Estimated reading time — 22 minutes
I took the last drag of my cigarette and inhaled a deep breath, savoring the carcinogen-filled smoke inside my lungs before I drew it out again. I looked down at the smoldering butt in my hand and took a gander up at the green trees that surrounded my back yard. Modest, all-consuming green trees which everybody here claim are what make this little town so damn pleasant. More like smothering if you ask me, I’ve always been more of a city boy myself. Whereas most people around here find the streets of Los Angeles overbearing and nauseating, I’d gladly give up those pretty, green trees for apartment buildings and taco stands. There’s something mysterious about the mountains, something lonely, something desolate, and every once in a while things happen out there that just aint right.
Let me tell you a little something about where I used to live. “Green Valley,” it‘s called. And believe me, there is no false advertising in the name. The little mountain town in the heart of Southern California is greener than an over-enthusiastic Irishman on St. Paddy’s day and covered with a heavy layer of wild shrubs, foliage, and modest-sized trees. There are only 2 real streets in the town (by real I mean frequently traveled on by the town’s residents and commuters). First, there’s “San Francisquito Canyon Road,” which weaves down through the mountains for about 20 miles and puts you right at the edge of Valencia. Then there’s “Spunky Canyon Road,” which most of the other streets in the town branch off of as it connects up the neighborhoods. Commuters traveling between the Antelope Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley drive up and down San Francisquito Canyon every day which also provides a quick way for families and teenagers to get to Magic Mountain from Palmdale or Lancaster, if they don’t feel like taking the freeway. Given it’s heavy traffic at times, winding curves, razor-sharp corners, and drivers who fly down the damn thing like they’re practicing for the Daytona 500, it’s seen it’s fair share of accidents over the years.
Now, one thing I always found quite interesting is that, years ago, someone thought it would be a good idea to have a loud, booming alarm system set up in the Green Valley fire station that alerts the locals when there’s an accident in the canyon. Given that there is no cell phone reception anywhere, the alarm provides a means of communication to the residents when San Fran is blocked off due to a car crash. It’s not a bad idea and I never would have had a problem with it, except…there is just something really off-putting about this alarm. I always thought it sounded like the type you would hear at a government facility when they’ve discovered that a nuclear bomb is about to be dropped and blow the whole fucking country to smithereens, or that some deadly, flesh-eating virus has escaped from a laboratory and is quickly seeping into the air of our neighborhoods. Which aren’t the loveliest thoughts when you’re laying in bed at 10:00 at night in your underwear and you hear this loud, belligerent siren suddenly rattle through the streets and penetrate you to the very core. It’s just…disturbing.
But anyways, that’s not too important at the moment. What’s important is that on this day, on this evening, I had just smoked my last cigarette down to the filter and I was in dire need of more to carry my nicotine fix throughout the night. This meant that I had to make a run to the little gas station on the corner of Spunky and San Fran where the canyon meets the main residential area of the town. I had just disposed of the cigarette butt in the trash can and was walking back to my front door when I heard the alarm pierce through my ears. It stopped me in my tracks. That familiar, low yell of the siren rang in my head and I instantly felt a wave of compassion for the sorry saps who had just crashed their car in the canyon. I had hoped it wasn’t as bad as the one I saw a few months ago on my way home from work in which a small sedan going about 90mph, had a head on with an SUV about 30 feet behind me while I watched the carnage from the rear view mirror of my truck. “Poor bastards,” I said out loud as I continued my strut inside to grab the truck keys. Then something struck me and I paused, mouth agape and listening attentively…There’s something slightly off about this one. I couldn’t really tell for sure but it didn‘t seem to be coming from the fire station, it was too distant; and what’s even stranger is that there was this unsteadiness to it. It was dying down a little and then coming on strong again in waves and changing in pitch too. The dynamics were totally off. It had a beckoning, sorrowful longing to it like a wild animal with his leg caught in a hunter‘s trap. I wasn‘t just hearing it, I was feeling it too; my insides felt like they were being grabbed and pulled towards my legs like silly putty. I was getting more uneasy by the second.
“Of course it was weird,” I thought, but I had other, more pressing priorities at hand than sitting around pondering the peculiarities of this alarm. My nicotine craving struck again and I was suddenly in the truck cruising down the road towards the corner store to get to those sweet, sweet Newport menthol-smokes. I turned on my headlights as I navigated the small stretch of asphalt that leads to the gas station about a mile from my cozy, little 2 bedroom house. It was summer time and the clock on the dash told me it was 8:30pm. Summer days are pretty long out here and the sky was at that stage right between dusk and twilight where everything I passed had a subdued glow about it. The road was not yet a complete mass of darkness without my headlights, but it was close. I saw silhouettes of bushes, hypnotically flailing side to side in the distance as I approached the gas station.
When I pulled in the thought gradually crept into my mind over the next few seconds that I was staring at an empty establishment. There were no cars at the pumps or even the familiar employee trucks in the parking lot. It wasn’t that business was just slow or anything, I mean the place was totally abandoned. Where the hell was everybody? “And what the fuck,” I thought, as my eyes caught the dim OPEN sign in the window who’s lights were not flashing in their usual neon red; “the place is closed?“ It’s the one night the bastards decide to close early and I happened to have just burned my last cig of the carton. Damn, just my luck. I pulled up in the parking lot and parked my truck so I could think about my next move. I saw the metal gate behind the big double doors then looked over to the empty chairs still lingering out front where Frank and Tom shoot the shit every day on their cigarette breaks. Call me what you will, but I was not about to go the whole night without that sweet taste of tobacco; so I walked over to the two chairs in hopes that Frank, or Tom had left some butts for me to scrounge up and hold me over until morning.
I was in luck! They had left their ashtray right between the chairs and there was even a half smoked stogie still burning, emitting broken coils of smoke like tiny ghosts dancing in the moonlight…I must have just missed them. I gained some amusement at the thought of them on their first break tomorrow trying to figure out how in the hell thirty cigarette butts apparently just jumped up and disappeared from the tray. Then I remembered that Frank still hasn’t returned my power drill I let him borrow two and a half weeks ago (“just for the afternoon,” he had told me) and my amusement turned to out-loud laughter. “Ha! Let that bastard think it over.” Frank was a good guy but he had a reputation of holding onto other people’s things for a little longer than he should.
I turned and walked back to the truck a little shamefully, feeling like a grimy, cigarette-butt scrounging bum and gazed at the Canyon road…Not a single damn car, that accident must have been pretty bad to block the whole road like that. There wasn’t a single vehicle driving the streets. I looked back at the two chairs then to the road again; that’s when I first noticed the feeling. Something just wasn’t right about all this. In my 2 years of living in this little hole in the mountains I had never seen the corner store close early. And given that Frank or Tom’s cigarette was still lit in the tray, they must have rushed out of here in a real hurry. Feelings aside, the day had been uneventful up until this point and I was bent on knowing what the hell was going on so I decided to take a drive down the canyon a little ways and see if I could take a peek at that accident. It sounds morbid, I know, and the last thing I wanted to do was get in the way of an ambulance or a cop if someone was seriously hurt but I was putting it together in my mind and figured the emptiness of the gas station and the alarm going off may be connected in some way, plus the dull day had stirred up a sense of adventure in me that was not subsiding so I lit a re-burn and took off down the road. Danger is the heart of adventure.
I was just about to give up and head back when I saw it. It was dark now and a tiny little light was shining a ways down the canyon on what appeared to be the side of the road. There were still no damn cars which had begun to give me a slight case of the jitters and the creeps all at once that manifested into my hands which were now slightly tremoring as I gripped the wheel of my Ford with white knuckles. My mouth was drier than a barrel of hay. A wave of panic shot through me as I started to worry I might actually be having a mild seizure, a ridiculous notion. I had never had one before and I was pretty sure the symptoms didn’t match up even in the slightest. I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and continued accelerating towards the glowing anomaly down the way which was approaching faster than I had anticipated, swerving and slowing to accommodate the sharp bends in the now dark mountain road. I thought for sure I would have seen somebody by now but there was…nothing. No ambulances, no cop cars, no angry commuters coming up through the road, speeding and pissed off for getting held up by a car crash on their way home from work. It was beyond strange for this usually bustling canyon and my better judgment was telling me to just go home to my blood hound who was waiting for his 2 scoops of doggy chow and forget all about this damn excursion…but I just couldn’t. When I set my mind to something, I follow through and have a mighty hard time dismissing it. So as stubborn as I could allow myself to be, I pressed on. And in God’s name and all the creatures in the world do I wish now that I hadn’t.
The small light was becoming ever more apparent as I approached it slowly on my right side. There was something so mesmerizing about it, yet sinister like a shimmering lighthouse guiding lost ships towards some hidden, rocky shore. I was a defenseless fly drifting closer and closer to a fluorescent bug zapper, right before he gets torched and turned into a thousand specks of ash blown away by the steady, warm Summer wind. I began to make out the shape of a car in the darkness. That’s what it was alright, it was a car, with the interior light still on and the driver’s side door swung wide open. I pulled up in front of it on the side of the road with my headlights glaring down, turned the ignition, removed the key, and sat in the deep silence; silence which after a moment was broken by the sound of an owl emitting a large hoot up in the trees somewhere. My mind raced as a million thoughts rushed through me at once. The most prominent one being that this must be the car that triggered the accident alarm earlier and it had been in some kind of wreck; but if that were the case, then where the hell were the ambulances and the cop cars that I had nervously expected and the crowd of people that usually linger around an accident to gossip and make sure everything‘s alright? There is no way they kept driving by this peculiar looking scene without offering some kind of help. People have their downfalls, but they are nonetheless eager to help out their fellow man when in dire straights. And we’re a curious breed, no doubt curious, which is what left me so baffled as I stared out my windshield. It’s coming.
My personal curiosity was at an all-time high as I stepped out of the truck and approached the car. I left the headlights on to provide me with some illumination. It appeared to be in decent shape until I circled around to the driver’s side. There was a monstrous sized dent in the door that stretched all the way to the front fender. The window was smashed out, but no glass on the ground as far as I could see; and no driver anywhere to be found. It was a puzzling scene. I stepped back to observe the damaged vehicle a little better and that’s when it hit me again…the feeling. It came on stronger now and I began to tremble harder. I shouldn’t be here. Something was horribly wrong and I knew it. And not just in a “someone got hurt,” kind of way; this was different. I even felt it in the air; there was an oppressive musk that weighed on me making me feel like my legs would give out at the slightest movement. I looked up at the trees, even they were different; they appeared to be cowering back away from this wrecked hunk of metal in front of me as if they themselves were terrified of this intruder in their quiet little home. “That has to be my imagination,” I thought. I felt like I was trapped in some dreamlike landscape and any moment I was going to wake up in my bed submerged in a pool of sweat. No, not a dream, a god damn nightmare. “Where the hell is the driver?” I couldn’t help but wonder.
I leaned against the side of the car with the door still open and began to rationalize the best I could. As I looked down, thoughts moving and circling around in my mind, something caught my eye. There was a trickle of blood in the dirt by my right foot. I looked up further and there was more blood, and more. It was a trail leading away from the car so I followed it with my eyes until it was out of the car light’s reach and taken out of sight by the night. A chilling realization crept into my mind; whoever was driving the car had gotten out and ran into the forest. The next thing I knew I was grabbing the flashlight from my center console and aiming its beam at the blood trail leading from the side of the road into the trees. Whoever it was that had been in this vehicle was badly hurt. I walked a little to get a better view and saw a break where a small beaten path was winding up through the trees and into the mountain. That must be where he ran off to.
The questions that had dominantly plagued my mind since the gas station had become secondary when I realized this person is probably in need of some serious help. I was getting a hold of myself a little better now and that rational part of my brain that had been temporarily hijacked was starting to make its way back. Even so, the mixed emotions I had at that moment could have torn me in two, but I knew deep down that if there was someone dying out there and I had to hear later on the evening news that this man or woman had bled out in the mountains of my little town, I would have never forgiven myself. Arguing with that other half of me had suddenly become fruitless, now was the time to act. Even though every bone in my body was telling me to just go back home and call 911 or maybe wait here for a moment for the ambulances that would eventually arrive, I didn’t. Flashlight in hand, I headed up the trail.
I immediately saw more blood as I headed up the winding path. The beam from the flashlight illuminated the way as I stepped over fallen, dead branches and leaves. The drops weren’t huge but they were enough to know that whoever was bleeding had taken a serious injury back in that car and was out there cut to all hell. I entertained the thought at this point of at least turning around and snatching my .45 pistol from my house and rushing back here quickly just in case I run into some kind of trouble up there but I was just too far and I didn’t want to risk getting to the victim after it was too late. I had remembered reading somewhere in a magazine or journal that a person will die when they have lost 40-60 percent of the blood in their body and by the looks of it, my missing man was getting there, fast. I stared at the quarter-moon sky, which hadn’t been providing me with jack-shit as far as moon light goes, then back down again and continued on. The drops began to get bigger as I progressed up the trail. I paused to take a look at a peculiar looking one that seemed to have a chunk of something white and slimy stuck to it. After a good few minutes of brisk walking I noticed that they weren’t only getting bigger now but also thicker and more pronounced. I was reminded of my own mortality as I followed these crimson puddles of dense fluid that leaked out of this broken human being and sat coagulating and festering in the cold earth, or maybe out of something else, it’s easy to forget how fragile our bodies really are when you’ve never really had an accident. They suddenly veered off the trail and I caught one with my flashlight on a branch about as high as my head. Then I heard something…
I couldn’t quite make it out but it sounded like the low chatter of someone’s voice. I looked through the trees where the blood on the high branch was dripping from and I could vaguely see an area that had been trampled through. The voice definitely came from that direction. I climbed in through a small opening the size of a crouched man and began to cautiously follow this trampled wonder through the trees. My senses were wild, heightened to the point of animalistic intensity in the cool darkness. I saw more blood on the branches and then stepped in a small pool of it. I shined the flashlight down and observed more of that white, slimy crap that I saw earlier. It looked gut wrenching. If I had stared any longer I would have been at risk of losing my dinner. I felt stomach acid arise in my esophagus and slowly make its way back down again. “What the hell was it?” I thought to myself as I crouched to get a better examination of the shimmering white pieces against their dark, scarlet background. They looked something like chunks of peeled grapes, if peeled grapes were white. My concentration was interrupted when the chatter started again, only this time it was much closer and almost directly in front of me. It sounded like some one mumbling to themselves and I knew it had to be my man (or woman, although I thought this was unlikely by now). I flared with bursts of excitement as I headed closer to the sound, rushing through the trees branches and low bushes as I continued on the trail. They were cutting me up something fierce, but I didn’t care because at that moment I saw an opening amidst the branches. I made my way through it and fell to my knees with a hard thud as I tripped over a stray branch that caught my shoe just right.
Sharp needles dug into my palms as I hit the ground. “Ouch!” I said out loud in much more than a whisper. The flashlight slipped and launched a good couple feet away from me during the fall. I winced a little and returned to my feet, brushing the leaves and dirt off of my clothes. It was at this point that the environment had my full visual attention as I studied my surroundings with a deep, penetrating gaze. My mouth suddenly dropped. I was in a clearing, at least it appeared to be a clearing until I shined the flashlight down to my feet. My eyes accompanied my mouth and grew from astonishment. I had been walking on top of smashed bushes. All around me in almost a perfect circle 20 feet in diameter these bushes had been collapsed and laid down to create a perfect surface to walk on. It was utterly bewildering. I shined the light around some more with my continual countenance of pure awe which was now permanently attached. “This doesn’t just happen in the middle of a group of trees, someone made this.” I thought. Every bush had been pressed in exactly the same fashion as the next and snapped at the same height to create this perfect platform of shrubs.
I barely had time to wonder when I heard it, that mumbling again. It startled me this time. A shudder went through me like a bolt of lightning and I frantically pointed the flashlight in the direction of the noise. The blood drained from my face and I went completely cold. By the edge of this platform on the opposite side of where I was standing there stood someone with their back towards me. It was indeed, a man. He was wearing a collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up and black slacks. His arms were at his sides and I saw a trickle of blood running down his right one. His head was faced downwards and he remained perfectly still like a statue.
“Sir!” I called out. “Sir, are you alright?”
“I saw your car down there, were you in an accident? Are you hurt?”
Still no response.
I did nothing for a moment. I just stared at him waiting for some kind of communication, but I got none. Then it hit me again, hard. There was a pressure that rushed inside my head which felt like a million bees swirling around my brain. It was pressing on my shoulder blades, weighing me down almost to the point of collapse. Every part of me was screaming, pleading to get out of there. I was a hair away from bolting the other direction as fast as I could to my truck. Go! Run! “What the hell am I doing here?” the thought returned. I took another look at him. It was all wrong, just plain wrong. But I had to hold on a little longer, now was not the time for another internal argument. I brushed it off the best I could and began to walk forward towards him slowly, eyeing his frozen limbs with great caution. I heard the branches crunch beneath my feet.
“I…I’m bleeding.” he spoke. His voice was calm, soft but with a hint of something else. I have never heard anything like it.
“Yeah, you are. Looks like you’re hurting pretty bad, too. Why don’t you let me walk you down to my truck, it’s just down the road. We gotta get you to the hospital.” I pleaded with the man for any excuse to get away from this creep show.
“They…they got me.”
“Wh..who got you? Is that why you’re bleeding? Did someone a..attack y..you?” My voice was quivering and I was shaking all over. I could barely articulate my words.
“They think they can have this place but…”
“but…” He was heaving in deep breaths.
“but they’re wrong…”
“This one’s mine!!!” His voice deepened to something atrocious as he yelled.
The force of his scream flung me backwards and I fell on my ass dropping the flashlight. I got to my knees and began to fumble around like a frantic lunatic in hopes of recovering it. The bleeding man turned around slowly, walked closer to me, and leaned down a bit. I found, curled my fingers around, and immediately shined the flashlight in his face all in one fluent motion. I surprised myself with how fast my movements were which gave me a small sense of control amidst the chaos. And then as quickly as it came, the brief joy I felt had fled…what I saw paralyzed me to the spot. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t even breathe. There was the handle of a small knife sticking out of his eye socket which had been lodged into his head through his left eyeball. There were slimy chunks of white stuck to his cheek. He was peering at me through his one good eye. I was trying so hard to keep my thoughts together which had now become a jumbled blur. I was floating in the night sky. “There is no way he could still be alive after a wound like that, the blade must be halfway through his brain,” I thought. He gazed at me for a split second and with a raspy, low voice he leaned in closer and lividly shrieked “You’re all going to die!”
Just then his head starting jerking in short, rapid movements from side to side, impossibly fast. An inaudible gibberish began to come from his mouth which sounded like the mumbling I had heard earlier. In between a burst of jerks, he grinned forcefully to reveal a repulsive set of rotten teeth. His eye rolled back and his head was moving faster. The incoherent mumbling got louder and louder.
Before I knew it, my paralysis subsided and I was on my feet sprinting as fast as I could move while taking in heavy, deep breaths. I got back to the trail at lightning speed and took one look back to see if he was behind me. What I saw then, I will never forget. A beam of light appeared out of thin air and began to consume his body as he continued to go through his bizarre, terrifying episode. He stuck his legs in first, they disappeared and he began to lower his arms into it. Half of his torso and head were still sticking out while convulsing and spewing his incoherent babble. He roared and exhaled a stream of green vomit which flung around him in a circle as his head was spinning and splattered onto the collapsed bushes. I didn’t stop to watch any longer, I booked it as fast as my legs would go; down the trail to the side of the road I went until I saw my headlights. I jumped feet first into the truck, fumbled with putting the key in the ignition, heard the roar of those sweet six cylinders, jerked it into gear and with dirt roosting from my tires I was out of there.
It’s all over.
The next morning I took a little trip to the gas station. Frank was sitting out front in his usual smoking chair puffing on a Marlboro red. He moved his gaze from the cement walkway as I saw the logo of his faded trucker hat with the two criss-crossed assault rifles ironed on the front jerk up towards me. He squirmed in his seat a little bit as I approached then forced a stupid smile. I parked my feet directly in front of him and stared into his aging, wrinkled face. I should have expected his loud-mouth to start gabbing before I could get a word in but somehow it still surprised and irritated me.
“Billy, how you doing brother,” his mouth moved as anxiously as he did in that aluminum chair he probably took from an outdoor furniture set. “Hey listen, I’m gonna need that drill for a little bit longer. You see, me and the wife are fixing up the barn and I thought I’d put some more shelves in. Say, what do you make of this? I could have sworn there were a whole mess of cigarette butts in this ash…”
“Where the hell were you last night?” I interrupted him. I was in no mood for his rambling, not today.
“Wha.. what are you talking bout?” He said, perturbed by my interruption.
“Last night, why did you close up the store so damn early?”
“Oh, well…some funny things was happening and me and Tom thought it best to just call it quits for the night.” He looked troubled when he spoke, with a slight wave of bewilderment and irritation. like I was trying to force some taboo topic from his mouth that he had thought he’d never have to actually bring up in conversation.
“Funny things?” I said. I was all nerves.
“Well, yeah. You see the power went out in the whole place about a quarter past 8. Couldn’t see a damn thing. Have no idea why, either. Tom checked all the breakers and they seemed to be in order.”
“So why didn’t you just pull out the generator?” I said. “People need their gas and smokes.” My mind was running and I was caressing the corner of my flannel shirt between my thumb and forefinger. He could tell things weren’t well in Billy Town. My face was ghostly pale, I knew from the glimpse I had caught of myself in the bathroom mirror before heading out, and black circles were starting to form under my eyes from the restless forty-five minutes of sleep I had gotten.
“Well, that’s just it,” he said. “Hadn’t been a car come up that road for nearly an hour. Usually that time of night is busier than hell with the folks commuting from work and what not.”
I met his stare while still caressing my shirt…
“You feelin alright Billy? You aint lookin your freshest this morning.” He said sounding genuinely concerned. “Looks like you had a meeting with the devil himself.” he followed his words with a nervous chuckle but didn’t take his eyes off of me.
My heart began to jump a little and I felt the shakes coming on. “I…I’m fine.” I said “Just…never mind. I’m gonna go grab a pack of smokes.” I suddenly realized I wasn’t in the mood for this.
“Well hold on now Billy, there’s something else too if you really wanna know.“ He said as he grabbed hold of my arm during my attempt to escape.
“Something else?” I managed to sound a little more enthused.
“Nah, forget it.” he said.
“Frank, what are you talking about?” I had to know now. Whatever it was it couldn’t do much more damage to my already fractured state of mind this morning.
He eyed me up and down with a look on his face that said you know what kid, fuck it, just go grab your cigarettes. I don‘t think you can handle what I have to say considering you look like you’re gonna go running behind those bushes like a scared puppy dog if so much as a loud car drives by. But after a long while he came out with it and when he was finished, the comfort of those bushes didn’t sound like a bad idea.
“Well, me and Tom just had this funny feeling,” he began. “You know how sometimes you just get a feeling, Billy? Like when you know something aint right? It was just this funny feeling that me and Tom both kept gettin…like….”
“Like what?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“We couldn’t tell ya really, and looking back on it sounds kinda ridiculous now. But well…it was like we just shouldn’t be there.”
I gazed at him, flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe it.
“It didn‘t have something to do with that alarm going off, did it?” I asked with a hint of hopefulness in my voice.
“Alarm? What alarm? Hasn’t been an accident in the canyon for nearly 3 weeks.”
I moved to Los Angeles 6 months after the whole thing and quit smoking. After my conversation with Fred I bought my cigarettes in a dazed panic and rushed back to the safety of my home where I locked all the doors and windows, drew the curtains, and dozed off into a few hours of dreamless sleep. I had anxiety issues for a few weeks and had to take some time off work. About five days into my vacation, a Jehovah’s Witness came to the door and I nearly had a heart attack; I guess they got the idea to start soliciting to the smaller towns in Los Angeles County which I can safely say they won’t be doing again, well at least the kid who came to my door won’t be. I’m sure he’ll door knocking in more populated areas from now on considering how fast he booked it out of here when he heard the cock of my 12 gauge shotgun letting him know I‘m not in the business to be opening my door to strangers; poor bastard made it to the end of my drive way in about two seconds flat. I kept thinking anybody and everybody was that…thing, in disguise. I turned my phone off and permanently moved my shotgun to the nook by the front door as well as kept my .45 pistol tucked into my pants while I pranced nervously around the house, checking the windows every five minutes. It sounds stupid now but I thought for sure it was going to come looking for me and I sure as hell wasn’t going to take any chances.
After about a month, I realized I was turning into a paranoid, reclusive, wreck and I hated myself for it so I decided to face my fear and take a drive down the canyon to that little spot where I had first seen the car. I parked the truck near it and got out to gather whatever information I could find. I wasn’t just facing my fears, I was looking for answers and by God did I have a lot of questions. Some tire tracks were vaguely visible in the dirt where my original meeting with the car had been but there’s no way they could have belonged to my truck or the busted up sedan, our tracks were long gone by then, blown away in the summer’s wind. The blood was gone too. I took a walk up the trail again, re-tracing my steps from that night. I never found the bush platform or the opening in the trees, or the “man” anywhere, it’s like he was never even there. That’s not to say it didn’t happen, I know what I saw. There was something on the road that night, I knew it and everybody else knew it. That’s why there wasn’t any cars because just like Frank, the people who usually travel that road had enough sense to stay away from it and take the freeway home. Some call it intuition; we all have those built-in alarms that draw us towards great and beautiful things as well as steer us clear from danger. They knew there was something evil in that canyon, some abomination. That’s what it was, an abomination. What I think, is that…thing, was calling someone or something that night to take it back home because it knew it had been bested and, god knows why, but for some reason I was susceptible to its call. I chose to ignore my instincts and it almost cost me my life. Anyways…I can’t do anything about it now but carry on living and learn from my mistakes. I have no reason to fear it for I know it’s gone far away from here. But you know, sometimes on the darkest of nights as I stare out my third floor apartment window at the late night city traffic, I get this funny feeling it wont be gone for long. And you know what? If it does happen to return and our paths do happen to cross again, I’ll be ready, and this time I won’t choose to ignore my inner alarms.
Credit To – Ryan Berg