The Morning Stars

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
My AS Creative peice, Just a quick horror story. Not to boast or anything,but i scared myself writing this!

Submitted: May 23, 2010

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Submitted: May 23, 2010

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TEXAS: DAWN: TODAY

The Man watched the Morningstar rise the way he always had done for the past eighteen months, laying on his back and looking directly into the blazing heart of the orb. His body clock had become so precise that he always awoke exactly two minutes before dawn. He cleared his throat and spat upon the hot desert sand

He was not a tall man, about five-foot-one, but his build more than compensated for that. He could have been a champion athlete in his youth. Clearly he maintained a strenuous exercise regime, which had left his tanned body scarred and pulled yet bulging with muscle. His right arm was given to involuntary shaking on occasion; the muscles having been so over-worked.

He rubbed his arms and then brushed the strands of coarse black hair away from his pale blue eyes. The desert always seemed alive during the first seconds of dawn. Through the shimmering heat haze he could make out the shapes of lizards moving quickly over the deserted highway.

The highway stretched for miles into the distance; seemingly endless. The man liked this image. A road to nowhere. He rose slowly to his feet, yawned and stretched. in doing so he felt the muscles in his back tighten. Glancing down at the sand he saw the remains of last night’s bed, which consisted of just his worn coat, bundled into a makeshift pillow. The sand had been his mattress. The man preferred this to the nights he had spent trying to sleep in the car; there he had always woken with a stiff neck and sore limbs. He spent most of his days in the car; it seemed pointless to sleep in there as well.

By six o’clock he was driving.

His battered old mustang roared like a caged beast, swallowing the highway under its dust covered tyres. He often wondered how his parents had felt that morning when he left, no son, and no car. He guessed they would be missing the car.

He drove past a solitary signpost proclaiming a gas station some five miles away. This advertisement caused him to check the needle on the fuel gauge. It was quivering near the red of empty. After spending so long on the road the man had learnt to sense when the car was low on fuel, just as he could sense the onset of a dramatic weather change. The desert was a dangerous animal; sand storms could whip up without warning.

The man opened the glove compartment and retrieved his battered, black shades. He then fished around the clutter, scattering a pile of photographs onto the passenger seat in his search for a CD. Eventually his quest was rewarded and he pulled free a scratched and worn looking disc and in the process spilt sweet wrappers and empty cigarette packets onto the car floor. He slid the CD into the player on the dashboard and turned up the volume. His ears filled with music and he began to leisurely tap his fingers against the steering wheel. He felt reflective as he listened to the music His mind wandering over his more precious memories. So much had happened to him since he had left home and begun travelling. He had seen so many places, yet he always just kept on driving. To stay in one place too long held no joy for him. Always the road called to him, and always he answered it.

He saw the stranger a split second before he saw the gas station. This was the danger of the desert heat, objects would shimmer into view suddenly, before your mind had chance to adapt. The stranger was sitting on the edge of the highway smoking a thin black cigarette; He was staring casually at the approaching mustang.

The man noted, with some surprise, that the stranger was dressed from head to toe in a jet black trench coat, which was covered in strange badges and symbols. On his head he also wore a wide brimmed, battered-looking hat. It seemed impossible that he could withstand the harsh heat from the sun, which his outfit must surely be intensifying.

As the Mustang drew closer, the stranger stood up, revealing that he was a good foot taller than the man. His face was scarred and rough and his eyes darted from side to side as though every gust of wind should be treated with extreme suspicion. Despite this, the man offered the stranger a lift, which he gratefully accepted.

The man filled the car at the station and bought a parcel of food, cigarettes and new film for his camera. Within minutes the journey resumed. To begin with the man felt uneasy, he had a strange feeling of familiarity. Not just from picking up a stranger; he had, after all given lifts to various people over time, it was more that the gas station had been very similar to another he rememberedrecently using. He had never been to this one before though, of that he was quite sure. He should know by now that in the desert; everything seemed the same after a while.

For half a mile they travelled together in complete silence, each one preoccupied with their own thoughts. The man was first to break the uneasy silence; he offered the stranger a cigarette and their first conversation began, albeit a little hesitant and strained. The stranger spoke with a strong mid-western accent and he had a habit of nervously blinking when he spoke of his home. He told the man briefly of his current situation and asked the man where he was heading. The man smiled at this question and told the stranger he had:

No plans.”

The stranger seemed to relax at this. He asked the man if he ever dreamed, the man said:

“Never.”

The stranger began to talk incessantly about his own dreams; He told the man that he relied on the vividness of his dream worlds so that he could paint the landscapes when he woke, explaining that he had become a street artist. Once he had finished what sounded to the man like ‘boasting’, he turned and asked out of politeness “What do you do for a living?” The man answered without hesitation:
I’m a collector.”
Their conversation turned to other areas and for a time they talked of the loneliness of travelling, with only the isolation of the desert for a constant companion. It appeared to both, as they stared down the empty highway that they truly were the last two people left. The man had only recently spoken with the gas station attendant and realised he was feeling less isolated than the stranger.
 
As the day grew older, the temperature increased. The man had begun to feel irritable and fatigued. Sweat from his brow stung his eyes. The stranger was laughing at one of his own stories but the man had not been listening. He had begun to find the stranger’s smile disturbing, and his company somewhat tedious. It was time to stop driving and rest, the man decided. He pulled the mustang off the highway and parked it at the edge of the empty track. The stranger eased his seat back and pulled his hat down to shield his eyes from the burning sun.
 
The man suddenly realised that he had not yet shown the stranger his latest photographs; the ones he had earlier knocked over in his search for his sun glasses. He pulled open the glove compartment and scrabbled around for them, trying excitedly to sort the in to some kind of order. They were old and worn, yet the man clutched them with immeasurable pride. He tapped the stranger on his shoulder and almost recoiled from the heat of the trench coat his passenger was wearing.
 
How could he sleep in that heat?
 
The man glanced over at the at the stranger who had been so abruptly woken from his doze and was now looking puzzled by the man’s recoil from him. The man offered the stranger his dog-eared photos. The stranger still looked confused but accepted them; he blinked at them again and began to look at the top photograph on the pile.
 
TEXAS: EVENING: TOMORROW
 
The late afternoon was the worst time to be travelling in the desert. It was too hot to concentrate properly and the heat could play tricks on your vision. Regardless the man continued to drive, somehow ignoring the crippling temperature. He was alone in the car, the stranger having recently departed.
 
Although the man had not enjoyed the stranger’s mundane conversation, he had at least been company for the relentless silence of the journey. He thought back now to some of the stranger’s more interesting questions. Did he dream? Were his parents still alive? What did he do for a living?
 
All the questions the man had been unable to answer.
 
Suddenly he pressed his foot down upon the brake and brought the mustang to a shuddering halt. He realised in that moment that he had no answers. He wiped frantically at the sweat pouring down his neck. He waited a full minute, breathing deeply and trying slow his thoughts, but they were racing with panic. He had no memories, other than leaving his home and travelling to this infernal stretch of highway. He began to cry.
 
He opened the driver’s side door and stepped out. He flexed his hands continually to relieve built up tension. Soon it would be dusk and the desert would start to cool. It seemed pointless to continue his journey today; he would rest and remain here. He walked around the mustang and opened the boot of the car.
 
His few changes of clothes lay across the top of the trunk. He pulled them out and tossed them onto the desert floor. He turned back to the boot and began to heave the dead body of the stranger. A broad smile spread across the man’s face. He bound the mutilated corpse in tightly stretched bin bags. It was so important to keep the body fresh for when the Pig-Beast arrived. The man struggled with the weight of the body, eventually setting it down near the edge of the highway. He sat cross-legged next to it, ignoring the smell, and waited for it to arrive.
 
He had lied when the stranger asked him if he ever dreamed. He did dream, but only of the Pig-Beast. He pulled his camera from his pocket and checked the dial. He had taken only five photographs, and this was brand new film. There would be plenty of opportunities to take more, there always were. In the distance he could hear the footfalls of animals; they sent slight vibrations through the soft sand all around him.
 
The man remembered how the stranger had screamed like a wounded calf when he had shown him the photographs. The stranger had thrown them to the floor to join the sweet wrappers and other mess in the foot-well like they were filth, not art. All those bodies, all those strangers he had given lifts to. The stranger had struggled against the man as he realised that his own body was destined to join those shown to him in the pile of discarded photographs. Then the grunting began; seeming to fill his skull.
 
It was the last sound he ever heard.
 
TEXAS: DAWN: SOON
 
The hitchhiker watched the morning star rise and rubbed her eyes. She was very tired and a car hadn’t driven past her all night. Soon she would have to get up and walk to the gas station half a mile away. She turned her head to watch a lizard cross the road up ahead. The dawn brought with it strange noises as it whipped amongst the sound. She laughed as she heard what sounded like a pig squealing in the distance. She pulled her brown hair out of her eyes and squinted into the sun. Suddenly a loud sound, like the honk of a much-used black mustang parked just a few feet away from her.
 
Where had it come from?
 
It certainly hadn’t been there a few seconds ago. Shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun she tried to squint at the two occupants of the car. The driver looked youngish, with a pleasant, rugged face; He was smiling at her and beckoning her to get in. The passenger was less clear. A much larger person, with a black trench coat and a hat pulled down to obscure his face. For a second she hesitated, disorientated by what she thought sounded like a grunt close to her. She laughed nervously. She had definitely been sitting in the heat for too long. She began to gather her personal items together, resigning herself to accepting this lift; after all there might not be another car along this stretch of highway for days.
 
 
 
 


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