Hell

May 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM

The estimated reading time for this post is 6 minutes, 47 seconds

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It’s late July. I’m driving around on the back roads in the forests of rural Alabama. It’s early evening and the sun is just beginning to set. The hot, humid air of the day has cooled down, and crickets are starting to chirp. A few small bats fly overhead, snatching mosquitoes and moths out of the air. My windows are rolled down and I’m enjoying the fresh air as my truck meanders down the crumbling asphalt road. I like taking these drives; they relax me and I have time think. I take them often and know the woods well. I look up at the clear sky; there isn’t a cloud in sight. A few stars twinkle to the east.

As the evening shifts to night, I decide to head back home. The air is tense and even more humid than before, and it feels like storm is coming. The deep rumble of thunder from many miles away reaches my ears, and the chatter of the woods lessens. The storm is far off, and I feel no rush to get home. I still have time to enjoy nature. The stars are beautiful.

A massive splat hits my windshield, and then another, and then another. I’m startled by the noise, and soon I am engulfed by a downpour of rain. I can’t see five feet in front of me, so I pull off to the side of the road, roll up my windows, and wait for the storm to pass. These showers usually last fifteen minutes, anyways. I’ll be out of here soon. I swear I could see the stars clear as glass only a minute before. I don’t dwell on it, though. Summer weather in Alabama is unpredictable. Lightning splits the sky above as I wait.

I am still sitting in my truck after an hour of heavy rain, and the storm shows no sign of letting up. Lightning pierces the cloud cover again, illuminating my surroundings. I can see about twenty feet in front of me for less than a second, and I get a glimpse of a figure at the perimeter of my field of vision. Darkness. The steady beat of rain on my truck continues. Another flash, and with no figure in sight. I’m tired now and starting to see things. This storm can’t last too much longer, but the sky keeps emptying itself upon me.

Not fifteen minutes later, my truck shifts in the ground, which is now made of mud. I am awoken from the light nap I had been taking and look around. The rain presses on, and the darkness is dense. I prop my elbow on the car door and rest my head in my hand, planning to try to get some more sleep. The car was just settling into the newly softened ground. It is impossible to see the sky.

The bed of my truck dips and slams into the ground, and the cab jumps into the air. My head flies forward and meets the steering wheel. As I lift my head up, the cab falls back to the soft earth and my head again hits the steering wheel. I do not know how long I am unconscious, but I wake up with a splitting headache, and my whole face feels wet. At first, I think the rain has somehow entered my truck, but the dark liquid on my steering wheel seems to be blood. I can’t think straight and sit still for a while, and then I suddenly become aware of what has just happened to me. I shoot my hand to the light switch and put on my high beams. All I can see is rain in front of me, rain and blackness. I check my rear view mirror. Illuminated by the red glow of the truck’s taillight, a figure stands, unmoving. All I can make out are its eyes, which are pure white. There are no pupils and no irises, only white. A low humming fills my ears, invading my mind. My vision gets fuzzy, and I pass out. The sky glows with lightning.

I wake up in the early morning. The storm has ceased, though a light sprinkle continues to fall. The forest is filled with a dim light, but I see no animals, nor do I see the figure. I look down at the dashboard and my lap. I am caked in blood. Feeling my forehead tentatively, I find no cut or scratch. I am surprised, but my miraculous healing is not a problem and I do not question it. I reach for the ignition and twist the keys, but my truck doesn’t start. I’m not shocked, and it seems my only other option is to walk to the nearest gas station, which is nearly thirty miles away. I swing the door open and step out into the morning air, which is cool and fresh. I sense no danger and decide to inspect my truck before leaving it. My front tires are both flat and are nearly buried in the mud, while the back half of the vehicle is bent inwards. Whatever the figure is, it hits hard. Shaken by the memory, I start trudging down the road. My head still hurts, but I continue on in the rain. Grey clouds roll across the sky overhead.

It is lighter now, and the rain has turned into a mist. I have walked a mile or so from my car, and I am standing in front of a deer. It is lying on its side, and its organs are strewn across the road. The foul iron smell of blood hits my nostrils, and I start breathing through my mouth to avoid the stench. At first, it appears to be road kill, but I see no glass or scraps from a collision with a car, and no other part of the deer is damaged except for its torso, save for the eyes, which are pure white. I squat to get a better look at the deer. It seems to have been ripped open, and only from one side, from which all the organs were removed. Then I notice something and fall back onto the ground, splashing in the pool of blood around the animal. Its heart is beating. I can see the rhythmic jerking of the muscle. I do my best to stand up and step back, and dread fills me to the core as the deer’s mouth starts to twitch. I can see a dark figure out of the corner of my eye. A low humming begins to drown my thoughts again, and then, amid the fear and the hum, I hear a whisper. “Run.” It is impossible to tell the difference between the mist and the sky as I flee for my life.

I can barely hear the sound of a car engine through the beating of my heart and the droning of the hum. I hear someone shouting at me from behind, asking if I’m okay, asking if I need a ride. I turn around, still moving, to see who is yelling. A large truck with dark tinted windows is following close behind me. I cannot see the driver. I stop and run towards the vehicle, with a friendly voice asking me if everything is alright as I near the window. That is when the stench hits me. The smell of blood slams into me, causing me to stop in my tracks for a moment before continuing to the driver’s side door. When I come up to the window, I freeze, and I cannot find the strength to move. The cab of the truck is coated with blood, and I can see the driver’s lungs lying on the dashboard. I look to his face, which is smiling at me, as if I were the man’s close friend. His eyes are white. I am lost in his gaze. Despite the fear, I feel welcome and safe. I begin to walk around the car to get in the passenger seat when I see the figure standing on the other side of the truck. Its white eyes feel like they’re tearing me apart, but I manage to run. I run and I keep on running. I run till I finally see the gas station. I do not know how I manage to run so far so fast, but all I can think about is getting help from another human being. As I enter the gas station, thunder rumbles across the sky above me.

“Hello! Welcome to Gas Central! Beautiful weather out today! I hope you’re having a great day under this wonderful, clear sky! Let me know if you need anything!”

I look over to see a woman greeting me from behind a counter and rush over to tell her my story and to call the police. As I explain what has happened, her smile disappears and her eyes fog over till they are as white as bone. She steps back and stares at me, and gives a deep sigh. The foul smell of blood reaches me, and the humming starts immediately after. Suddenly I am covered in blood, but not my own. The woman’s insides cover the counter and floor, and her body stands before me, opened up. I can see her spine, as well as her beating heart. I see the black hand of the figure rest on my shoulder. I do not have time to run. Rain starts pouring from the sky outside.

“Hello! Welcome to Gas Central! Beautiful weather out today! I hope you’re having a great day under this wonderful, clear sky! Let me know if you need anything!”

The woman is smiling at me as my eyes begin to fog and the humming drowns out all my thoughts and emotions. My fear disappears as a sweet smell of iron floats through my nostrils and a growing pressure in my chest releases. I smile back. The air is warm and the blue sky shines bright outside.

Hell.

Credit To – Chapman

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