October 28, 2013

That Final Drive || A Halloween Story

That Final Drive
By: Dane Pecha

I haven’t had a driver’s license since high school. My children, and eventually my grandkids always asked why, and I would tell them I didn’t need it. Or that I just let it expire... That was only half of the truth. My last night as a driver started off innocently enough. My friend Taylor and I had just picked up our dates for the homecoming dance. None of the guys had cars, so I was stuck driving everyone. I was bummed at the time, but it was for the best since I wasn’t ready to trust these guys to get us through the heavy, late October fog. I tried my best to socialize with the group, but navigating that fog was all I could concentrate on.

Another small fib I’ve told my grandkids is that I’ve never swore; I like to tell them it pollutes the air. And for the most part, I stay true to that. However, when that thing jumped out in front of the car, I let the expletives fly. My friends halted their yearbook club gossip.

“Did you see that?” I asked them. “I swear I just saw a hat and jacket FLOAT across the road."

Laughter filled the car.

“Come on Carol,” Taylor said.

“Probably just a giant owl, my dad saw one a couple weeks ago,” one of the boys chimed in.

 Yeah it was foggy, but that was no owl. Tough to blame them though, if I didn’t see it I would have laughed too. It was eerie.

We were at the dance for a few hours, nothing memorable happened. We did the whole dance picture thing, and the guys couldn’t dance a lick, which was expected. If I wasn’t their ride home, we would have ditched them after the pictures. Nevertheless, the four of us crammed back in the car. Unfortunately, the fog had stuck around too.

As I sat behind the wheel, concentrating on the twists and turns of the road, the boys started getting under my skin. I was in no position to talk, and quite frankly, I couldn’t wait to drop them off. Did we want to get something to eat? Watch a movie? Cruise down main street? No, no and no. I was tired, cranky and these boys were starting to make my Norwegian blood boil. And for the record, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of a Norwegian temper.

Just when I was about to explode I slammed on the brakes. The boys got nervous and started apologizing.

“Shut up,” I said, as I pointed forward. I didn’t stop to yell at those boys. I stopped because the disembodied figure had appeared again.

“Do you believe me now?”
The hat and long overcoat danced in front of us. Darting back and forth in the road, like a chicken with it head cut off. It moved in a very confused manner, it looked lost. The car fell silent. We were all fixated on whatever it was we were witnessing.

One of the boys broke the silence.

“So I think we’ll just go home now,” he said sheepishly. I ignored him. The figure started moving in our direction and that’s when Taylor lost it.

“Carol, drive, DRIVE!” she was hysterical.

That was probably the moment when I lost my cool too. You might think it’s silly to be running from something you’d find on a Macy’s clearance rack, but I’d like to see you keep calm when a paranormal phenomenon is happening six feet in front of your MAC covered face.

Tires squealed as I floored the accelerator. I was hoping to make it into town before it could catch back up, but Taylor’s shriek killed that thought. It was in full vision in the rear view mirror now, and gaining rapidly. The lost and confused movement patterns from earlier were now focused, fast and still hot on our tail. As hard as I tried, it was near impossible to keep myeyes on the road; they were fixated on what was going on in the rear view mirror.

The chase ended with a crash. It lasted no more than 30 seconds, but it felt like longer. With my eyes dancing back and forth and the three other sets all looking out back, that left really no one looking forward. Had someone been looking forward we could have seen the young girl slowly walking in the road. Instead, I saw her at the last possible second, giving me just enough time to jerk the wheel to the left to avoid her, and lose control of the car. We rolled the car multiple times, thankfully, we all had a seat belts on so we weren’t injured. The car on the other hand, totaled. We landed on the upside down, the four of us hanging from our seats by our seat belts. I wanted to believe someone was looking out for us that night, but we were still being chased by a disembodied object.

Through the shattered windshield, I could see the girl still walking down the road. She didn’t even bother to look back at us to see the destruction that she caused. Dressed for a dance, she looked stunning, but I didn’t recall seeing her at ours that night. Her dress was white, and her shoes shared the color of warm liquid that was now flowing down my head. I continued to watch her saunter down the dark road, when I remember why we were there in the first place. The disembodied figure had appeared at the top of the hill, and strangely, the girl perked up at its sight. She stopped, and stood there waiting, with an arm extended, waiting for it to take her hand. This did not make me feel any better about the situation. She was glowing when the figure arrived. The girl latched onto the figures lifeless arm, and they both turned in our direction. I could now see the other half of her body, and it was brutally disfigured and burned. The girl, finally recognizing the destruction this pair had caused started
walking towards us. The closer they got I made out a content smile on her face. Her physical
body started to vanish, leaving only a dress, and those blood red shoes. Coat, hat, dress and
shoes then began to ascend as one.
Eventually someone found us there. As driver, I got into a lot of trouble. I received multiple infractions, driving too fast for conditions and what not. I didn’t bother to fight it. No one would believe us. And I knew I would never drive again.

Months went by and we never discussed the incident. The four of us were going through dance pictures after school for the yearbook when we came across a vintage looking photo. It was taken at a dance 25 years prior. A sharp dressed young man with an exquisite top hat, held a young girl in a white dress and the prettiest blood red shoes you’ve ever seen.

*This story was written by my brother, Dane. You can follow him on twitter, @Dane67, for a good laugh and tell him I sent you. It is loosely based off of a ghost experience my grandma, Carol, had when she was younger. Pictures, hair and makeup by my cousin Paige and other model is my cousin Taylor. 

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