A Bump in the Night 

The road thru the woods was the greatest piece of asphalt ever laid down.  It’s curves hugged the edge of hills, it’s rolls dropped forty to fifty feet at a time.   Tunnels of trees lined long stretches with hints of fog that creep out on still nights.

It’s one of the nights.   There is no breeze.   Ghosts of fog slowly twist and raise.   Spirits of mist dance between the trees, occasional cruising over the road drifting aimlessly.   The night is alive.   Critters bravely scurry under it’s warm blanket.

Shooting like an arrow.  A dash of silver splits the fog.   Rolling 70 mph, careening out of turns.  It’s engine tearing at the pavement.   The woods. .. oh the open road..  The first dip. .. The car floats above. .  Bouncing a soft landing.   A bigger drop awaits. .  Engine peaks… speeds clear 100…  The car drifts in the air.  The edge reaches and grabs tire.   The car disappears in the fog. Hard braking and landing. The car bounces but comes back to middle of the road.

With a flash of brown, and a loud thud. Julia’s night has changed course.

It’s her first new car.   The damage is just awful.  Her silver arrow more had a broken noise! Julia must figure out how to explain this.  Her new baby crushed.

  She screamed once, then twice.  Stomped her three inch heels, snapping one in the process.

“Oh Julia.   We talked about you getting that car.   I thought it was too much power for you.  I’m so glad you didn’t kill yourself. ..” She mocked the voice that would tell her how bad it was.   She cried a little.   Uttered some more semi coherent phases.  She once more limped around here vehicle on one broken heel
She kicked the object responsible.  Then again. Then again.

“Aaaahhhhh, my shoes are ruined.   My car is ruined. What is wrong with you?!”  She terse voice looks for something to blame here.

“Ok calm down Julia.  You got to call. Get it over with.   He’ll come get you. Make you feel loosy about it.   Then he’ll fix the GOD DAMN PIECE OF SHIT CAR!” Talking to herself on isn’t working.  But the echo from the other side of fog is.  The echo chides her as well.

The Baxter freeway.  Road to nowhere. Expressway to avoid everyone.   Here she sits.   Staring at broken car.  One person there.  It’s really quiet.   Because there’s no cell phone service.

Gulp.   The body in front of the car is no longer in front of the car.   Julia thinks to herself.   Maybe it wasn’t an animal at all.   That’s right it’s a shadow.   Could of been a deer. … bounced off to the side.   It happen fast.   Surely nothing could have walked off with the damage to the car.

The fog that was thick parts showing the rock wall keeping cars from falling down forty foot drop. Tree tops stand very dirty on front of her. The full moon casts their shadow at her.   The birds of fog dance in the moon’s glow.

“It would be so beautiful. ….”

Her thoughts and voice cut short.  There’s a figure kind of sitting on the rocks.  Engulfed by shadow but it’s there.   She can feel it.   It can feel her too.

“Oh god, it’s not dead.   I need to know what it is.   Why is it just sitting there?” She whispers.  She half crouches and leans toward her companion still thirty plus feet away.  Her heart beating like bingo drums in her ears.  She stands frozen for a minute or half hour. Time has all about stopped.

She checks her phone. No signal!   She walks backwards to car. Her eyes on that dark shape.   Her mind finds what looks like legs but not quite right.   Are they human? Not quite right.  Are they animal? Just a little too thick.   She looking for movement.   Hoping for no movement.   Her hand feels the car behind her. The sharp edge of bent nose pricks her finger.  Slow warm blood drops from those manicured nails.

Then it happens.   The thing in shadow moves.   It’s stretching to upright itself.   The fog rolls up from the side of road.   In a flash she thinks it stands on two legs but didn’t seem like a person. The moon light fades beneath the fog.   Darkness and headlights.   No creature.  Julia is now in the car with a very loud door slam.

“Calm down girl.   It’s alive.  See you didn’t kill anything. ..  But the car. ..  I wish I could see it.   That fog covered everything.  Oh no what’s that sound?”

There is a single sound piercing the fog.   It could be a howl.   It could have been a scream.   It didn’t sound hurt.

From the corner of her eye, comes movement.  A flash of brown.   Then the window shatters. A clawed hand grabs her by the hair.   Screaming replaces breathing.   She fights off the first wave. Then a second.   It leaves her sitting.   Alone. Sitting. Dark road. It’s going to be a long night.

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