or heading the opposite way. I feel a bit like I’m carreening down a long black tunnel. The darkness is so complete that I can barely make out the shapes of the trees that line the tarmac.

There is no need for me to concentrate. All I need to do is keep the car heading forward along the road. Hell, I hardly have to touch the brake, let alone change gear. It’s just a cruise in the dark and I let my mind wander.

"Look out!”

Cassie’s shriek breaks into my semi-hypnotized state. There is a figure, dressed all in white, walking along the middle of our lane. He must hear us. Why isn’t he moving to the side?

I slam my foot hard on to the brake, pushing the pedal to the floor. It is a struggle to keep any control over the wheel, as we skid forward in a squeal of hot metal and rubber.

I can’t avoid him. We are going to collide. But still he does not even look round.

Cassie is screaming hysterically, cursing him, cursing me; I can’t make a sound. All my effort is focused on avoiding impact. The car has slowed but the thud is still sickening to hear.

The instant the car stops moving I’m out of it, heading back, hoping the guy has had a lucky escape or received just a glancing blow, but knowing that the collision has more than likely left him dead. Cassie has her head buried in her hands and is sobbing. She’s got to pull herself together. I need her to. What does she think I feel like? After all, I was the one behind the wheel.

"Cassie, get your phone and call the cops, okay? I’m going to see how bad he’s hurt.” Not waiting for her to answer, I grab the torch from the boot and head off back along the road.

Where is he? I can’t see anyone or anything back the way we’ve come. I shine the torch along the verges, both sides of the road. I walk back to the car, crouch down and look underneath it. Nothing!

Cassie opens the passenger door and shakily steps out onto the road. “Is he dead?” she asks.

"He’s vanished!” I answer. “Come with me and I’ll show you.”

The two of us walk along side by side, the trauma putting our quarrel into perspective. We both feel the need to hold on to each other’s hands. I shine the torch backwards and forwards across the entire width of the road. There is still no sign of a man, or of a body.

I don’t know how long we are waiting before the police car finally comes in to view. Their arrival is a relief until I realize just how crazy it’s all about to sound.

"Have you been drinking, Sir?”

I should have seen that question coming. I assure them I haven’t even volunteer to take the breathalyser test myself. The results are clear as I knew they would be.

"And you say he was about....here?”

Both Cassie and I nod and the police officers spread out to search both verges. There doesn’t seem to be any trampled or crushed vegetation; no one has fallen through those hedges.

"Hey,” one of them says. “Isn’t this where Marty Connors died? You know, in that hit and run?”

"Yeah, I guess; not far from here anyway. About two years ago now. Look,” one of the officers says, turning to us once again. “There’s nothing here. Not a sign. Maybe it was a deer, or a fox or.....”

He doesn’t actually say, ‘Maybe you imagined it’, but I can see that’s what he and his partner are thinking. They both walk around our car, flashing their torches while looking for dents or breaks; anything that would back up our story. There’s not even a broken headlight.

"We’ll write it up, take your names, your vehicle details. If anything pops up we’ll be in touch, but I think maybe you just got spooked. Follow us back to town, get some sleep. You’ll feel better in the morning.”

Back in the car, Cassie and I give each other a glance before I turn the key. Will it even start after what I’ve just put it through? The engine fires up instantly and there’s not even a whiff of hot rubber. Had we really imagined it all?

Determined to keep those rear lights in view, I pulled out and kept just far enough back from the police car. For some reason, I feel compelled to glance in my mirror and I swear there is someone, something, walking along the middle of the road behind us.


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