by Hugh Wesley
Careful who you flag down -- or stop for.
|“That’s a good way to get yourself hit, mister.” It was a man’s voice. Tall headlights swallowed his face.
“I’m sorry,” Craig said, moving around to the side of the pickup. “But I need help. I have a flat tire, and I have an interview first thing in the morning in Paytonville.”
“Paytonville? Are you insane? That’s more than eight hours away.”
“That’s why I’m in a hurry.” Craig moved a bit closer. “Can you help me?”
“Look, mister, I see that you’re some sort of city slicker, but us dumb country folks have things going on, too. Maybe I’m in a hurry.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. But I really could use a hand if you have the time.”
“Lemme guess … you’ve never changed a tire before, have you?”
Craig’s face flushed. “I’m a programmer. Never been much for physical work.”
“Uh-huh.” The man put the truck in gear. “I’ll pull over and then come change it for you.”
“Trouble is,” Craig said, “there’s no spare.”
The man in the truck grinned a knowing smile, ghoulish in the dashboard lights “Rental car, right? Didn’t even bother to pony up for the spare tire.”
“I guess not.”
“Well, there’s not much I can do for you, then.” The man started to drive away, but Craig jumped in front of the truck again. The local slammed on his brakes and jumped out of the cab. He stomped toward Craig, anger growing with each step.
A single moonbeam splashed to the ground between them. Finally … the clouds were clearing.
Craig felt the old familiar, terrible itching and tingling. He ran his tongue over suddenly jagged teeth.
Country folks were the best. You could almost always get them to stop for you, and they weren’t afraid of anything.
Not even a full moon.