The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Never Drive at Night
by Rie Sheridan Rose
When I was a kid, my dad would never drive after the sun went down. If he even got close, my mom would lean over and whisper, “Time to find a hotel, Benny.”
I always thought it was because he could fall asleep anywhere at any time, and she didn’t want him to take the whole family with him if he did.
I didn’t mind, because I got to eat a lot of room service and swim in a lot of hotel pools.
It wasn’t until I was a grown man heading for college that I really started to wonder about their sanity. I’d been accepted to USC in a prestigious program, and I was eager to get there and start a new life.
The convertible was my graduation present, and I wanted to let that baby fly.
Just before I started down the road, my mother pulled me aside. “Tommy, you’ve been a good boy all your life—listened to your parents, and done the right thing. Listen to me one last time…before you go off to be your own man. Promise me that you won’t drive at night. It’s too easy to run into disaster. Besides, the road always looks better in the daylight. You can see the sights…”
“I promise, Ma.” I kissed her cheek and climbed in the car. I think that even then I knew I wouldn’t pay attention to the advice, but it wasn’t even noon, so I didn’t think about it much.
The miles flew by as I let the engine purr. It was my first big adventure away from home, and I took advantage of it—pulling off to any little attraction that caught my eye. Eating more junk food than I had a right to…
I got a little hypnotized by the unspooling roadway, and before I really noticed, there was a breath-taking sunset before me. And I was in the middle of nowhere with nothing to either side. It was impossible to stop driving for the night—unless I wanted to sleep in the car, and the backseat held most of my worldly possessions. So, I kept driving.
The stars winked on, one at a time, until the sky above me was spangled with them. I’d never seen the night sky look so beautiful. It really did take my breath away.
I passed a road-sign saying the next town was a hundred miles away. I could make that. Then I would check into a hotel and get some dinner.
The last of the sunset was fading beneath the stars when I saw it. An eye, staring down at me from that vast expanse of stars. God? A demon? Hell, I don’t know…but I have recorded this on my phone for whoever might find the car. I have a feeling, I’m not going to be in it.
I see a hand reaching out of the shadows. Listen to my mother—never drive at night.
Fiction © Copyright Rie Sheridan Rose
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Overheard in Hell:
Poems exploring hell and damnation. Tales of sorrow, vengeance, betrayal, and redemption. Ghosts, ghouls, and demons stalk these pages. Don’t read in a lonely house…in a darkened room by a single candle…
…unless you like the touch of an icy finger up your spine.