Tag Archives: Road

Apparition Taxi

 

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Music crooning softly, Samuel Walters continued his journey west. The truck headlights slicing through the darkness of the cool, summer night. His left arm hung out the window. Right thumb tapping the steering wheel in time with the old rock ‘n’ roll.

He drove this road every night on his way home from work. And he enjoyed every second of it. Typically, he was the only driver at this time.

The beat up work truck rose and fell with the road as it moved with the uneven land.

One particular dip took him through a blanket of fog. His hand outstretched to feel as much of the cooler air as possible. He smiled. Once the truck emerged out the other side, he checked the rear view mirror. Glanced over his shoulder. “Did we pick up any hitchhikers?”

Nothing answered him save for the tires crunching on the worn asphalt.

This had gone on for a year and continued for another month. Windows down, arm slung out, music playing, enjoying life. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then he drove through the dip filled with fog. Checked the rear view mirror again and looked over his shoulder at the bed of the pick-up. “Did we pick up any hitchhikers?”

“Yeah.”

Samuel glanced at the passenger seat. Staring down the ghostly barrel of a 1930s Tommy Gun. He couldn’t help but smile.

The apparition tried pressing the gun at the driver. Frowned when it phased through him. “I need ya to take me somewhere.”

His foot came off the pedal so he wouldn’t miss any possible turns. “Anywhere you like.”

“Gang’s held up at the Thompson Cemetery. They’re supposed to be puttin’ holes in a guy who crossed us. Take me there, and I’ll let ya walk another day.”

“Sure thing, Boss.” Samuel made a left at the next intersection. Wove through the country roads with the ghost riding shotgun. Dropped the passenger off at the cemetery. Shook his head when the ethereal gangster phased through the mausoleum.

The next few nights proved uneventful. Then he picked up the ghost of an 1800s woman who wanted to visit the orchard. The following night was the ghost of a lady from the 1950s who babbled about window shopping. The next night found him hauling the spirits of a family in the bed of his pick-up, taking them back to their farm. Then the spook of a fisherman who demanded to be driven to the lake.

On and on, it went. Every single night.

Even when the weather didn’t allow for natural fog, there would always be a cloud of it at the bottom of the seventh–and deepest–dip on his way home. Many of the apparitions returned for pleasant chatter, recalling how they died. Some, he helped to their final resting place.

But the ever-present one was the mobster named Charlie. Charlie never had a lot to say, and he always wanted to be taken to the Thompson Cemetery.

It had been six months since Samuel Walters first picked up Charlie. And when Charlie entered the truck tonight, Samuel came to a stop in the middle of the road.

The ghost turned to him, his form flickering. “Why ain’t you takin’ me to the cemetery?”

Samuel sighed. “None of the other phantoms repeat the same request over and over. Yet, you do. That mausoleum isn’t your final resting place, is it? And don’t go on about that gang of yours, because I know they’ve already passed on.”

Charlie remained quiet for some time. “Why weren’t you scared of me when I first appeared to you?”

He shrugged. “I’m an easy-going kinda guy. But you’re not evading this. Tell me what’s going on, so I can help you find peace.”

The apparition flickered some more, going in and out of focus. “The gang isn’t held up there. It’s someone else. My girl, Loraine. Her spirit left a long time ago, but I still like to visit her.”

Samuel softened. “Then why don’t you be with her?”

“I can’t. My body is at the bottom of the lake. They thought I stole some money, so they tied a bag of bricks on me. Let me sink to the bottom. I never took any money.”

He put the truck back in drive. Headed to his house. “Then let’s get you back. So you can be with Loraine.”

Once at his home, he went into action, hitching up his boat and grabbing the materials required. The night was still young, and he had more than enough time to exhume a body. It was the only time he was thankful he lived alone. That way, he wouldn’t disturb anyone in the middle of the night.

The old pick-up was driven like it hadn’t been driven in years. The john boat in tow. But he made it to the lake in record time. Once the boat was in the water, Charlie guided the still-living to the part where his body was dumped all those years ago.

It didn’t take long for Samuel to bag the remains and haul them into the boat. Nor to hitch it back up. The trash bag of soaked bones rattled around in the truck bed as the pair traveled to Thompson Cemetery in silence.

And it was actually Samuel who placed the remains in an available space next to Loraine’s coffin, while Charlie remained in the truck. When the living man returned, the ghost hovered. “It’s done?”

“Go be with your girl, Boss.”

The ethereal mobster flickered for a few moments. Nodded his thanks and phased through the mausoleum.

Samuel Walters couldn’t help but smile. He knew it was the last time he’d see Charlie. But he was pleased the spirit finally found rest. His trusty pick-up carried him home. With music playing low and windows rolled down. Waiting until the next night when he could escort another ghost around town.

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One Foggy Morning

It was a summer morning like any other; except the metropolitan area was covered in fog. But that was to be expected. It had rained the night before, and the temperature dropped nearly ten degrees. Nobody’s routines were deterred because of the natural phenomenon.

Alex woke up at five that morning. Just like every weekday morning. Went through her ritual of ┬ábeing ready in ten minutes. It took twenty minutes for her to get to work, and she planned her morning so she could get as much sleep as possible. Traffic never bothered her. There weren’t many who traveled along the same road that early.

She pulled her double-knotted laces tight, grabbed her water bottle and morning snack, plucked her keys off the table, and pecked her husband on the cheek. Trotted down the stairs of her split level and into the garage. She was running two minutes late in a schedule accounting for every minute.

The Wrangler roared to life, the straight six engine awoken from slumber. Alex maneuvered out of her subdivision with ease. Despite the fog. Thanking Jeeps for fog lamps.

On the main stretch of road that took her straight to her job, she had to pay more attention. There were dips in the landscape where the fog gathered thickly. She looked up at the sky. No sun could be seen. Sure, it was early, but the sun should’ve been peeking over the horizon line by now. The fog and clouded over sky blended into one.

Alex shrugged it off and continued. Further ahead, the sky did decide to clear, revealing multiple cloud patterns against a pastel sky. She loved nature. Admiring the skyscape until a particular vapor trail snagged her attention. It went straight up into the atmosphere until she couldn’t see it anymore.

Again, she shrugged it off. Just her perception messing with her from the airport about forty miles east. The sky disappeared again. Her thumbs tapped the steering wheel as a random tune played in her mind. Vision going out of focus momentarily.

Red lights appeared in front of her, and she hit the brakes, slowing at a stoplight. She blinked and looked around. The fog had engulfed everything. She could barely make out the rival gas stations occupying opposite corners. Barely made out the stoplight itself. When the light turned green, she continued at the speed limit. Versus the ten miles an hour over she normally did.

After two minutes of silence, the ground lurched beneath her, and a loud bang followed. Causing her to mount the curb in a mad dash for safety. White fingers gripped the steering wheel. Her wide eyes checked the rear view mirrors. The road was still there.

A distant roar thundered toward her. She ducked and covered her head as a shock wave exploded the glass from her Jeep. Ears ringing, she slowly sat back up. Shards falling from her. She swallowed. Eyes examining the area. What on Earth?

She searched the Wrangler. Eased it back on the road. The fog had been replaced with equally dense smoke. Crawling at a snail’s pace, she moved further down the road. A few cars were deserted. Abandoned in precarious places. Some people stood in groups while others sat on the side of the road in despair.

A fire truck flew by her. Then another. Cop cars, ambulances. All from separate jurisdictions. Alex remained pulled over on the shoulder now. Studying the horizon. It glowed. Faintly. But enough.

Her wonder was startled by a man throwing himself against the front of her Jeep. His clothes were tattered, burned, dusty. His eyes almost popped out from his skull. He waved an arm. “Get out of here! Go! Don’t you know what this is? It’s the end times! A missile has struck! Leave or die!” He disappeared back into the curtain of smoke.

Alex watched him run off. A missile? She sat in disbelief for a few moments. Threw the shifter in drive and forced the Wrangler around. Flying down the forty miles per hour road at eighty. Work was out of the question. Her jaw set. She needed to get back to her husband.

It hadn’t even been twenty minutes, and everything changed. She glanced at the rear view mirror again. Who knew what would be revealed when the smoke and fog cleared.


Swift Winds

A clock chimed the lonely hour
While I found myself in a tower
Looking down below
Dragons, their teeth did they show
Swift winds and there I went
While the world shook and bent

Bells tolled their tune
While I found myself on a dune
Looking around, nothing I saw
Except the sand opening a jaw
Swift winds and there I went
While the world shook and bent

Croaking came from a toad
While I found myself on a road
Looking side to side, I saw a ghost town
Phantoms coming to devour me down
Swift winds and there I went
While the world shook and bent

Singing came from afar
While I found myself on a bar
Looking around, what did I see
A siren calling my death to me
Swift winds and there I went
While the world shook and bent

Looking around, I was found dumb
Because my time had not actually come
Swift winds and there I went
While the world shook and bent

*Author’s Note: I pulled this one out of the archives. Back in middle school, I loved learning about Edgar Allen Poe. I created this then, inspired by his work. I had thought this seemed similar to his creations. Now, I read this and chuckle to myself.


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