Short Story: NO TITLE
I’d been in the car long enough. I was glad we got a chance to go visit my parents 8 hours away, but the drive home was always the longest. Especially when it was at night. But Cole insisted he could drive and not fall asleep if I wanted to leave later in the evening. He said he preferred driving at night in fact. It made him feel safer. He was a little weird like that.
At about 11:30 we were still a couple hours away, and I was getting tired. I looked over at Cole and said, “Hey do you mind if I nap? Will you be too scared?”
“What are you talking about?” He asked, chuckling
“Well… I want to sleep but it’s creepy driving at night. No lights around us, it’s basically just us and the big dark empty world…”
He looked at me and smiled,
“I’ll be fine Addie” he said. “Go to sleep.”
I grabbed my pillow out of the backseat and set it up against the window and then laid my head down on it facing the window. Suddenly, a movement caught my eye.
My head jerked up and I gasped.
“Cole! There was something outside of the window!”
“Yeah, it’s probably a deer. They hang out near the road at night, the assholes.”
“It’s not a deer!” I exasperated “It was a dog or something.”
He glanced over at me and then concentrated on driving.
“Babe you’re tired. Try to get some rest.”
Fine. Don’t believe me. I thought. I laid my head back down and closed my eyes.
* * *
A little while later I was jolted awake by the car spinning in a circle. Cole was holding on to the steering wheel and shouting while trying to get it under control. The car flipped and suddenly everything seemed to be in slow motion. I could feel my head slam against the dashboard, and watched as Cole hit his forehead on the steering wheel. When we came back around I could see someone on the side of the road, standing and watching us. We flipped one more time and ended up upside down off the side of the road.
All I could think about was how bad my head hurt and body hurt. I could feel dripping down my forehead into my hair, and lifted my hand up. It came away with blood.
“Cole?” I wheezed. “Baby are you okay?”
I looked over and saw that he was unconscious. I reached down to unbuckle my seatbelt and fell to the roof of the car. As gingerly as I could to avoid the glass from the windshield I scooted over to Cole. He had a gash in his forehead and his fingers were cut up.
I reached over to his seat belt with one hand and unbuckled it, while the other supported his head. He fell into my arms.
“Oh babe we have to get you out of here.” I whispered.
I left him laying on the roof of the car and went to my window. Somehow it had survived the crash and was still shut. I kicked at it a few times to try and break it, but that didn’t do anything. Shit.I thought. I’m going to have to go out the windshield.
Just as I had put my fingers in the top of the windshield space, I heard a movement in the bushes next to the car. I glanced up just in time to see something run the opposite direction of the car.
“Hey!” I shouted. “We need help!” I pulled myself up out of the car and cut my legs up pretty badly in the process. As I stood up vertigo hit me, so I put my head in my hands and stayed there for a minute. Eventually I got all the way up straight, and took a couple of deep breaths. It took me a few minutes to focus on my surroundings because it was so dark, but eventually my eyes adjusted. What was that? I decided to try and call them again.
“Hey buddy!” I yelled. As soon as I did the air around me got abruptly cold, and I had a bad feeling about being where I was. I decided now was a good time to pull Cole out and try and wake him up. As I crouched down and peered into the car, I could see Cole right where I left him. I reached in the car to grab under his arms when I noticed someone peering in the rear windshield. “Holy shit!” I exclaimed as I jumped away.
When I stood up though, no one was there. I crouched back down and looked again, and saw nothing. Weird. I must have hit my head pretty hard. I was able then to grab Cole and drag him out of the car onto the grass.
I tried in vain to wake him up, but nothing worked. So I put my two fingers to his wrist and checked his pulse. Luckily his heart was still beating.
“Come on babe…” I whispered. “I’m so scared.” I could see my breath coming out in smoky tendrils against the dark of the bushes it was so cold. I looked back down at Cole and could see he was gingerly opening his eyes.
“Cole! You’re okay!” I cried out. “How are you feeling? What happened?”
He looked at me and tried to sit up but failed, so I put my arm around him and helped him up. He looked around and then put a hand to his forehead.
“Damn babe. My head hurts.” He said.
“Yeah I could imagine. You smacked it against the steering wheel pretty hard. What happened?” I asked again.
“Well you had just fallen asleep, and I was thinking about being home. And then I dunno. Suddenly I started thinking about this dog you said you saw. I looked over at you to see how you were sleeping, and when I looked back there was a dog standing in the road.. but it… it kind of had a human face.”
The more I thought about that, the more goosebumps I got.
“That’s weird.” I said. “I keep seeing something running around watching us. I swear I heard it run away a couple of minutes ago before I got you out.”
He looked at me then shook his head.
“That is weird… and creepy. We should call an ambulance.”
“My phone was charging,” I stated. “Lemme grab it.”
I got back down on my hands and knees and looked into the car. My phone was still attached to the cord, but it was hanging down and the screen was shattered.
“Of course.” I mumbled.
“What babe?” I head Cole ask.
“Oh nothing. My phone’s screen is broken. Our car is totaled. The usual.”
I could hear the smile in his voice as he said, “Well your phone was done for the moment it became your phone.” Leave it to him to find some humor in our situation.
As I reached up to unplug the phone and unlock it, I heard him gasp.
Half in the car, half out I heard him yell, “ADDIE look ou…”. I looked back over my shoulder and saw him slump to the ground.
“COLE!” I screamed. All of a sudden I felt someone grab my legs and I was pulled out of the car. I flipped around to see who my attacker was, and then everything went black.
When I came to I could tell it was dark outside. I kept my eyes closed while I let my other senses explore where I was. I was laying on something sort of soft, but mostly scratchy. I could smell manure and rain. I opened one eye and looked around. I was in a big wooden box… no… I was in a stall in a barn. I sat up and immediately regretted it. I felt like I was going to be sick any minute, and my head was pounding. I reached up to touch my head and found a huge gash on the corner of my hairline.
I pulled myself into a crouch and tried to look up over the wood stall door. As my eyes adjusted to the light I could see various tools on the walls. I spotted a big scythe that sent a chill down my spine. I noted that there were no animals in any of the other stalls, and that there was a hayloft above the door of the barn. My eyes tracked from there to the door – which was open and moonlight was streaming in. When I focused better I saw a figure strung up in the stall doorway next to the door. COLE!
As soon as I saw him I saw another tall, doglike figure walk towards him. It had it’s back turned towards me and was black – blacker than anything. By this time my eyes were adjusted so I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t have any significant features. It stood up on it’s hind quarters, reached out and touched it’s snout to Cole’s forehead. Suddenly there was a bang on the other side of the barn. I was up for just long enough to see the black figure just disappear before I crouched low to the ground. What the hell?
I pressed myself against the back of the stall and tried to look through a small crack at Cole and tried to figure out what was going on. There was another bang and footsteps walking toward Cole. A giant, towering figure reached him and bent over. It was there for a minute before turning around to look at the wall. When I did that, I got a look at his face. It was a man. Big, burly and mean looking. His face had a dark beard and his eyes were so bloodshot that it looked like he didn’t have any whites – just blackness. He was wearing a ratty old button up shirt and a pair of dirty denim overalls. But that was where his human features ended. His face was grossly morphed so it looked like he had no nose or cheekbones. His smear of a mouth was held open to show that he only had two teeth on top and one on the bottom – and there was what looked like blood and dirt all over his face.
As I sat staring at this man, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw the black creature crouched behind me. The only distinctive feature were gentle eyes that were a little bit lighter than the rest of it. You could tell it was a wolf though. I drew in a gasp to scream but it shook it’s head and the solemn look on it’s face stopped me. Curiosity and fear plagued me. What is this? I thought.
At that moment the wolf pressed it’s snout to my hand and licked me. What in the world? I wondered. The wolf wagged its tail and looked up at me with doleful eyes – and then looked at Cole.
“We have to save him” I whispered as quietly as possible. I swear to this day the wolf smiled at me, and nodded.
Alright. So how do I start? I looked back at where Cole was strung up and noticed the man now had some lethal looking sharp object. I had no time to do anything else, so I burst out of the of the stall and ran towards the man.
This was a mistake though, because I was still dizzy. I stumbled and fell right in front of him and he turned around with what I now realized was a long knife drawn. Looking down at me he made a grunting noise and went to bring the knife down right on my head – but the wolf stopped him.
It jumped right at his arm and bit down, growling. He stumbled around, trying to get the wolf off of his arm. This gave me enough time to get up and get to Cole, who was coming to.
“Babe.. help” he whispered, tears running down his face.
I noticed little scratches on his face and a large cut across his chest.
“Give me just a sec.” I whispered back. I started at the knots around his wrist, and eventually got him free. Pulling his arm around my neck I walked him to the door of the barn.
The man and wolf were no where in sight.
“Babe we’ve gotta find a way out of here.”
I walked him to towards the old farmhouse that was near the barn. There weren’t any vehicles, so I had no idea what means we were going to use to escape. Suddenly, I heard a howl.
Back in the barn, I helped Cole climb up the ladder to the hayloft. I wasn’t sure if the howl was a warning or one of defeat, but I wasn’t about to take the chance on either. I got him up the ladder and behind some hay bales and looked at him. He was a little worse for the wear – but no broken bones. However he was starting to drift off to sleep.
“COLE.” I whispered as loudly as I could. “You can’t fall asleep. You could have a concussion.”
He blinked up at me in surprise and nodded.
“I didn’t think about that.”
I sat down next to him and started thinking. We needed to find a way out of here… but I couldn’t hide and run with Cole, because he was to disoriented and tired – and I couldn’t risk him falling asleep. I needed some way to get him out of there.
At that moment I heard a quiet “boof” below me. I crawled to the edge of the loft and looked down. The wolf was looking up at me, it’s tail wagging slowly. I had an idea.
“Is the coast clear?” I asked. The wolf’s tail wagged a little harder.
“Just a second.” I didn’t question how a wild animal knew what I was saying (or why I assumed it did) but I didn’t have any other options at this point.
I crawled back to where Cole was studying the coagulated wound on his chest.
“Cole.. baby.. this is going to sound crazy, but you are going to ride a wolf.”
He looked over at me and his eyes narrowed. “Now who has the concussion?”
“Babe, I’m serious.” I pleaded. “I know it sounds crazy but there is this wolf that is like.. protecting us.. and I think it can get us out of here.”
His eyebrows raised even higher and I was worried he’d decline, but then he shrugged and pulled himself into a crouch.
“Let’s go” he muttered.
We went down the ladder (I went first so I could support him should he need it” and Cole bent down for a second.
“Man my head hurts.” He complained.
I looked at the wolf and realized it was watching Cole intently.. hmm. okay? I thought to myself. Slowly it walked over to him and starting licking his hand. He stood up slowly and looked at it, and then put one arm on its back to support himself. At that moment I realized how big the wolf actually was.
Wolf and man started trotting off and I called “hey!”
They stopped and turned around to face me, and then the Wolf looked back in the direction it was headed. Cole whispered,
“Babe just follow it. I think it knows where it is going.”
I hesitated, but then heard groaning behind the barn.
“Quickly!” I whispered.
The three of us took off into the night.
TO BE CONTINUED