A Halloween-ish Short Story

It was a dark and stormy night, and Dan and Carol were on their way home from a party for Dan’s work.

“Don’t the wipers go up higher?” Carol asked, squinting as she leaned toward the windshield.

“Yeah, they go up a lot higher, but I’m keeping them low because I hate to see the road,” Dan said.

“Oh, good,” she said, “I wasn’t sure but I just wanted to — -” the car screeched, and then ground slowly to a stop. “Oh my god, are we out of gas?”

Dan put his head against the steering wheel. “Shit.”

Carol shook her head and looked out the window. (Also, their phones were dead, and they didn’t have GPS.) “Well, what are we going to do?”

“I don’t know,.”

“There was a gas station a couple miles back,” she said. “I could — -”

“No, it’s not going to be you, don’t be ridiculous.”

“We could go togeth — -”

“No, also ridiculous. Plus someone has to stay with the car.”

“Or we could wait for someone to come along, and ask for help, or for a ride somewhere, or for whatever seems logical based on how weird they are or aren’t?”

“We haven’t even seen anyone the whole time we’ve been driving.” He tapped his forehead against the wheel. “I’m an idiot, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. It’s almost so awful that it’s funny, you know?”

“I guess. Okay. I’ll go to the gas station off the highway, you stay here, and I’ll be back with a tow truck or an apocalypse-style gallon of gas, if they even sell it that way anymore.”

“You are a big, strong man, and extremely hot, and I love you.”

“Thank you. I love you, too. So, I’ll be back in like half an hour?”

“Okay good. And please be safe.”

He kissed her, opened the door, and swung out.

She watched him for a few seconds, his shoulders scrunched, before he disappeared into the rain. Once she knew he couldn’t see them anymore, she turned off the lights.

Ten minutes passed, then twenty, and then she turned them back on so he could find her again. At first everything seemed to be as it was — darkness, trees, headlights shining. But then, visible at the outer reaches of their light, a figure, not moving. Carol stopped breathing.

Her hands went to lock the doors, but they already were.

The figure came toward the car slowly, staying just out of the light, until it was at the car. And then it touched the car, putting its hand on the hood.

It moved up the hood, slowly, until it was at her door.

The figure stood there, then lowered itself, moving straight down. The light was dim, but Carol watched as the figure’s neck appeared. Then its chin and mouth. Then its nose, and then its eyes.

They looked at each other for a few minutes, her barely breathing, him not moving. And then he opened his mouth. He didn’t say anything, but left it open, and then the hole began to grow.

And it kept widening, stretching down and up and out to the sides, until it covered the window. Carol thought she was going to die, or that she had already. She stared into it.

For an hour.

And nothing happened. Dan came back with gas, apologized for taking so long, and they drove home. Carol didn’t try to explain it, and eventually came to believe it hadn’t happened.

Image via Flickr/mountainash