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My Soul to take II

by Iosefa Manu 6 months ago in fiction · updated 6 months ago
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Road Trip

I still had fond memories of my trip to Spain. A smile creased my lips then my eyes began to well.

The stray dog—

I remembered that day especially. Amazing—nearly a year had elapsed, and I could still remember that dog. Such a horrific way to leave this world—alone. At least I provided some comfort for that poor soul. I remember staring into its eyes and seeing a soul, a very sad and humble one.

I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but that creature reminded me a lot about Thomas, or Sir Thomas. Sir Thomas was a stray cat my mother brought home when I was a kid. I just loved that cat so much. Long story short, that cat saved my life—literally. Then, one day, he was gone.

Forever.

Oddly, though—staring into that dog’s eyes brought back memories of Thomas.

Then again, I’m just a silly girl from the city.

What did I know?

This summer break, I was taking a road trip to see my folks; they lived out in Florida. Although cost efficient, it was that rebellious side of me who wanted an adventure.

I had been out on the road for a few hours and those growling sounds were not a dog.

Stretch

I reached out my arms toward the heavens, letting out a yawn then shook out my legs, traversing from one side of the parking lot to the next. I breathed in deeply, exhaling that nice fresh air. I was so grateful to be out of the hustle and the bustle of the big city.

Even the air smelled better here, which was another reason to use this road trip as an excuse rather than taking a plane.

Despite my father’s reservations of a single woman traveling alone half way across America, I felt like my ancestors, venturing uncharted territories back in the days where horses were used for transportation.

I think this newer age was spoiled with their entitlement and poor me attitude. Yeah, I’m one to talk, though being a Millennial myself.

What can I say?

I wasn’t raised that way. My father came from a proud Irish heritage and taught me to stand up for myself, so I frequented the local boxing gym when I was a child. He wanted a boy, but got a girl instead, so he instilled that fighting spirit in me whether I liked it or not.

My mother’s Scandinavian, so both of my great, great, grand parents were immigrants, and they helped build this country with grit and courage.

I just cringed back in college, being accused of White Privilege, especially from astute students who studied History.

I digress.

The bottom line was I’m an adventurer, and I came from a long line of adventurers in my family tree, which was what I was going to need eating in this dive—

The bell chimed, announcing my arrival. The scent of bacon, wafting in the air was oddly familiar and enticing.

I grabbed a seat at the counter, being that I was alone and didn’t need an entire booth to myself.

This rundown establishment was indeed a trucker’s paradise as I surveyed the room. Upon first glance, the clientele were predominantly truckers as I smiled and kept my city girl comments to myself.

“What will it be, hon?” said the waitress, chewing watermelon, bubble gum, staring at her miniature note pad, tapping her right toe.

“Can I start with a cup of coffee—Beth?” I said, squinting at her name tag.

Beth returned this gesture with a smile as she ambled over toward the end of the counter, pouring a cup of coffee and returned with that same smile before answering, “Do you need a little bit more time?”

“Oh no—not at all. I’m actually quite famished,” I said, hoping that would illicit a more friendly response from Beth.

It didn’t.

Beth just replied, “Well, c’mon then child before it’ll be lunch time.”

“Sure—can I have the Breakfast Special then?”

“White or wheat?”

“I beg your pardon—oh wait a minute, wheat please.”

“How do you want your eggs?”

“Scrambled?” I said, looking up and reconnecting eye contact with Beth; she actually had a smile on her face, albeit briefly, though.

But, at this particular juncture, any act of kindness in this place would suffice, so I reciprocated with a warm smile of my own.

After Beth yelled in my order, which was no exaggeration—she literally just yelled out my order then bolted to the back.

If I were to make an assumption, I would most likely be correct by saying she went on a smoke break. After all, she smelt like a garbage bag filled with used cigarette buds.

“Oh—don’t mind her,” said a sonorous voice behind me.

I turned around to see this monster of a man standing just a few feet away.

Social Distance please?!

I smirked and twisted my chair back around.

“Is this seat open?” said the man with a deep voice.

“Umm … sure,” I said, hoping Beth would hurry up and return to her job. Otherwise, I’d be left to entertain the lumberjack, which I really didn’t want to do.

“Beth gets a little cranky every now and then, but she means well when you get to know her better.”

You’re still talking? Like seriously, dude?!

I tried not to look directly into his eyes, so I smiled instead, averting my gaze elsewhere. Maybe my lack of participation would shut him up.

“See you around, Chuck,” said another patron, patting the big guy on his shoulder as he exited.

So, Chuck was this thick-headed, Neanderthal’s name? This situation was getting more cliche by the second. As he gazed at the menu, I crossed my fingers a million times in my head, hoping and praying to eat in peace and get back out on the road.

“Here you go, child,” said Beth, placing a plate on the countertop as she added, “Let me fill you up there, sweetie,” pouring hot coffee into my cup and then an empty cup next to it, saying, “Here you go, hon.”

“Thank you, Beth,” said Chuck, reaching for that cup, taking a sip before adding, “My usual.”

“Sure, sweetie,” said Beth, smiling before shouting, “ONE LUMBERJACK!”

I nearly spewed out the contents in my mouth, coughing hysterically, trying not to draw attention to myself.

Too late.

“You okay, miss,” said Chuck genuinely concerned for my well-being.

I continued to cough, trying to play it off, answering in a raspy voice, “I’ll be fine—thank you.”

Despite my first impressions of the place, the food was quite good. And, Beth and I kind of warmed up toward the end of my meal, or she was just milking me for a tip. Whatever the case was, I felt revived and ready to conquer another long stretch of road before sundown. At least, that was my goal today. If I stuck to it, I’d reach my parent’s place just before the weekend.

Several hours later, I made up good time, so I wanted to push myself a little further. Besides, I wasn’t tired. If I kept at this pace, I’d reach Florida a full day earlier than anticipated, which would all but alleviate my father’s worries.

Last stop for miles, I thought to myself, filling up my gas tank, glancing over at the motel across the street.

I felt a Norman Bates kind of vibe, which creeped me out about the place and figured I’d be better off on the road. Maybe when I reach the next major city, I’d rent a hotel, catching up on my Z’s, but Bates Motel was definitely out of the question. Plus, I read somewhere that rundown hotels were a haven for bedbugs. Just what I needed?

I’ll drive through the night. If I get tired, I’ll just pull off on the side of the road. Besides, I had my pepper spray in the glove compartment and a baseball bat in the backseat. I never traveled anywhere without my trusty companions.

Around midnight, my eyes really started to weigh heavy on me. But, I was in the middle of nowhere. For miles around, it was just an endless stretch of road in either direction. Bates Motel was starting to look more appealing at this particular juncture.

C’mon?! Man up, girl! You got this!

I cranked up the volume and the AC, which kind of worked. But, not really.

Okay! Just a few minutes—power nap, girl. That’s all you need.

I felt the low rumble of my engine as I gradually veered my vehicle off to the side of the road then parked.

I must’ve been more tired than I thought because the next thing I remembered was a loud thumping sound on my window. I instinctively opened my eyes only to close them immediately from a bright light shining directly at me.

“Ma’am, step out of the vehicle,” said a male’s voice from where the light was beaming.

“Hold on, sir,” I said, trying to make sense of everything.

Police?

As I went to roll down the window, common sense struck me like a lightning bolt.

Where’s the flashy lights?

Routine stops required that much at least.

“What’s the problem, sir?” I shouted.

“You need to exit your vehicle, now! I’m not going to ask you again.”

“No. Show me your badge.”

“Get out!”

I jammed my key back into the ignition and started up my vehicle. I put it into gear and just bolted. I heard a loud explosion as my back windows shattered into smithereens. I didn’t pay any mind to the window. Maybe he threw a rock at it. I’d figure it out when I get into the city.

With my foot glued to the floor, I was well over a hundred miles per hour.

Good!

Maybe the real police would stop me. But there was nothing.

Not seeing another vehicle on the road, I dropped the speed to 80mph, gradually declining, giving my engine a moment to cool down.

I felt a burning sensation in my upper left shoulder. As I reached over, I felt a puddle of liquid as my entire shirt was drenched. The lights were off, so I couldn’t see anything at first. I was more so stunned at the whole ordeal that I didn’t notice the excruciating sensation emitting from my shoulder. Then, my arm started to go numb.

What the hell?!

Finally, I just switched on the light to see what was going on.

“Oh my God!” I blurted out.

My entire shirt was saturated with blood—my blood!

I nearly veered off the road when I saw all that blood gushing out like faucet. I needed to pull over and patch it up.

Just as that thought crossed my mind, I noticed two beams of light off in the distance.

“You’ve got to be shitting me,” I said, breathy.

I refocused, keeping eyes fixed on the road. I’d just have to get into the next town then I’ll get help. I scoured the dash board before fixing my gaze on the time.

Three o’clock—Christ?!

No one would be up at this time. The other option would be to just drive until daylight. Then, I’d find the nearest gas station. As long as I was driving and in front of this psychopath, I’d be safe. With only two maybe three more hours before daylight, I was fairly optimistic about my chances.

As my energy faded, though, I began to rethink this strategy.

I was in shock and by the looks of it, losing blood rapidly. At this rate, I wasn’t going to last another thirty minutes before passing out.

The lights were getting closer.

And closer.

—Closer.

Shit?! Shit?! Shit!

I banged my hands on the steering wheel.

I was already reaching high eighties, and the vehicle was still gaining on me.

Tears filled my eyes as I tried to keep it together, but it was looking grim with each passing second.

The lights were now beaming directly behind me as I felt a nudge from behind, jolting me forward as my head bounced off the steering wheel.

“Stop it!” I shouted, adding, “Auurrgghh! What do you want?”

The vehicle pulled along side of me then smashed into me, causing me to go off the road onto rocky pastures. For a split second, I lost control over the vehicle as I tried desperately to get back onto the main road.

But the maniac wouldn’t budge. Every time I tried to merge back onto the road, I was met with a violent impact, sending me back onto the dirt field, which was reeking havoc on my wheels.

As I struggled maneuvering along that rocky exterior of a landscape, I heard an explosion. My fears quadrupled, realizing I was slowing down substantially as if trudging through mud. I kept going out of desperation until the other tires expired, and I was stuck.

I glanced over at the main road only to see that maniac slow down and pull off to the side of the road. I reached over to my glove box, grabbing my pepper spray then slid my hand over, picking up my bat.

He had a gun. I had a bat. And, I was injured. With the odds stacked against me, I had no other choice. I opened the door and slid out. I noticed he hadn’t gotten out of his car yet. He just sat there in his vehicle, watching me.

There was no place to run. Most of the time, I considered myself quite smart. At this point, not that much, though. I figured I was already dead, so I was going out on my terms, not his.

He wasn’t getting some defenseless damsel in distress.

You’re going to have to kill me—you demented fuck!

“What are you waiting for?” I screamed.

I heard the car door open and footsteps clashed against the asphalt.

“You’re making it so much worse for yourself,” said an eerie voice, taking a pause, relishing in this moment before continuing, “All you had to do was get out of your car—and, you couldn’t even do that. Now, you want me to chase you. Well, guess what? I love the chase!”

Then, he ambled toward my direction. I knew my bat had no chance against his gun, so arming myself with it would be futile. Rather, catching him off guard before he could get a shot off might be the only opportunity I’d have to escape.

Patience.

Just a little bit closer.

Each footstep quickened my heart beat. I could almost see his face behind the silhouette.

—Now!

Just as he reached for his gun, I swung that bat with all of my might, knocking it clear out from his grip.

Then, I reached into my pocket, pulling out my pepper spray, squeezing down.

“Arghh!” he screamed out.

I brought up my bat again to swing one more time, but he caught my wrist then tripped me, slamming me into the ground.

“You’re dead, bitch,” he whispered into my ear then pulled out a knife.

My life flashed before my eyes.

Then, a loud eruption exploded and the knife plunging toward my chest fell flat. Directly afterward, a body came barreling down on top of me—lifeless. I pushed him off then tried to get back to my feet, but my legs weren’t cooperating as I keeled over.

I must’ve drifted off because I couldn’t piece together missing fragments of time.

I should be dead.

But, I wasn’t. I was still breathing.

“Ma’am, are you okay?” said a deep voice.

I looked up, gazing directly into this person’s eyes and whispered, “Thomas?”

fiction

About the author

Iosefa Manu

I write to let the demons out.

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