For the second time Nancy peeked at the rearview mirror and saw the red sports car still behind her. What the hell, she thought. She’d driven her beat-up Ford truck down the whole length of the main thoroughfare of North Conway before she realized that the car was following her. It mimicked her every move, from lane switches to running a red light. Her stomach lurched and a bead of sweat broke out on her brow. She gripped the steering wheel tighter.
For the past fifteen or so miles, it stayed two car lengths behind. Nancy couldn’t make out the driver; it was to dark to see anyone distinguishable. Probably just kids playing around, she thought switching lanes again. A glance in the mirror showed the red car did too. When the car inched closer, her heart skipped a beat. Instinctively she pressed on the accelerator pedal and her rattling old truck sped up, as did the car behind her.
She should pull over, but where? Everything’s closed. It was after two in the morning. Dammit, she didn’t need juvenile games right now. Exhausted physically and mentally she should’ve already been home. The ICU ward had been quiet all night but right at the end of her shift a patient had gone bad. Which sucked as she had to stay until the patient was stabilized then give notes to the next nurse. It was one thirty before she walked out of the hospital and jumped into the truck, now she had to deal with this sonofabitchin stalker behind her. No, she really didn’t need this right now.
Fumbling through her purse she pulled out her cell phone. A quick glance showed she had no reception. “Great! Just fuckin great.” Not that she had anyone she could call but to dial 911 for help would’ve been nice. God, it was ludicrous to even own a cell out here in the mountains. The reception was poor, if not obsolete in most places, but the hospital said as a per-diem nurse she had to have one. She needed the job and made the trip to Wally-world and bought the pay-as-u-go cheap model. Perhaps the souped up phones with a major network would work better but she couldn’t afford one of them. Starting over was hard enough without additional expenses.
The truck’s muffler backfired as she made her usual nightly turn onto Brownfield Road. A bright light beamed into her eyes from the mirror. Bastard, she cursed, flipping the mirror up. The car was directly behind her now with his high beams on. Her hand trembled as she reached out to crank the music up a notch. Music soothed her and she hoped the static-filled sounds of easy listening would help calm her nerves. Another forty minutes she’d be home, safe and sound. As the truck shimmied along, she hoped it wouldn’t conk out. This wasn’t a stretch of road to break down on. There were, maybe, six houses along this road; the rest was the outskirts of the White Mountains National Forest.
During the day it was a pretty road with amazing scenery: woods, water and glimpses of mountains off in the distance. At night, it was creepy scary; dark as pitch, with occasional rolling fog banks that fueled your imagination into anxiety-ridden overdrive. Then, of course, she thought, you had the occasional animal that darted out behind tall pines. That always jolted her heart into beating irregular rhythms. She always swerved to avoid them and prayed she didn’t end up in a ditch as she knew there wasn’t a soul around to help. As she drove, her eyes glanced to the sides of the road and the inky blackness beyond. This road at night always pushed her panic button and with this freak behind her playing games… Yeah, she was fast on her way to becoming scared shitless.
With her prayer to God sent and repeated twice, for good measure, she wondered if she should turn around and go the long way home. Route 113 was at least a main road, she thought. Decisions, decisions. The thought of trying to turn around here in the dark, backtrack and then drive the extra hour or so out to Fryeburg then down route 5 to 160 to Brownfield, Maine, didn’t thrill her. It was fifty-fifty, half dozen of the other; either way she was going to be on dark, deserted roads. Going this way was the fastest and most direct route to home.
Another glance into the rearview mirror showed the car behind her had pulled quite a distance back. The headlamps were little white orbs now and thankfully, not on high beams. Oh sweet Jesus thank you! She sighed in relief. At least the car wasn’t on her ass now. Perhaps the driver had given up whatever game they were playing. People are fucking idiots. Just like to screw with ya whenever they can. Nancy yawned as exhaustion took its toll. Another thirty minutes she’d be home, curled up in bed and fast asleep. She just had to get there, and as long as the dickwad behind her stayed that far back, then she was fine.
~ ~ ~
Anytime now, he thought. That fan belt should let loose and she’ll have to pull over. He laughed. Stupid bitch. Women were bitches and deserved to die. Especially this one: Nancy Dumond, RN. So stupid, doesn’t even have a man to fuck, keep her company and take care of her. He could’ve been her man but she didn’t want him. Refused him. Said she couldn’t date him, company policy. Liar, cunt! He knew why. “I could’ve treated you right bitch!”
Now she would have to pay. They were all going to pay. What he did had been accident, but what they did to him was wrong. He tapped his finger on the steering wheel as he drove then laughed when he saw the lights dim on the truck. The sickly-sweet, burnt smell of anti-freeze wafted through his open window. “Its show time baby,” he muttered as he accelerated the car and sped past her doing about sixty.
That should make her feel at ease knowing I passed, especially since her truck is about to die. He cackled. Just like her, he thought. He drove about five miles up the road then slowed down as he came to the sharp bend then steered his car to the shoulder and waited about ten minutes. When the bitch didn’t come around the bend, he knew the truck was dead and she’d be stupid as woman were. He’d double-back and find her in front of the truck with the hood open. Just the way I want her.
Turning around he put on his high beams and drove at a normal pace until he saw the orange hazard lights blinking in the darkness through the trees. A grin crept over his face as he came closer and saw her in front of the truck waving her arms to signal for help. Stupid, stupid bitch. He maneuvered the car to the other side of the road and slowed it down to a crawl. Her arms were up shielding her face as the car’s high beam lights were blinding. In the brightness she wouldn’t know this car was the one that had been following her.
When he was about four feet away he turned the high beams off. His laughter filled the night air as he took in her shocked, wide-eyed look then her frantic move to get away but it was took late for the little frightened doe, he gunned the accelerator pinning her to the truck, breaking her legs and crushing her pelvis. Listen to the bitch scream, he thought as Nancy’s screams rent through the air. To anyone who might’ve been listening, it sounded like an animal in extreme pain but he knew nobody would go out in this dark to inspect. Too many bears, moose, mountain cats and wolves.
The girls face was tear-stained and ashen as she howled in pain and desperation. Her torso was lying on the hood of the car and she thumped her hands over and over; pleading and begging. You want me to release you? Ease your pain? Do you bitch? Ohhh honey, it only hurts for a little bit. Cunt! He knew Nancy’s nerve endings in her legs were cut off by the pressure of the car on them. Oh, but they would come alive and wrack her body in horrible pain when he backed up.
He put the car in reverse, took his foot off the brake and tapped the gas pedal. Through the window he saw Nancy’s mouth open wide at the intensity of the searing pain as her nerves endings pulsed with burning fire. He laughed when her piercing shriek of agony filled the air. It hurts doesn’t it Nancy? Her body slowly fell off the hood and crumbled to a heap on the ground. He backed the car up a distance then got out and walked towards her.
His boots clopped on the asphalt and she’d heard him coming. He watched as she tried to pull her mangled body away from him. One leg twisted outward in the opposite direction and the other showed bone protruding from behind her knee. Nancy moaned and cried with every move she made her useless legs and hips got her no where. She was gulping in air as he stood over her. Get all the air you need. That’s it deep breaths. He bent down and grabbed her by the hair wrenching her head back so she could see his face. He wanted her to see him. To see what he had become because of her. She swung her head back and forth fighting him until he tightened his grip then slammed her head into the pavement. “Look at me bitch! Look at me!”
Her eyes blinked then opened wide in horror as she recognized who he was. He grinned and she vomited. “I told you I’d be back.” He picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He was going into his zone now. Opening the truck’s door he tossed her in, then sat her upright, belting her in place. He didn’t register her screams of pain or the begging and pleading. He didn’t feel her punches against his body. He didn’t care about nothing when he was in his happy place. The only thing he cared about right now was showing her what hell looked like. He walked to the trunk of the car, pulled out a red container then went back to the truck. He began pouring the contents of the container over the girl, unfazed by her screams of terror and tears. He was smiling and humming. This was his happy place and he couldn’t wait to see how she liked it. With the contents gone he slammed the door shut.
Nancy shook her head no as she mouthed the words. He grinned as he lit the long wooden match. She screamed as he tossed the match into the cab. The crooked smile never left his face as the cab became engulfed in flames. He watched as her body jerked and spasmed as the flames licked then consumed her body. It wouldn’t be long before the flames reached the truck’s gas tank. He had to leave. Shame he wouldn’t be around when they pulled her charred remains out of the burnt skeleton of a truck, but now she knew. Nancy now knew what it felt like to be burned.
Not to be reprinted, photocopied, or redistributed in any form without express consent from the author: S.A.Hussey.