Stan had been driving for two days now. He was tired and exhausted, but determined. The rain, which had picked up around Alamogordo, still hadn’t let up. It was dark now and the rain was relentless. Stan knew it was bad; his eyes would drift off, his lids would shut and then he’d recover his car from the shoulder.
The next exit, he thought to himself, Just make it to the next exit.
11:59 read the green digits of his dashboard; his radio had gone out on him within that first day of travel. He watched as it turned from 11:59 to 12:00. He blinked repeatedly as he grabbed his cold, Alamogordo coffee; the temperature was the same as when he ordered it. He took his final swig and it was, Cold… to the last drop; he humored his mind.
There it was, The next exit.
He pulled off onto the ramp and exited the highway; he came to a stop sign and skidded to a stop. He looked left and saw nothing in the rain and dark. He looked right and witnessed the same. In front of him was the on-ramp. That’s the last thing he wants; so he tells himself. He turns right, drives about an hundred yards and pulls off on the shoulder.
This will suffice, he rationalizes, Just for a few hours.
He sleeps. It rains.
He wakes. His ears pulse as if they had just heard a loud, high-pitched noise.
He looks out his driver side window; the road, the rain and darkness. Stan rubs his eyes and leans forward, resting his head on his hands of which are at 11:00 and 1:00.
A woman screams.
Stan is awake, wide awake. He looks out his windshield, nothing. He grabs for his headlights and turns his dome light on by mistake, he winces in pain and turns them off. He flips his headlights on and a woman is running at his car, she collides into his hood and the figure behind her grabs her long, blond hair. It pulls her back and Stan sees her face has been bludgeoned; a jagged slice across the left side of her face claimed her eye. Despite the rain, the blood has managed to stain her white dress. The figure quickly finishes the job before Stan can react; it slits her throat in one quick motion of a kitchen knife, but holds it in her neck. The young girl gags and jerks until the last bit of her life has drained. The figure removes the knife and drops the limp body onto the hood and quickly pulls her dress up, as if to gratify himself more. Stan snaps, starts the engine and throws it into reverse. He peels back from the figure, the girl still on his hood. He carelessly turns the steering wheel and stomps his break, sending his car around in circles; the girl’s body slides up the hood and the last thing Stan sees before it flies up over his windshield and rolls across the top of his car is her face.
Eventually, the car comes to a halt; Stan throws the car into drive and pulls away (this time with more caution than before). He drives toward the on-ramp, heart pounding. He screams and hits his steering wheel. His windshield wipers toss the rain and blood to the road passing by. He looks frantically for the on-ramp, It was right here, he tells himself. Suddenly there is a change in the road. It feels much rougher now.
I’m going the wrong way.
Stan stops and looks around; lightening strikes abruptly and reveals that the road has ended and he has driven off into the desert. He pushes the gas and turns around to his left; he quickly sees something shine in his face and then a crash. His head throws forward and hits the horn. He looks out and sees that he has struck a parked car; his headlights reveal a passenger. It is quickly recognizable that the passenger has met the grizzly figure up the road, for his throat is slashed and once again the left eye is missing.
Stan shifts to reverse, but as he does he hears thunder strike along with the sound of shattering glass. He feels pressure on his chin and chest; the pressure violently knocks him against his seat. In searching for his dome light, he turns his headlights off; he then quickly finds the dome light next.
Buckshot has been scattered across his chest and undoubtedly his chin as well, but he cannot investigate with his eyes for the mirror was taken out with the windshield. Stan reaches for his chin and discovers there isn’t much left. He screams and panics. His door opens. Stan turns and looks just in time to see the knife coming for his face.
4:18, the figure was tired and exhausted, but determined.