Dak and Chadwick each lit up a smoke and cracked their windows, the excitement of a good day fishing warming their spirits despite the cold wind that suddenly filled the cab of Chadwick’s truck. The sporadic raindrops that began to fall as they left the river pooled in the road and splashed off the deep grooved tires of the smokey old diesel truck, creating a cascading wave of dirty water sloshing on both sides of the truck.
“I cannot believe that big bass energy today!” Dak cried out, elated at the day’s catch.
“Easy for you to say, all I got was that damn throwback.” Chadwick rolled his eyes as the words left his mouth.
Headlights passed by as they reveled in their elevated mood. Dak reached over to the center of the console and spun the volume knob on the radio.
“Bro, I really need to take a nature break, if you know what I mean.” Dak informed Chadwick as he was exiting the interstate onto the maze of backroads that connected the interstate to his home.
“Sure thing, let me find a good spot.” He answered, not bothered at all by taking a short break from the two hour long drive.
Chadwick slowed as he looked around for a safe, secluded place to use as nature’s urinal.
“Right there, turn down this one.” Dak exclaimed as a street sign entered their field of vision.
Chadwick slowed, squinting to read the sign.
“Light road? It’s awfully dark, maybe it’s an ironic street name.” Chadwick chuckled as he turned his truck onto Light road.
“That’s perfect. Look at that deadend turn around up there.” Dak said, his words beginning to carry an air of urgency.
Chadwick slowed as he neared the dead end and turned his truck back around towards the direction they had come from.
“There ya go. There won’t be anything on my seats today!” Chadwick chided, shutting his engine down so as to not disturb the neighbors with his loud exhaust.
Chadwick climbed down out of his cab and proceeded to take care of business as Dak did the same. A loud rustling sound could be heard in the woods on the passenger side of the cab, clear as day now that Chadwick had powered down his engine.
“You good over there? Thought I heard something.” Chadwick asked Dak, his anxiety beginning to creep up on him like a predator silently hunting prey.
“Um, yeah. I heard something too. Sounds big.” Dak replied, his voice shaking just enough for Chadwick to notice the change.
“Let’s hurry up and get going, it’s probably a fox or something. But better to not find out, just in case.” Chadwick suggested, his feet now flat on the floor in his cab.
The rustling was growing louder as Dak hurried into the opposite side of Chadwick’s truck.
Chadwick turned the key to the on position, the dash lights illuminating the cab in a soft glow. He turned it farther to the start position and was shocked to find that the starter wouldn’t crank.
“I thought you fixed that!” Dak exclaimed worriedly.
“No, damn it. Money is tight man.” Chadwick replied, a look of embarrassment covering his face.
“No biggie man, we’ll just call someone to pick us up and we’ll deal with it tomorrow. Sound good?” Dak asked, his tone softening.
Chadwick glanced at his phone, the blank screen revealing that his battery was dead.
“My battery is dead, I don’t have a charger in here. How you lookin’?” Chadwick asked, his embarrassment growing.
Dak looked at his phone.
“Oh my God, no signal? What kind of backwoods place did you bring me to?” Dak asked, annoyance entering his tone again.
“Didn’t you find this road?” Chadwick asked, deflecting the blame to his younger friend.
“What do we do?” Dak asked, residual fear resonating in his voice.
“The old guys say that if you tap a starter with something heavy, like a hammer, then it might kick over.” Chadwick suggested, climbing out of his cab to root around in his tool box.
Dak waited inside the cab and stared out the window aimlessly. After a few moments, he turned to look at Chadwick to see if he had found something useful. Fear overtook his senses as he looked around for his friend.
What the hell? Dak thought as he jumped out of the truck, frantically trying to locate his friend.
Dak reached the tail end of the truck, finding Chadwick bent down tying his shoe out of view of the cab.
“Damn it, Chadwick!” Dak exclaimed angrily.
“What?” Chadwick asked, clearly confused by Dak’s reaction.
“Nevermind. Did you find anything?” Dak asked, intentionally changing the topic quickly.
“Nope, nothing that I think will work. I had my tools out last weekend, guess I forgot to put them back in. Toolbox is basically empty.” Chadwick shrugged as he walked back to the cab.
The sound of the truck doors slamming shut seemed like the equivalent of a coffin being sealed shut for the two young men. Their perception of the silence and the cold inflated to extremes as they sat in their respective seats, watching their breath fog the windows.
Chadwick passed the time looking at the details of the two houses to their left. Up until just a moment ago, both houses had been completely dark. The second house on the left now emitted a light in two separate downstairs windows. Chadwick rolled down his window and lit up a smoke.
“You think the people at either two of these houses would help us out? Maybe use their phone or something?” Chadwick suggested, grasping for some sort of solution.
“I don’t know man. It’s late, and what if these yokels are crazy or something?” Dak asked.
“I’m sure that they’re normal, nice people. Besides, it’s only 8pm.” Chadwick said, staring at the house with the light on.
The second house on the left now had the porch light on in addition to lights inside the house.
“Well look at that.” Chadwick exclaimed as a man and woman walked towards his truck.
“I got a bad feeling.” Dak muttered as Chadwick climbed out of the truck to greet the couple as they approached.
“You boys in some sort of trouble?” The man asked.
The man stood about six feet tall. His black hair was cut short, revealing weathered facial features that only old age could bestow upon a man.
His wife stood at a slight five foot two, creating a vast height difference between them. Her hair was grey and long and her skin bore the resemblance to the consistency of a long past ripe avocado. Her long painted nails stuck out from her fingers like crude daggers.
“This feels wrong. Look at these guys, man.” Dak muttered under his breath.
“Yes Sir we are. I believe my starter is dead in the water, and our cell phones seem to be giving us a hard time.” Chadwick explained, as Dak continued muttering under his breath about his disapproval of their situation.
“How can we help?” The woman asked a raspy voice.
“A phone would be awesome.” Chadwick suggested as the rain drops descended more rapidly on the concrete.
“Come on in boys, let’s get you out of the rain, and we’ll figure it out.” The old man offered, waving his hand in the direction of his two story home across the street.
“No Chadwick. No way.” Dak said as Chadwick started to walk towards the old couple’s home.
“Come on, Dak. Are you really going to spend the time out there by yourself?” Chadwick asked sarcastically.
Damn it. Dak thought as he climbed out of the truck and joined his friend as he walked into the house.
The two young men entered through the front door into a small mudroom. The first thing that they noticed inside the home was a wall mounted topographical map of the state of Idaho.
What the fuck? Chadwick thought as his gaze settled on the map.
“You guys like potatoes?” Chadwick asked, stifling a laugh.
The old couple looked at him questioningly.
“Nevermind, my bad.” Chadwick said, backpedaling his words.
“My name is Martha, this is my husband Wilbur.” The old woman said, pointing at herself and then her husband.
“I’m Chadwick, this is Dak.” Chadwick said politely.
“Welcome to our home, boys.” Wilbur said as he led them into the kitchen.
The kitchen walls were adorned with some of the strangest wall art either of the two had ever seen. The most prominent being a large painting of an apple sawing a pear in half. The second most prominent was a 4 by 4 canvas of two spider monkeys playing tug of war with an unknown species of bird.
The image that stuck out the most in Chadwick’s mind was a small painting of a young child building a small toy structure using severed fingers in place of toy blocks.
“Ah, I see the cold is seeping into your bones. Come, warm yourself by the fireplace.” Wilbur suggested.
No, I’m not cold. It’s your creepy paintings. Chadwick thought as he followed Wilbur into another room.
“How about that phone?” Chadwick asked Wilbur as the old man sat down into a chair.
“Oh dear, I thought I mentioned that already. I’m afraid our phone lines have gone down with this strange intermittent storm we’ve had today.” Wilbur explained as Chadwick felt a ball begin to tighten in his stomach.
Chadwick looked around and began to wonder where Dak was.
“Do you know where my buddy Dak is?” Chadwick asked Wilbur as he watched him rock in his chair.
“Oh, I think Martha sat him down while she cooks up some food for you boys.” Wilbur answered, rocking faster.
Chadwick glanced at the man just in time to see a shadow race across the room from left to right.
“What was that?” Chadwick asked, pointing towards the area that he saw movement seconds ago.
“Not sure what you mean?” Wilbur asked, appearing slightly confused.
“Is there anyone here besides you and Martha? Chadwick inquired anxiously.
“No, just us two. Why do you ask?” Wilbur questioned.
“Nevermind, I thought I saw something. I must just be tired.” Chadwick explained.
A loud bang rang out from the kitchen.
Chadwick left the room he was currently in and retraced his steps back to the kitchen.
“Blasted cat!” Martha yelled as Chadwick entered the kitchen.
Chadwick watched as a black and, white cat scurried out of the room, stopping to look back at the pile of pots and pans it had knocked over, before disappearing into the shadows of the hallway.
Martha busied herself with quickly picking up the mess that had overtaken her kitchen floor.
“Martha! The damn rain is turning to snow!” Wilbur yelled from his rocking chair.
Chadwick crossed the kitchen to look out of the lone window. The rain had indeed turned into the start of a ferocious winter storm.
Chadwick squinted as he looked through the snowy haze towards the other side of the road. A lantern held by a shadowy figure could be seen bobbing through the woods at a slow pace. Chadwick shook his head and turned around.
Martha stood behind him staring through the window. She hurriedly shut the curtains as Chadwick walked away from the window.
“Best not to invade the goings on of the night.” She said, hastily leaving the kitchen.
Chadwick watched her as she left the room.
Dak jumped up from his chair as they heard a knock on the door.
“Boys, let that be. We’re not expecting any company.” Martha called from the living room.
Chadwick walked down the hallway to the living room, stopping as a small boy ran by him giggling like a hyena.
What is wrong with these people? Chadwick thought angrily. Why lie about having someone else here.
Chadwick entered the living room and approached Wilbur’s rocking chair.
“I just saw your grandson. I thought no one else was here with you two?” Chadwick asked accusingly.
“We don’t have any grandchildren. In fact, we never even had children of our own.” Wilbur answered.
Chadwick flinched as another knock on the door echoed through the house.
“Somebody really wants you to answer the door.” Chadwick said, his frustration rapidly growing.
“It’s best not to invade the going ons of the night.” Martha said thoughtfully.
“You said that a few minutes ago. What is going on around here?” Chadwick asked.
Another knock echoed through the house.
“Chadwick!” Dak shrieked from the kitchen.
Chadwick ran to the kitchen to find Dak staring out through the front window.
“What is it?” Chadwick asked impatiently.
“There’s no one at the door.” Dak mumbled, still staring through the window.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Chadwick asked, his fear beginning to grow.
Chadwick didn’t wait for Dak’s answer, opting instead to swing the front door open angrily.
Opening the door revealed a glowing white orb, exactly level with Chadwick’s line of vision.
Chadwick slammed the door and ran back into the kitchen, to find Martha and Wilbur standing next to Dak.
“Is this some kind of joke?” Chadwick asked angrily.
“I wish it was, son. Come sit down in the living room, you need to know about the Light Road Curse.” Wilbur said, motioning for the boys to return to the living room.
Chadwick and Dak reluctantly followed Wilbur back to the living room. They watched as Wilbur and Martha took a seat, and waited for Wilbur to speak.
“Many years ago, my wife Martha used our home for taking care of hospice patients, as they endured their last weeks. We even built an addition to accommodate the influx of patients.” Wilbur informed them, his eyes fixed on the fire dancing in the fireplace.
“Business was good and the extra money sure did help around here. Our home was in dire need of repair, and the money we made from her business gave us all the funds we needed, and more.” Wilbur continued.
“What does this have to do with the fuckin’ light banging on your door?” Chadwick asked angrily.
“Hush, boy. Let him finish.” Martha snapped, pressing a wrinkled finger to her lips.
“One night, we received a patient from the nursing home, unannounced. We didn’t think too much of it, as we readily accepted every patient. I signed the paperwork and Martha brought her into her room.” Wilbur paused for a moment to light a cigar.
“This new patient, her name was Livia. Well, Livia had an intrepid past of causing immense chaos wherever she passed through, unbeknownst to us. We awoke in the morning to find all six of our hospice patients, dead in their rooms. Livia was gone, nowhere to be found.” Wilbur said, puffing intermittently on his cigar.
“What happened to Livia?” Dak asked, his eyes wide.
“We eventually found Livia in the woods across the street. Her naked body was covered in strange symbols that she had presumably carved into her skin herself.” Martha chimed in, for this portion of the story.
“What does all this have to do with the things happening in your home?” Chadwick asked, his want to know more, overpowering his fear for the time being.
“After a lengthy investigation, the police concluded that she had many more deaths to her name than just the ones she took here. Men, women, and children. They concluded that she was insane, that was the easy answer. However, that is not the truth. The truth is, something drove her. Some thing lived within that woman. Now, that thing resides on this road. It seeks out pure souls on most nights, hiding in shadows until it grows tired of waiting. Then it grows angry.” Wilbur concluded the story and looked to Chadwick and Dak.
“Oh my God.” Dak declared, his voice wavering.
“We need to get out of here, I don’t want any part of this!” Chadwick declared frantically.
“I’m afraid you mustn’t go outside until the morning. You’ll surely fall victim to it. You’ll have to wait it out here, in our home.” Wilbur declared, shifting his gaze from the fire, to Chadwick.
“God, damn it!” Chadwick exclaimed, angrily.
“It won’t be so bad, child. You and your friend are safe in here.” Martha offered, her voice softening.
“Come, I’ll show you boys to a room.” Martha offered, rising to her feet.
The boys reluctantly followed Martha down a hallway into a large bedroom.
“Here we are.” Martha said, pointing towards a pair of beds, opposite of each other at the far end of the room.
Everything about this is fuckin’ weird. Chadwick thought, accepting a pillow and blankets from Martha.
Martha slammed the door shut on her way out of the bedroom. Chadwick and Dak shuddered, as the sound of a deadbolt clicked loudly from the other side of the door.
“Fuck!” Dak exclaimed, looking frantically around the room.
Chadwick looked around the room, noticing that it had no windows, and no other items inside besides the two beds.
Son of a bitch! We fell for that one…Chadwick thought, his inability to recognize the situation unfolding, frustrating him immensely.
“There must be some way out of here.” Dak declared, quickly coming to the same realization that Chadwick had.
“Silly boys! There is no way out from here, your souls will soon be anchored to this place, long after your bodies have rotted and decayed.” Martha cackled through the locked door.
The two boys froze as a bang sounded from the wall next to them.
“It won’t be long, Livia’s already here.” Martha screeched, her voice like nails across a chalkboard.
Another bang resonated throughout the room, shaking the walls.
“Dak, this isn’t the end for us, bro. We’re getting out of here.” Chadwick shouted, slamming his shoulder into the bedroom door.
Dak joined Chadwick at the door and kicked at the door with all his might.
The door began to creak and groan under the continued stress of the two boys repeatedly striking the wooden door.
“Stand back, Dak!” Chadwick yelled, before getting a running start and slamming into the door.
The door relented, flying open into the hallway, splinters flying in all directions.
“Way to go, Chadwick!” Dak shouted, chasing after Chadwick as he fled down the hallway.
Chadwick suddenly began furiously backpedaling, after seeing Martha coming towards him with a large butcher knife.
Dak pushed past Chadwick, screaming as he fearlessly tackled Martha to the ground. Chadwick, after seeing the sudden bold action of his friend, pounced on Martha immediately.
Martha shrieked in protest, as Chadwick wrestled the knife from her grasp.
“Don’t kill her! I don’t want to kill anyone!” Dak screamed, tears filling his eyes.
“We’re fuckin’ leavin’!” Chadwick exclaimed, holding the knife in front of his body.
Martha didn’t say a word. She just glared at the boys, her eyes projecting hatred in an immeasurable amount.
Wilbur stood at the far end of the hallway, watching the scene before him silently.
Dak and Chadwick bolted through the front door and turned down the road, continuing on in a full sprint until they found the end of Light Road. The two boys paused, after stepping onto Main Street. They looked back in silence. Their gaze finally settled on the lone street light, flickering on and off near the entrance of Light Road.
This spooky tale is loosely based on true events, surrounding a place that I’m intimately familiar with. Unbeknownst to us, there are things in this world that exist as shadows and soft whispers, drifting through our subconscious. Some choose to acknowledge their existence, whereas others choose to turn a blind eye to the strange and unusual. Beware of the things that go bump in the night, because spending an evening engaging in your curiosity, may just make it your last.-Charles Jonathon Truax
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