Thursday, October 5, 2017
Rest Stop - Horror flash fiction
I freely admit my vision was rounded by fatigue and my thinking muddled with the distance I had traveled that night, but there are things under heaven and earth whose form and being can cut to the soul of a man despite, or perhaps because of, his clouded perceptions. I steered my vehicle into the rest stop seeking respite from the road and to flex my aching limbs when my dimmed senses told me mine was the only car present. A not-so-uncommon occurrence, as any practiced traveler of rural New York byways will confess, but for some reason there was an odd discomfort at this discovery. I brought my vehicle to a stop and proceeded to exit. No sooner had I opened my door when the uneasiness suddenly increased. (With hindsight, I now place the strange discomfort in the realm of an ancient danger sense; a forgotten attribute from a time when man was vulnerable to threats beyond those of tooth and claw.) I wish I could blame my not fleeing on a tired mind, but honesty compels me to confess my pride would not allow me to act like a frightened child in a dark hallway. And so, I stepped out. The lights struck me first. They seemed to be casting only half their potential, but the shadows around me were full and sharp. Even the size of the restrooms seemed diminished somehow. It was as if the light was passing through something foreign it was unaccustomed to.
This is stupid, I chided myself. Stop it!
However, when the sound of the passing traffic fell upon my ears for the first time after taking several steps I felt real fear. The noise should have seemed only a few dozen yards away. Instead is sounded miles in the distance. I was instantly seized with a horrid sense of isolation. Not merely of being alone, but of being beyond reach.
Run! Flee! Flew through my mind as impulses without words. I stepped back toward my vehicle when motion caught my eye. I looked around never halting my retreat, frantic to find the unseen source, but saw nothing. Only when I felt the cool comfort of ordinary metal behind me did I turn. And thus, nearly died. For when I turned I met the gaze of a creature perched upon the roof of my car! Its dark thick-ridged body moved with small ripples from under what I think was skin. The worst of it was not the three legs it squatted upon, nor even the two-clawed pseudopodia that darted and swayed toward my face.
It was its eyes.
They shone with a dull bluish glow. They were almost square and set far apart as the singular feature of its broad, rounded head. They were fixed. They were intelligent. They saw me.
I screamed a guttural terror so great it felt my head would not contain it. The creature watched unmoved for an eternal instant before suddenly flowing up into the air without any visible means. As my eyes followed the apparition upwards a second sight sent me reeling. Indeed, it was this subsequent image that filled me as I sped away forever from that cursed spot, for when my thoughts are not staring into those glowing eyes they are fixed upon a night sky with two moons.