Prompt: You are driving and see a dark shadowy figure hunched over the side of the road.
|It had been a long day; work seemed to go on forever today. I am a checker at a grocery store and against all odds I even enjoy it there. My coworkers with have become friends over the past two years, and I do my job well, but some days are just slow. Today was one of those days and I was ready to finally be home and relax for a while. At home I knew I would find my two dogs eagerly awaiting my arrival and thereby, the arrival of their dinner. The couch and a book, or maybe some television, were calling to me and I was impatient to just sit down with my dogs and know I was done for the day.
I was heading up a long stretch of road where there was nothing but trees and streetlights surrounding the road, my least favorite part of the drive. The road had several gentle curves it followed, and went up and then back down a small hill. At night, it was very dark, even with the streetlamps. Except on the nights we were graced with a full moon. Unfortunately, tonight the moon wasn’t full it was the exact opposite. Without the bright light of the moon, this part of the drive was discomforting. I always felt like if something bad where to happen this was the place for it. As I took the first of several turns, I saw something standing in the shoulder of the road. Even though it was foggy, I switched my headlights to bright in an attempt to see better. Leaning over the steering wheel, I squinted until the figure came into focus better. The figure was shadowy; he appeared shrouded in some sort of robes. Although I could hardly see through the fog and in the dark, I could see the outline clearly enough to tell this figure was hunched over, although I had no idea why.
I knew I shouldn’t stop, not for someone I don’t know, especially not at night. How could I just go by? That’s what I always do. Get scared and go past any sort of new experience because of it. This time I’ll stop. This time I’ll have a new experience to share with someone. The night was foggy, but the figure stood out clearly through the fog when my headlights swept across him. He was hunched over; it looked like he was in pain. Hitting the brakes and pulling over slightly I rolled down the passenger side window, “Excuse me?” I called out, but the figure didn’t move, “Sir, I think, are you a sir? Do you need help?” The figure remained still and not knowing what else to do, so did I. I could hear his breathing. I could hear my heart beating. But that was all I heard. Unsure of how to approach the situation I considered my options. I could drive off, I had offered help, tried to get his attention, but he offered no response. I could get out of the car, he could be deaf, or in too much pain to respond, I could call an ambulance, or the police. Alternatively, I could get out of the car, real quick, just pop out and see if there was anything wrong with him. I had started drumming my fingers on the steering wheel as I turned my choices around in my head. He didn’t seem to be an immediate threat, but he could be sick or hurt. He was still hunched over after all. I probably wouldn’t get hurt if I got out of the car and just checked up him, real quick, maybe two seconds. I knew I shouldn’t get out. It was borrowing trouble. I also knew if I didn’t get out I would wonder and worry about this person for the rest of the night. What if I woke up tomorrow morning and heard about him in the news? What if he died because I was too selfish and afraid to stop?
There was a flashlight in the console and I dug it out. Too bad it was cheap plastic and not metal, I would feel much better if the flashlight served a dual purpose as I weapon. I tried to appear calm even though I was terrified. After a deep breath, I felt no less scared, but a little lightheaded. I yanked on the latch to open my car door and got out before I could lose the nerve. He was on the other side of the car, by the passenger’s side; I shut my door behind me and walked over briskly, pretending I felt confident and unafraid. “Excuse me, sir?” I began again, as I approached he still didn’t respond just stood there with that weird hunching stance. I flicked the flashlight on and shone it in his direction; finally, I got a response of some kind. His head turned towards me quickly. His hands jolted up to cover his face from the light. I still couldn’t see him that well, he was wearing dark robes, they looked black, and his head was covered with a hood. His skin was very pale and grimy, it looked off somehow, he looked off somehow. Even without the hunch he would have looked wrong. “I’m sorry; I just wanted to see if you were alright.” I said, quickly moving the flashlight beam away from his face. My racing heart felt like it would beat its way right out of my chest. He was fine so I was leaving. I turned and started to run back to my car. Two steps into running something leapt on my back and down I went. Losing consciousness before I even hit the ground.