I present to you one more short story. I wrote this after I copied some prompts from Google, because I couldn’t decide about the topic on which I should write something. But I should also tell you that this is about 2500+ words and it’s a tad too long. But I like the ending.
So here was the prompt and the story.
PROMPT- Your character picks up a hitchhiker on her way home from work. The hitchhiker tries to persuade your character to leave everything and drive her across the country
As I get out of the office to the parking lot I remember I forgot my purse on my table. Hastily I run inside to get it back. Today’s day was proving to be more hectic than I thought. I thought it would be a great idea to work half day and then buy a present with all my six months savings in the evening. I’d drive around the corner and get the birthday cake and finally head home. It’s my daughter’s birthday. And I am currently off the schedule and I have to hurry.
I sit in my car and I begin to drive. She had wanted the 500 dollar Barbie house from so long. And I’ve been convincing her to at least wait till her birthday. Waiting for her birthday meant I could save some money from my more-work-but-less-paying job. But I can’t really complain though, it’s the best I could get after Jim died. Jim, my husband, died in a road accident while he was driving after he consumed alcohol. That’s what the cops told me. They didn’t even let me see him. Said his condition was very bad. I accepted this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life. I found a job as an assistant secretary in a not so profit making firm. this was after 2 months of sitting home without any income and borrowing money from my parents . I had no other choice besides working there.
I took a final left to reach the Toy Shop. I got out and bought that Barbie house she had been waiting for. It’s so huge I could fit a normal baby in it. I stared in shock as the shopkeeper loaded it to my car. Damn, it’s heavy!
Now the next stop is the bakery. I have to get the chocolate cake I pre-ordered for her. I keep it in the back seat. Pheeeww..I’m all set for home. Seeing my watch I notice it’s already 2 pm. She’s going to be really angry. I promised her to reach home by 12. I was driving my car the fastest I can follow every traffic rule. Then after driving for at least 10 minutes I see a huge traffic jam, and by huge I mean almost a mile long traffic jam. Now I have to take the highway. I turned my car with the greatest difficulty and after listening to almost everyone scream at me I headed for the highway.
The highway looks good. No sign of a car at all. Weird I never saw it to be this quiet. I remember coming with Jim sometimes and it was hustling with the noise of the horns and engines of cars.
I turn on the radio and browse for my favorite channel. I grab the handle with one hand and change the channels with the other hand. As soon as I get back to driving I see a woman standing at the edge of the road waving her hand. Suddenly without any thought I stop the car. She looks like a decent lady, might as well check what she wants.
“I think I’m lost. Could you drop me to any nearest bus station?” She said.
“Oh, of course! Hop in.” I told her.
“Hi, I’m Andy. Thank you for the ride.”
“Oh, don’t worry. I’m Mary. Mary Parker. I was going the same way. The bus station just comes in the way.”
She picked up her bag and put it in the back seat. She had blonde hair. I guessed she was rich because her hair was perfect and shiny. She was white as a marble and she shone, shone like a star. I know that’s funny, but she did.
“So you’re going to a birthday party?”
“Oh yeah. It’s my daughter’s birthday today. She turned 11.”
I drove on and I had no idea what to talk to her about. By the looks it looked like she would know more than me. I kept quiet and drove on for another half minute.
“What do you do?” She asked.
“Umm..I work as a secretary at the Washington firm.” I didn’t want to tell her I’m the assistant secretary.
She’s getting weirder. What’s interesting in that?
“Would you listen to me please?”
“Yes. What’s the matter?”
“Stop the car.”
“What? Why should I-”
“You heard me. Stop the car.”
By the time she spoke the sentence her eyes were bloodshot red. Seeing her only scared me. Who was she? Why did I pick her up?
I unwillingly stopped the car. But my hand rested on the keys. If by chance she is playing any prank I can resume my driving.
“Now turn back and take me to Hampton. NOW!”
“Why do you ask so many questions? Just do what I say.” Now her eyes were tensed and her nostrils were blaring with madness. I could see it in her eyes. She was mad. Truly mad.
“Okay but my daughter is waiting-”
“Your daughter? Forget her. Take me to Hampton.”
“Forget her? Are you insane? She’s alone in the house. I have to go.”
I didn’t care if she was mad. My daughter was alone. That’s what matters.
“Don’t you play with me. I said DRIVE. NOW.”
I started the car and I was thinking of ways to tackle her. Yes, I have my phone. There’s my mom on speed dial. But she can’t do anything except calling the cops. Cops! I have their number on speed dial too! I could-
My thoughts were cut off by a noise. She was searching my purse.
“Hey! Give me my purse back!”
“No I will not.”
She threw the whole purse outside. It had my ID, my passport and my mobile. From my rear view mirror I saw it getting crushed by another car.
Now what? I had to think. She’s way madder than I thought her to be.
She started opening her bag. I peeked a little to what she was doing. She pulled out a scarf and covered her head. Then she put on sunglasses. Clever. I know what she was trying to do. There was a toll booth coming. She was hiding herself from the security cameras.
“Just drive by. And without doing anything pay them.”
She gave me a dollar. I took that. What does she really want from me?
I reached the booth and I handed the dollar. They gave me a receipt. I thought maybe they’ll ask about this anonymous personality sitting with me. But they didn’t. They’re not airport security. They don’t care who’s travelling with you. I cringed from this thought.
“What do you want from me? What have I done?” I asked. It’s too much. I was curious.
“No need to get comfy here, my dear. Just drive.”
“Do I get to go back when I drop you off at Hampton?”
“Who said anything about dropping me off?” She had her meanest grin on. I swear I could have slap her. I could have.
“What will I do then?”
“Questions. Questions. They are a waste of time. They don’t get you anywhere.”
“JUST BLOODY TELL ME WHY?”
“Don’t you dare swear in front of me. It’s a pity that I left your daughter. Or else going to her funeral was the only thing you could do.”
“Why are you bringing my daughter into this? Please I beg you. Tell me.”
As soon as I said this she grabbed a chunk of my hair.
That was hurting so bad. Suddenly my joy ride was becoming my pain ride.
I drove on. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t want to. She was clearly not interested to hear a word from me and I was not going to get beaten up. So I stayed quiet. As long as I could.
I thought maybe I could think of anything to get rid of her. Phone. Gone. My license. Gone.
This was going to be difficult. How could I get away without raising any suspicion on me? The cops won’t believe me. I have to think of something really powerful. No risks at all.
“So, do you have a family?”
“Who said you can speak now? Huh?”
“I was just asking. I don’t like driving quietly.”
No answer. But I could feel her beside me. She was shivering. Shivering with anger. I decided not to take this far. She doesn’t respond to emotional stuff. Next plan. I could think of nothing. This was making me regret not paying attention to the emergency class in my high school. I could have used a few tricks here.
“Why Hampton? Why not kill me now and take my money? Oh, wait. You don’t want the money. Do you? Or you wouldn’t have thrown away my purse.”
“Killing you would be too easy. Crime now needs a stricter punishment than death.”
“Crime? What crime?”
“You can’t force me to speak lady. I’m the boss here. So just drive and shut up.”
Crime? I couldn’t remember anything wrong I would’ve done. My mind started to wander to any bad deed I did. Nope. Not a single one. Oh wait, I once mixed salt in my friend’s water bottle. That doesn’t count as a crime. Or does it?
“Hey just tell me.”
“Whoa…look who’s ordering me now.” She again clutched my hair. Oh how I hated her.”Don’t speak.”
“Okay. Okay.” If I want to mess with her I want something solid. And she had the physique of a man and yet feminine. Strong and yet beautiful.
A minute later I guess she got bored of just sitting. That’s why she moved a bit on her seat. Then she finally spoke. And I wished she had not.
“Now I think maybe you’re getting bored. Why not play a game? And I don’t want to listen a No.”
I simply looked at her. Is this a game to her? What if this proves more fatal? Anyway I didn’t have a choice.
“I take that as a yes. So you ask me a question about yourself and I’ll answer it. Let’s see how much I know about you. Ready?”
What us this now. Now I’m not going to say anything.
“Ask. You wanted to ask questions. Here we are.”
Still I said nothing. I concentrated on driving. And thinking of a possible plan, of course.
“Never mind. I’ll start myself. Okay…what’s your full name? Mary Elizabeth Parker. Right? ”
So what? Anyone could have known my full name.
“Next question. Where did you go for your high schooling? Canada.”
This is also a general question. She’s mad thinking I might be scared by all this crap.
“Next. Who was the girl you pushed off the cliff during your summer camp? Lily Smith. Am I right?”
Two things happened at the same time. I was shocked hearing her name and I saw here smiling at me.
“Wha-what did you just say?”
“You heard me right. Lily Smith. Junior year. You and your friend Alex were talking, rather secretly. Then you spotted Lily and you went to say Hi. And then you took her to a cliff and told her to see the scenic view. It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?”
That day. I remember well.
“It’s so beautiful, isn’t it? Go and take a look.” I said while laughing hard at the same time.
“No I’m fine here. And I’m a little afraid of heights.” Lily has said sheepishly. She didn’t wanted to look scared among us.
“Go on. You’re as scared as a baby.”
“No. I think I’ll go.”
“Go where? To your mommy?” I still remember the laugh. I and Alex laughed at her. We laughed at poor Lily. She was just a kid. She was studious though. We always stole her homework. And she was so kind hearted, she let us keep it.
But that day, I was in no mood for sympathy.
I pushed her a little. Waiting to see her reaction. What will she do now? And before I knew she fell off. She fell off and died. The newspapers were flooded with her photos. I was sick of seeing her. So I convinced my parents to take me to any other place. So I left Canada and all those memories. But this very second it all came back.
“What happened now? I told you what you were asking for. Tell me now. Do you remember it?”
“It was an accident.” I was speaking in such a low voice that I could tell she was thinking I was muttering something to myself.
“IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!” This time my words got her attention.
“It was not an accident. You know it. And Alex also knew this.”
“Alex? You met her?”
“I didn’t just meet her. I sent her somewhere far away.”
A wave of shock tore through me. Sent here somewhere far away. This is what she wants. But she’ll never give me a silent death. I was the culprit. I pushed her that day.
“How did you know this?”
“That’s nothing you need to know.”
“What’s in Hampton? I promise I’ll surrender myself.”
“Why now? Why not then? Why did you run away scared like a baby? Huh? Did she deserve that?”
“I know I’m sorry.” I started sobbing so hard my necks ached and my tears blurred my vision. And I was continuously driving.
“If sorry could bring her back.” She now had her head down on her laps, her hands holding her head for support. It was like she was too suffering. More than me, I guess.
“What do you want from me?”
“Nothing. Stop the car.”
We were at the bridge. Where would she go from here? That was strange. I stopped the car. She got out and started walking without saying a word. What should I do? Drive home now?
I started to take a U-turn. And what I saw was horrifying and I couldn’t forget it till now. The image lingers in my memory and it doesn’t let me have a peaceful sleep. The lady, I didn’t know who she was, she looked at me and jumped off the bridge.
Seeing her I totally lost it. She didn’t kill my body. She killed me that day. I sat there looking at the spot where she was just standing a minute ago. Several minutes later cops and an ambulance came. I guess someone called an ambulance because I was frozen in the car in the middle of a highway. They came and asked me a few questions. I couldn’t answer any one of them. They took me to the hospital. The doctors announced I had no physical pain or wound. It was all inside me. It was all inside my brain. They sent me here. To the psychiatric centre. I didn’t even remember my daughter. What day was it? I was sitting there without a movement. Then after the shock therapy I returned from my trance. They told I had gone into a state that got triggered by seeing something or someone. How could I tell them what I saw and what it meant.
That day I saw Lily die. Yes I saw her die again. If that’s possible.