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Night Rider

A chilling tale

By Earl GreyPublished 5 years ago 4 min read
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I often drive when it’s dark, not particularly late at night, though during the winter when the days grow shorter. My commute home from work takes me around forty minutes down country roads where I live, in a remote area.

I know the route well, I have traveled down it day and night. I know every bump, pothole, unexpected turn and bend. Until one particular night when I drove home later than I ever had before.

I stayed late one night at work, waiting for a colleague who had recently moved to another department. We had planned to go for drinks for a while now, but due to alternate shifts we never seemed to finish at the same time, or have the same days off. One night I decided I would wait for him to finish his shift a little later. We drove into town, and stopped off at a quiet bar to have a drink and a good meal. We spent most of the night talking about what it was like in the new department, and laughing about good memories working together, mixed with some light-hearted gossip about co-workers.

Come the end of the night, I dropped him off at the train station just before the last train leaves as he lived some distance away from our workplace too. We sat in the car outside the station for a while as we waited for the train to come, saying goodbye and setting off on my journey just past midnight.

Five minutes into my drive, I leave the last traffic lights of the town behind and hit the country roads. Some of the way is lit by road lights with intermittent intervals of darkness, I beam my headlights to light the road ahead of me, my phone connected to the Bluetooth speaker in my car, playing the ‘recommended’ songs playlist based on my previous listening habits.

Ten minutes into my drive and I’m singing along to an Elvis Presley track that’s playing at high volume. I know I’m not a good singer, but I didn’t care. I was alone in my car, traveling at high speeds down seemingly abandoned roads. Very little traffic came this way so late at night.

Twenty minutes into my drive, the songs had drifted to a mellow beat, likely taking inspiration from the calming music I generally play before going to sleep. I am starting to feel tired from the long hours at work, the wait for my friend to finish his shift, the long night of laughing and joking around in the bar and the hot meal I had consumed filling my stomach. I was so ready to get home and curl up in my bed. "Not much farther now, I am over half way home" I thought...

My body was on auto-drive, it knows the turns, the position of the car to avoid the potholes. My mind wandered as the soothing, mellow music drowned my ears. I approached a junction leading onto the road I was driving, the bright road lights begin to widen my vision, and there, in the corner of my eye a person moving closer to the car from the junction. I swerved out slightly to avoid impact, but I saw them, a blurry figure moved through the side of my car.

I panicked, hitting the breaks, and preparing to stop the car but… I continued driving, there was no sound, no impact on the side of the vehicle. If something was there it did not hit the car. I looked in my rear view mirror. Nothing or no one in sight, just an empty road lit by the road light.

My heart raced as my mind made sense of what just happened. A trick of the light? It must have been. If I had hit something I would have heard or felt something! I was too scared to go back and look again. There was no way someone was there so late at night. There were no footpaths or buildings near that junction. A trick of the light for sure!

Thirty minutes into my drive and I felt myself growing calmer. I had puzzled it out enough, and the blurry figure felt almost a shadow cast by the road light. It was a sound explanation. The music in my car was by this time… Gone. Why had the music stopped? The recommended songs playlist was endless, an algorithm designed to constantly feed you music similar to your tastes.

I quickly checked my phone, no signal. Strange, I had never had an issue with it before in this area. Perhaps a network issue with my provider? It must have been.

Thirty Five minutes into my drive and I heard it. A soft, almost silent breath from directly behind my seat. I looked quickly, flinching forward to avoid it. The back was empty. I quickly looked back at the road, swerving once more, this time to correct myself from drifting over to the oncoming lane. Panicking again I looked frantically between the road and my rear-view mirror, this time searching the backseat of my car. I saw nothing, but that sound… Surely not another trick of the mind. It wasn’t just a random noise, it was too distinctive. The air in the car had gotten thick and warm. I turned on my air con as it got harder to breathe the muggy air, pulled the window open to circulate the air from within the car, but instead of the air blowing into the vehicle from outside, a gust escaped from the back seat, a cold, icy chill forcing the hairs on my arms to prick up.

I was almost home. I turned into the drive and jumped out of my car. I hastily moved toward my front door as the car began to creek...

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About the Creator

Earl Grey

Twitter @EarlGreyNT

Contact: [email protected]

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