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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Thriller/Suspense · #852648
A nightmare I've had for 25 years or so.
         It's the same every time. It's deep in the night when the darkness coats everything with inky, smothering blackness. I'm driving down a straight road lined with dark looming trees on both sides. Each side of the road has a large deep ditch for siphoning rainwater from the road. My headlights create a lit tunnel through the groping branches of the trees above and I hurtle through the arched darkness with a speed I have no control over.

         My foot is on the gas, but I'm completely unable to move it. I keep checking the ditch..left...then right...then left again, looking for a twin set of reflections warning me of impending danger. My hands grip the wheel unnaturally hard. I fly through the tunnel further.

         Suddenly the trees start to fall away and the sides of the road open up into fields. Nameless crops behind barbed wire fences stand sentinel on the far sides of the ditches. I fly along and keep my vigil at the sides of the road. Left, right..then left again.

         My heart rate increases. I can hear it beat in my ears, thumping fear, and pumping adrenaline into my veins. Thump, Thump, Thump. In the lower edge of my vision I can see my chest heaving with the breath of doom. My throat tightens on an unspent scream. I continue firing down the road like a rocket.

         Suddenly, while I'm scanning the horizon at the edge of my headlight beam, I see it! Two tiny green reflections, standing on the far side of the ditch, up ahead on the right. Ohhh! I knew they would be there. They wink out and reflect again from the close side of the ditch as I press on, closer and closer. I try to loosen my grip and widen the distance between my two hands on the wheel. To no avail, they're glued to the wheel, white-knuckling it closer and closer.

         Once again the eye reflections wink out and relight at the edge of the road. My heart beats even faster and I can feel the perspiration sliding down my back. The road still flies under my wheels. I'm within 100 yards of it, my jaw is clenched, my teeth grind together.

         I can see the outline now, silhouetted squarely in moonlight behind the twin orbs of light. It is standing on the gravel emergency lane. I'm panting a prayer that it won't step into the road. Please, please, please let me pass it. I'm getting closer. My hands are numb on the wheel, unable to turn either way. I find my leg wooden and unyielding. I can't lift my foot from the gas. I struggle, fighting with my uncooperative body.

         Just as I approach it, the unthinkable happens. It leaps up onto the road! I throw my head back and it connects with the headrest. My leg stiffens but I can't get on the brake. I loom up closer and closer to the deer. My elbows lock, I begin to brace for a collision. Nearing impact, I realize that the animal is to the left of the car. I might miss it. For a moment, my paralysis releases. I start to relax.

         But no, as I bear down on it, it looms up over the hood and shoots right toward the windshield. My mouth is wide open in silent horror. I brace my arms on the steering wheel. As the animal comes within inches of contact with the windshield, the head of the deer turns into the face of a man and I scream.

         I wake with the scream still on my lips.

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