Unknown things lurk in the dark.
It was one of those nights.
The fog hovered in the air like a curtain waiting to rise on a show I would never forget.
Being called in to work early on three hours sleep was bad enough. Driving through fog that is so thick you can feel it holding back the car makes for an interesting morning.
Maybe listening to Metallica's ‘All Nightmare Long’ at three A.M. wasn’t the best choice.
I never saw the deer running straight towards me. It wasn’t until it was right beside my car that I noticed it. It startled me so badly that I swerved to miss it and ended up on a side road I’d never driven on or even seen before. I hadn’t gone far before I calmed down and realized I had made a wrong turn. I stopped in front of a road sign that mesmerized me.
It had once been a standard deer crossing sign, the one with the silhouetted buck leaping in the air. However, this one had been modified by a talented artist. The painted additions had made the deer enormous, bigger than a moose. It also had a mouthful of shark-like teeth, a spiked tail, and glowing red eyes.
The sight of this fanciful creature should’ve made me laugh, but it chilled me to the bone. I immediately did a three point turn and floored it. I made it maybe a hundred yards. My front tire, which wasn’t in the greatest shape, gave in to the stress and had a catastrophic blowout. This, plus my speed, sent me careening off the road and into a deep ravine. At least that’s where I woke up, in a deep ravine.
I willed my blurry eyes to clear, and was immediately sorry I had. Every window was shattered, tree limbs shot this way and that all through the car’s interior. It looked like the love child of an Ent and a Buick.
My seatbelt held me fast in my seat, and the deflated airbag laid out before me like a miniature blanket of snow. I leaned forward and was twice rewarded. The first was pain. My chest and arms felt like they were on fire.
The second was the realization that I wasn’t on the ground. The car creaked and groaned when I moved. My demolished car stood straight up, resting precariously on a large tree limb.
I couldn’t see how far it was to the bottom because of the same fog that got me into this predicament.
Okay, this is bad. I can’t even hope for help. No one would ever see me down here.
To keep myself calm, I did some physical assessment, starting at the feet.
Toes wiggle, that’s good. Right leg bends, left leg Oh my God!
I’m gonna call feeling like I’ve been stabbed by a thousand knives, ‘bad’.
I leaned forward just enough to see my leg. My pants were covered in blood. I tried to reach the wound, but stopped when the branch made a cracking sound.
Okay, we’ll come back to that. Moving on, lower abdomen seems okay, my ribs feel like they’re the main course at a bar-be-que, and my arms shoot daggers every time I try to move them.
The most disturbing part of all this is the lack of blood on my shirt.
Okay, end assessment, possible broken leg, possible broken ribs, possible internal bleeding. Car destroyed, hanging precariously in a tree that could give out and send me falling to my death at any minute. Low possibility of rescue due to early morning hour, fog, and being out of sight of the road.
So, essentially, I’m dead.
The worst part of all of this was being alone with my thoughts, knowing that death was on its way, and there was nothing I could do about it.
All these thoughts disappeared as a slight breeze made the hair on my neck stand on end, and I heard a low rumble.
I slowly turned to face the noise and wondered if I was hallucinating.
Out of the fog I saw two huge red orbs coming steadily towards me. As they approached I could see they were attached to a monstrosity. The creature stopped right beside the car.
The artist didn’t do it justice.
My breathing became rapid and shallow as my heart jackhammered in my chest.
Its glowing red eyes were the size of basketballs. Its teeth looked like they came straight out of the shark from ‘Jaws’. Its claws were as long as hunting knives.
I stifled a scream as my injuries were forgotten.
The huge red eyes were so close I could feel the warmth coming off of them.
It stared at me.
Don’t move. Don’t breathe. Don't think.
It ripped the door off the car and inhaled as if sniffing me.
It backed out then grabbed the car and shook it out of the tree until it toppled over onto its roof.
The roof collapsed from the weight, and missed crushing my head by mere inches. I nearly lost consciousness from the agonizing pain as I hung upside from my seatbelt strapped across my broken ribs.
The car began to move. Metal protested as it was dragged through the woods.
Oh no, It’s taking me back to its cave.
I tried to reach the seat belt release but the pain was too great. I was being dragged helplessly to my death. For what seemed like eternity this ride from hell taught me the meaning of pain. Every bump and jostle was a new lesson. The metal screeched in protest as the car finally stopped.
The creature sniffed me again.
“Go ahead, eat me,” I screamed. “I hope I give you indigestion!”
The red orbs stared at me for a moment longer, then suddenly disappeared.
What game is this now?
Finally, mercifully, my mind led me into blissful unconsciousness.
At least I won’t feel it.
The last thing I remembered seeing was little black rocks.
Alright, I’m up already.
I reached for my alarm clock, but it wasn’t there. In fact, my bedroom wasn’t there either. I woke to incessant beeps pounding my aching head. I looked around the white room at the machines that kept me alive. My eyes settled on the man in uniform standing at the foot of my bed, staring at me.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Good morning,” I rasp back.
“My name’s Sheriff Secrest. I realize this isn’t the best time, but I need to ask you a few questions about your accident.”
“From the skid marks on the road I figured you were doing at least eighty when your tire blew. Any reason you were going that fast?”
“Am I under arrest?”
The Sheriff studied me for a moment.
“No, you’re not under arrest. I’m just trying to figure out what happened.”
“I was scared,” I said barely above a whisper.
“Scared of what?”
“Of whatever was in the fog.”
“So, what was in the fog?”
I laid quiet for a long time. I wrestled with the implications of telling someone else what I saw. I wasn’t even sure myself.
The Sheriff seemed a little disappointed.
“So how did your car get out of the tree, dragged a hundred yards, and set on the side of a road?”
“I don’t know, Sheriff. I wish I had the answers for you, but I blacked out when I landed in that tree and woke up here.”
“And that’s all you remember?”
“Was there any wildlife around?”
“W-what do you mean, wildlife?”
“Oh, you know, squirrels, foxes, deer?” he said, emphasizing the last word.
“N-nothing that I saw, like I said, I blacked out.”
He closed his notebook.
“Thank you for your help. I hope you recover soon.”
“I hope so too.”
The Sheriff started for the door, stopped, turned back and looked into my eyes as if he desperately wanted to say something, then faltered and said, “You’re very lucky to be alive.”
Word count: 1442