Some original writing today...
Gavin Peck sat in his 1985 Toyota 4-Runner. At the moment he was facing East, but that was just coincidental. East was not his destination. In fact, at the moment, Gavin Peck, 48 and unemployed, was about as lost as a man could be.
Outside the rain pounded against the truck, beat against it like the waves of an angry sea.
The wind whined and howled and occasionally gathered enough strength to rock the 4-Runner.
Gavin's knuckles were white and his fingers wrapped around the steering wheel and his back pressed hard into the seat. His eyes were closed and he struggled to find some reason to open them.
The radio was on but its song was lost somewhere in the screaming wind.
He had pulled off the interstate when the weather had gotten too severe to continue. He was in a rest stop, he knew that much. He had parked straight across the white lines that marked the parking spaces and was taking up two and not one.
It didn't matter. There were no other cars. He was alone.
Gavin had $11.00 in his wallet which was sitting on the seat next to him, along with a bag from one of the fast food restaurants he had passed as he left the city. The bag contained a half eaten hamburger and uneaten fries. The large drink sat precariously in the cup holder. It fit, but barely. It caused Gavin to obsess over it, especially when he drove over potholes.
Lightening flashed and there was a horrible crash off to his right in the shadows. A tree snapped somewhere in the black, the splintering wood was enough to make Gavin open his eyes.
He strained to see into the darkness and the waves of rain slamming against the windshield. He turned the headlights on but the beam was no match for the storm. The light faded and was sucked away into the torrents of water and wind and nighttime.
There was another flash of lightning and another crash of thunder and more splintering of wood. Another was felled by the winds which were now battering the 4-Runner relentlessly.
For the first time in a hours, Gavin was accutely aware of his surroundings. He reached out and turned off the radio.
Outside something dragged razor-sharp nails along the side of the truck. The sound was coming from the back of the truck. Whoever, or whatever, it was, it was getting closer to the driver's side door.
Gavin checked the side view mirror but there was no reflection. At least not the glowing red eyes he expected to see.
Click. Click. Click.
The nails scraped along, peeling off paint as they dug in, creating little curlycues which blew away in the storm.
Gavin undid his seat belt.
He checked the rear view mirror.
Nothing but the fluorescent glow of the lights at the entrance to the little brick building which housed the restrooms and vending machines and the large map with the words 'You are here.'
He checked the side view mirror.
The rear view mirror.
Something slammed onto the roof of the 4-Runner.
Gavin tried to convince himself that it was the storm but a little voice, somewhere in the back of his mind, told him that was a bullshit theory. Whatever had been dragging itself along the side of the truck was now on top of it. He could feel the weight of it.
It was big whatever it was.
Banshees wailed outside.
Gavin's breathing was labored now and the windows began to fog with every deep exhalation. His heart was racing.
There was that scratching sound again, different on the vinyl top than it had been when the gnarled talons of the monster had been scratching into the trucks metal skin.
Gavin pressed his hand against the windshield and wiped away the screen of fog.
He peered into the night but there was nothing to see.
He looked off to his left as a flash of lightning froze everything in an instant. Maybe his eyes were playing tricks on him. Maybe it was just an illusion created the refraction of the lightning against the black rain. Maybe.
For a second though, for just a split second, Gavin had seen something. And it was a something and not a someoneone. Of that he was sure. No human being could cast a shadow like that.
Gavin didn't believe in monsters.
This was not a monster on top of my truck, he told himself.
Then he told himself the exact same thing again...and again until his words resembled a prayer. He closed his eyes and pushed his back into the seat of the 4-Runner, hoping to disappear. Praying that whatever it was would keep dragging itself along the top of the truck and then off into the storm.
Gavin had a thought.
If he could make it to the little brick building, he could lock himself inside. He could last out the storm and maybe until someone else came into the rest area. The only problem was the 40 yards between him and the building. And the pounding winds and rain. And the thing on top of the truck.
Animals, he told himself, were afraid of loud noises, Gavin assured himself, grasping at straws. If he laid into the horn, maybe, just maybe, he could distract the shadow with the sharp claws long enough to make a run for it.
Gavin stretched a trembling hand to the center of the steering wheel and pressed the horn.
The horn blared but the sound was soon swallowed up by the storm. Lightning and thunder mocked Gavin as if to say 'Is that the best you got?'
There was nothing else to do but just make a run for it.
He closed his eyes and imagined his route to the building. It was a straight shot. He just had to get out of the 4-Runner and past the shadow inches above his head. He looked for something to use as a weapon but all he had was a pocket knife. He pulled it from his jeans and opened it. The blade was sharp but it was no longer than a 4 inches. Gavin doubted it would kill whatever was perched to attack just above his head. It would just piss it off. Still, Gavin left the blade sticking out.
"Fuck it," he thought, "I piss it off. Big deal. " He thought about those razor sharp claws. "Tit for tat. Fuck it."His left hand grabbed the door handle.
It was now or never.
He opened the door and was almost blown back in by the wind. He stepped out and the rain lashed at his body. He ducked his head, just in case a clawed hand came swiping from behind. He lost his footing and fell. As his body hit the lake that used to be a parking lot, he spun around just in time to see the shadow slink from the roof of the 4-Runner, down the hood until finally it was bathed in the glow of the headlights.
Gavin saw something hunched over. It's fur was matted seemed to cover its entire body.
It wasn't a bear.
It wasn't a panther.
It might have been a wolf but there were parts of it that looked like that at some time, the thing might have been a man. It's head turned towards Gavin and it smiled. It smiled and Gavin saw the rows of razor-sharp teeth. It licked its lips. That's when Gavin composed himself enough to first get on all fours and then stand.
He looked for the greenish glow of the brick building. The wind and rain beat him backwards and he had to shield his face with his hand.
Gavin didn't turn around. He'd seen plenty of horror movies and knew that the monster would be right there, right over his shoulder, grinning. Then it would rip out his throat and it would eat him, or maybe just parts of him. No siree, Bob. He wasn't going to turn around. He quickened his step and began to pick up his speed. His feet splashed into puddles. He'd been out of the 4-Runner for less than two minutes and he was already soaked. His clothes clung to his body and he felt like he was wearing one of those old fashined diving suits.
Gavin felt like he was treading across a river. The parking lot was flooding. The sewers could not take the deluge.
25 yards to go.
Gavin heard it behind him and he tried to convince himself the howling was the wind. It was just the wind.
20 yards to go.
Gavin felt something rip at his ankle and the world went upside down. There was lightning and the lights of the parking lot and then there was darkness. Darkness and pain.
Gavin reached down and felt warmth cover his hand. Something sharp stabbed into his fingers as he felt where the most pain was coming from.
What he didn't feel was his left foot.
He screamed but he couldn't even hear himself.
"MOTHERFUCKER!" he screamed, "YOU TOOK MY FUCKING FOOT!!! YOU GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKER!"
He could have sworn he heard the monster laughing from just a few feet away, masked by the rain and the shadows.
Gavin turned and started to crawl, dragging his left leg behind him.
The pain was soon being numbed by shock and cold rain.
15 yards to go.
Gavin pulled his body through the flooded parking lot. His thoughts were becoming fuzzy. He tried to stay focused on the objective. Get to the building. Get into the men's room. Lock the door. Hold out until the storm ended. And then. And then what? Try to find a foot in the lost and found?
"FUCK! IT TOOK MY FOOT! I ONLY HAVE ONE FOOT! OH YOU SONOFABITCH! YOU TOOK MY GODDAMN FOOT!"
Everything seemed to be working against him now. The rain beat against...into him...and the wind criss-crossed against his body.
He was losing his sense of direction. Up was down. Down was up.
He had no feeling in his lower body.
Suddenly to his right, he saw the lights of an 18 wheeler pulling into the rest area.
He screamed, knowing the driver could neither see him or hear him.
Gavin crawled faster now. His hands were starting to bleed.
He was losing so much blood. So much blood.
His head grew light.
Those fuzzy thoughts came back.
The smile on the pretty young girl who passed him his bag of food through the drive-thru window. She had such a pretty smile. Her name tag said 'Allyson.'
She was so pretty and she screamed so pretty.
10 yards to go.
The big wheel was getting closer. Closer. So close now.
Gavin remembered the look in her eyes as his hands closed around her throat. They were blue and so pretty. Her scream wheezed from between those pretty lips. It didn't take long. It never did. Gavin was strong and had a lot of experience.
He pushed himself up from the lot onto the sidewalk. There were twenty or so stairs and he would be home free. Home free.
He reached the first step. Off to his right the big rig stopped in the lot reserved for trucks. If the driver got out now and ran across the lot he could-
Something ripped into Gavin's back.
It sliced through him down to the spine. There was a bright flash but he didn't know if it was lightning or his brain screaming 'YOU'RE FUCKED NOW, SONNY BOY!"
All the wind left his body and he struggled to breathe. He could feel himself dying, impaled on the monster's claws. Like a fish a on hook.
'That's a whopper!' his grandfather would have shouted, "Holy cow, Boy! That's a whopper! Reel it in now....nice and slow."
The shadowy thing in the rain pulled at him. Gavin's fingernails dug into the concrete step but could find no hold. He slid backwards. His chin hit the sidewalk and he bit his tongue. Blood filled his mouth and he spat it out with a laugh.
"You took my foot," he said choking on rainwater and blood, "you took my foot and made me bite my tongue. You sonofabitch. You fucking sonofabitch."
The claws dug in deeper and Gavin screamed.
The little brick building and the 18 wheeler were getting farther away now.
Gavin couldn't speak now. He was way too weak and speaking would have required breathing and breathing was getting harder and harder to do. As the lightning flashed, he saw the trail of blood that was leaving a wake as the thing dragged him towards the woods.
"I hope you choke on me, you sonofabitch. I hope I get stuck in your throat and you die spitting up blood...convulsing. so hard you break your fucking ribs. You mother fuck you.. You took my foot."
Gavin saw the headlights of the 4-Runner. The driver's side door was still open. In the back, Allyson's body lay wrapped in a tarp. He'd taken off her name tag. It was somewhere.
"Where did I put it? Where's that fucking....what was it...a tag...her tag," his mind trying to find the words for the pictures that were fading in his mind.
Gavin closed his eyes. He just wanted to sleep. Sleep would be good. Sleep would feel...feel...
"What was that word?" Gavin asked himself but he had no answer.
Pavement turned to rain-soaked grass. Grass turned to something else. Tall branches lashed against his face.
His last thoughts were that he was floating above the parking lot.
"That's ridiculous," he chuckled, "I couldn't be..."