September’s theme is On The Road. Both stories involve the road in some form. In Four Lanes an accident has a mysterious effect on the man and woman involved. In Mile Marker 13 a strange passenger seems hellbent on terrifying the man stuck driving.
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Four Lanes – Jessica Wren
When Ashleigh Owens runs into the path of Chris Sterling’s 18-wheeler truck the two form an unbreakable link that transcends the barrier between the dead and the living.
I couldn’t stop in time. There was no way I could stop in time. Chris Sterling repeated this morbid mantra every time Ashleigh Owens appeared in his mind’s eye. She always appeared just as he last saw her. As the image of her last seconds alive came to him with increasing frequency, her face became clearer in his mind.
An eighteen-wheeler can’t stop in a split-second. He could tell she had once been pretty, but had the haggard face of a person for whom harshness of life had taken its toll. When she’d looked up at him, her mouth turned up in an eerily peaceful smile just before the truck he was driving collided with her small, thin body. He had watched in horror as she ran across two westbound lanes, somehow dodging other vehicles. Chris desperately tried to apply the brakes, but to no avail. Ashleigh stopped suddenly—Chris remembered wondering how she had stopped so suddenly from a full sprint—stood in the middle of the left eastbound lane, and turned to face the oncoming log truck. Her body landed about twenty feet away on the shoulder of the highway.
Chris knew that he would relive that sickening impact every single night for the rest of life…..
Mile Marker 13 – Ian Williams
A night time drive turns into a terrifying journey.
An unlit road full of winding turns and brooding hills lay ahead of Danny as he turned off the motorway at 2am. The rain was coming down in dense sheets and visibility had been reduced to less than two car lengths ahead of him. Despite switching his headlights on to full-beam he could barely see a thing.
His journey had started four hours earlier and he still had another three hours to go. Within that time the roads had begun to blur into one long stretch of tarmac. Leaving the main motorway had helped break the monotony for a short while. But soon it became clear that his concentration was waning again.
Turn after turn, he watched as the lines on the road ventured closer to his wheels. They were teasing him, drawing him near, only to push him away again. His grip on the steering wheel tightened each time he fought to stay on the road. It was a dangerous game to play. If he lost just one round, he would end up in a ditch.
The moment his eyelids fell shut for the first time he knew he was in real trouble…..
From the Mayhem, Madness and Mirth team