Late nights and coffee.
I sat in the car, riding along some back road highway through some desolate mountain pass. Only the sound of the engine and the tires against the ancient pavement. Only darkness behind and darkness ahead, bordered by my headlights.
It was a little car, an old sedan, but reliable. Red. Faded red though. I loved my car and I’m pretty sure my car loved me back.
I hadn’t seen a road sign in a while. I thought that was strange but I pushed on. Round corners and bends. My phone had died a while back, so I was just guessing which way to go. I had a pretty good sense of direction, I didn’t get lost easily, but this darkness was like a maze.
The darkness was like a maze. I kept driving. I noticed moss on the road. Moss and dirt. Plants growing through cracks in the asphalt. More and more. Soon, I could barely see the road. Not more than 30 seconds later I was rumbling along, not able to see the road any longer.
No road signs.
The headlights flickered. The engine coughed. It coughed again and died.
My beautiful little car rolled to a stop. My headlights were still on, shining through the black, cutting out swaths of safety. Then they, too, flickered and died. I sat alone, alone in the dark. Alone in the black.
My eyes adjusted to the dark while I peered out of the car.
I saw flowers. Flowers all around the car. I seemed to be in a clearing, about 20 feet around. Roses, white as snow. White roses all around the car.
I saw movement ahead of me. The figure walked towards the front of the car. He walked until he was a few feet in front of the car. He bent down and picked a rose. He straightened up, smelling the rose. I couldn’t tell what he looked like. I couldn’t see his face but I knew he was staring past me.
Not past my physical body. He was looking past me. Past my being. He was staring into my soul. He seemed to be judging me. Watching me. I felt my heart pull around in my chest. I felt my stomach roll around in my body.
I watched this man and I knew fear. I knew fear. I locked up, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move.
The figure shook its head. It shook its head and turned around.
It dropped the rose.
Tears rolled down my cheeks. I took deep breaths. Breaths so deep you’d think I had just been drowning. Figures started crawling out of the darkness. Unlike the man, they walked on hands and feet, low to the ground.
All around they approached the car. They didn’t stop a few feet away. They pressed their bodies against the windows. Naked, grey skin, they looked like ash. They were slow. Deliberate. They knew they had me. They didn’t need to put any effort into it.
They kept pressing into the glass. They kept pressing and pressing. The driver’s side window shattered, and a thousand hands reached in. Gray, dead hands. Filthy, reaching for me. They grabbed me and pulled me out of the car. They all grabbed anything they could reach, and I fell onto the flowers.
They started walking into the darkness. They started dragging me away from the car. I didn’t struggle. I didn’t scream. I let them take me. I let them drag me. Drag me into the late night, and the soft flowers.