Highway 10: The Girl on the Road

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

We were all told never to pick up strangers from off the road. Even if they were in trouble and on the run. When Monica sees a little girl wandering on Highway 10 by herself, she wants to help her. Now, Monica is about to find out the terrifying reason, why this little girl is all alone.

It was about a year ago when I first met her. She was a strange girl wandering by herself on Highway 10 in Arizona. I was traveling back home to San Antonio from a trip I took to California. While I was cruising across the asphalt I could see the open desert for miles all around me. That’s when I noticed her. Her ragged and worn down body was moving like a living corpse. 


No other people were around. It was just that little girl; staggering under the blazing Arizona sun. I slowed my vehicle down and on purposely passed her by. I was trying to look at her face. She hung her head low while she walked. I didn’t get a good look at her mug, but I saw the rest of her. A blue tattered dress covered her thin frame. She was filthy. Her short blonde hair was a mess. 


I wanted to keep driving down the highway. This girl gave me a bad feeling. Like she was going to be nothing but trouble. I stopped my vehicle about twenty feet ahead of her. I don’t know why I did it. At the time, I couldn't think of a good reason. 


I was driving a blue SUV and I left the motor running. I opened the passenger door before I got out. I wanted to get her into my ride as quickly as possible. Also, if something went wrong I wanted to get away as fast I could. Again, I just didn’t trust this girl. Something about her was really off. I examined her closely as she approached my position. She didn't even realize that I was there.  


“Hey.” I said in a friendly tone. She ignored me and kept walking toward my direction with her head down. 


“Hello. Little girl.” I continued to try and get her attention. She kept moving without saying anything. She was about five feet in front of me. This girl was making me incredibly nervous. Actually, I was afraid. I did not want to have to hurt this young kid if she was really crazy. I was bigger than her. I knew I could beat her down if I had to; but something was telling me that it wouldn’t be so easy to thrash this child. She was now about two feet from where I was standing. I made it a point to get directly in front of her. The bizarre traveler took another step and finally acknowledged my presence. She did not raise her head up. 


“Hey, little girl.” I said for the third time. “Are you okay? Why are you walking all alone out on the highway?” 


She still refused to answer. Her body remained motionless. She didn't show me her face. 


“Was there an accident or something? You need me to call the police for your parents?” Silence was the only response I received.  
I decided to stoop down so I could look directly into her face. Apparently something bad had happened to her. I wanted her to know that I was concerned. I slowly and cautiously moved downward. When I did, I was shocked by what I saw. 


She slowly raised her face to greet my eyes. I gasped and took a step backward. When I saw her face it had an expression of deep pain. I could also tell she was angry. The girl’s eyes were hard and cold. They looked bewildered yet fierce. It seemed like there was a monster lurking inside of her body. I really believed she was going to transform into some abominable creature and rip me to shreds. I’ll never forget that look. My heart was beating fast. I could feel the sweat drip off of my skin. Horrible thoughts started to run through my head about what had happened to her.  I just couldn’t turn away and leave her on the road.


I was barely able to open my mouth to say something else. But I did. “My name is Monica. I want to help you. Why are you out here all alone?” I then managed to get up enough courage to gently grab her face. I wanted to see if she had been abused or hurt. When I did she broke down in tears. Her body crumbled to the ground. I sat with her for about two minutes while she cried. Then her tears turned to screams of agony and pain. She passed out. I quickly carried her over to my SUV and took off. 


I placed the young girl into the front seat. I had reclined it all the way back. She was lying down while I drove. I was driving for about half an hour before she opened her eyes again. That same disturbed look was still showing on her face.  


“What’s your name?” I asked her. She didn’t respond right away. She looked around the car. Then out of the window. I thought to wait until she was ready to talk. There was a long uncomfortable silence.  


Finally, the girl took a deep breath and spoke. “Monica?” She cautiously said my name. I could tell she was trying to say it correctly. Apparently, she was paying attention to me when I told her who I was. I nodded to let her know that she got it right. “I’m thirsty. Do you have something to drink?”


I could smell her breath. She hadn’t bathed in days. When I put her in the car I didn’t notice it that much but now her foul stench hit me hard. I pretended like it wasn’t a problem. I looked over at her with empathy. There was some water that I had been sipping on during my drive home. I gave it to her. “It’s all I have for now. We can get more water once we reach the next town.”


The girl wasn’t paying attention to me. She was busy gulping down the water I gave her. Within seconds it was gone. After she drank the last bit she slightly heaved her chest out. She was glad to have some kind of liquid inside of her.  


“How long have you been out here?” I wondered. 


The girl's mind was now focused on something else. She had turned her body around and was looking out of the back window. 


I smiled nervously. “Are you looking for someone? Maybe, your parents? Can you tell me where they are?”


She gazed at me as if I was getting on her nerves. She then started to look out into the desert again.


“It’s getting dark.” The strange girl said with some concern.  


“Yea, you’re right.” I replied casually.  The sun was setting and it was about nine p.m. Late in the month of June. 


“That thing is going to come when it gets dark. I know it will.” She told me while her eyes searched for some imaginary monster. 


I then looked at her as if she were crazy. “What are you talking about? What thing?” I wanted to know. I asked her about her parents again. “Where are your parents?”


“They’re gone. Dead. I don’t know. That thing got them. It got all of us.” The child was nervous. 


“Look. Little girl, I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what is going on.” I demanded. She was starting to make me feel even more afraid. I really wanted to push her out of my car and leave her back on the highway.


I could tell she was irritated. The way she looked at me with her cold eyes let me know. “My name is Grace and I have been walking on this road for about three days. I was with my parents. We were on vacation. The last thing I remember was being with them at an old Indian reservation. That’s when it came. That’s when it got us.” She started to shutter while she spoke. 


While I observed her I could tell she saw something that really messed her up. She continued with her story. “I don’t know how I got away. All I know is that I woke up on the side of the highway and have been running from that thing for days. It likes to chase me in the darkness. It torments my mind while it hunts me.” Then her body slumped over. She passed out again. I stared at her dumbfounded. 


I knew something wasn’t right about this girl. I knew it. I had to get rid of her. I just couldn’t let her know how I felt. We were about ninety miles from Glendale. I had already planned on dropping her off at a police station once we arrived. Then I was going to drive away as fast as I could. This girl had some serious mental issues. I did not want to mess around with her. Yet, even though I was afraid, something was urging me to stay by her side. It was weird.  


About forty minutes later we were just outside of Glendale. I could barely see the lights from the city. I was happy that we were almost there. Grace woke up. She looked over at me. I quickly spoke. 


“We’re almost in Glendale. We can get some rest at a hotel once we’re there.” I wanted to comfort her. I didn’t want to let her know I was taking her directly to the police station. 


She then looked at me with a puzzled expression on her face. “We can’t go there.”


“Why not?” I cautiously asked her. 


“That thing will be waiting on me. For the both of us. I have to stay with you. Don’t ask me why. I just do.” She informed me. 


I had to think fast. “What makes you think I wasn’t going to stay with you?” 


“You’re afraid of me. I can see it.” She plainly stated. “But don’t be afraid. I’m not going to harm you. But if we go to that town, that thing will find us. It will come after you.” 


I was fed up. I forcefully pulled my vehicle over to the side of the highway. “What is chasing after you? Stop playing games and tell me little girl.”  


She could see my frustration. She could feel my anger. Grace hesitated. Then spoke. “I’m being chased by a devil. It’s called the Shadow Demon. I told you it has been hunting me since it got my parents. I don’t know how I escaped it or how I stayed alive. All I know is that God has given me some kind of power to pray this thing away when it shows up. But it just keeps coming.”


“Okay. It’s official. You’re a freaking nut job. I’m flagging down the nearest officer I see. And I’m getting rid of you.” I started to get out of the car to make good on my threat. 


“If you do. You will die tonight. You need me. And I need you. Trust me. You do.” She warned me again. Her voice was serious. She was not joking in the least bit. I could sense she was absolutely right. I looked at her and started to panic. 


“Why are you messing me with me? I’m trying to help you. I don’t want nothing to kill me. What is wrong with you?” I was totally frustrated and scared out of my mind. 


“Look. I don’t know why God is allowing this thing to come for you. But it will get you if you don’t take me with you.” She told me again. “Take me with you Monica. I don’t want to fight it by myself anymore.” Grace’s voice was menacing. The girl seemed like she was ready to devour me if I didn’t follow through with her request.


I swung the door open hard and got out of my SUV. I yelled out. “Help!” 


I thought this little girl was beyond insane. I ran onto the highway to flag down some of the cars that were passing by us. None of them stopped. The highway was now empty after the last few vehicles kept going. I looked over at Grace. She looked at me. Then all of a sudden she started to yell out with terror. 


“Get off the road! Move! It’s behind you!” Grace was rushing toward me from my SUV. 


“What?” I was totally confused by what she was saying. 


She was running in my direction, pointing at something. I thought maybe it was a car coming at me. But it wasn’t. It was something totally beyond my comprehension. I turned slowly around and saw something that devastated my mind. It was dark and disfigured. It had no particular shape and it moved around violently taking on many horrific forms. I was literally scared stiff. Shock overtook me as I stared at this terrible creature that was hovering above my head. Then it  covered me in its dark form. My body was slammed hard onto the asphalt.


All of a sudden I started to feel incredibly sick and began to throw up. My torso was growing weak. My muscles completely stiffened. It was difficult to breath. Blood dripped from my eyes and ears. My mouth was filling up with the taste of blood as well. Whatever this thing was. Wherever it came from. It was killing me. I knew I was going to die. I wanted to crawl away. I tried to fight it. I just couldn’t. 


While I was struggling to hang onto life; I barely noticed Grace had dropped to her knees and she looked like she was praying. While she did this, I had completely blacked out. When I opened my eyes I woke up inside of a hospital in Glendale. Grace was there and so were the police. It was the next day and that little strange girl was smiling at me when I became I conscious. I was glad to be alive. Also, for some reason I was glad to see her face. 


“You saved me.” I was barely able to speak. 


“No. You saved me, Monica.” She replied. She hugged me. Even though I didn’t know this girl, it felt as if she were a part of me. I could feel her energy flowing into my body. She took her pale hand and grabbed mine. My brown skin and her pale complexion seemed to mesh together when our fingers connected. I smiled warmly at Grace. 


We talked to the police. For some reason they didn’t take her from me after I told them what had happened. I explained everything except for the part about the demon. Would they really believe me? I just lied and said that I got really sick from something. The police thought I was drunk or doing drugs. The doctors assured them that I wasn’t.  


The officers told me to take Grace back home to San Antonio. They said I could straighten things out with the legal system there. They would be expecting me to follow through with their demand. I did as they requested and about a month later I had become her temporary guardian. But this isn’t the end of our story, it’s just the beginning. 


Since Grace has been with me, we have been traveling all over Highway 10; trying to stop the Shadow Demon from claiming souls. We also have been trying to find out what this monster did with Grace’s parents. Even though this is a strange child, with unusual abilities, I love her like she was my own.

Submitted: November 27, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Terrel Lockett. All rights reserved.

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