I cleaned out the cookies on my browser yesterday and for some weird reason, I have become victim to the Purple Flag advertisement link folks; when the cookies are deleted, new links start showing up for advertisements when you go to a webpage. This was especially disturbing when the webpage in question was mine and I had not provided such links. After all, what will the neighbors think? And cleaning out cookies is supposed to be good for the waistline, right? Oh, that’s the other cookie…
But again, I digress. Today’s Author gives us another gem of a prompt today:
“I’m never doing that again.”
Such a prompt causes me to give a nod to the decade of my origin (the 60s), to my sign (Aquarius–the inspiration for a wonderful song about said decade), and Jimmy Hendricks (a musician whose name is synonymous with said decade). To that end, here is “Haze.”
Carl and Vickie had not said a word to one another for the last fifteen miles. He’d made the mistake of smiling a bit too much, of being a bit too complimentary, of standing a bit too close, to Vickie’s high school chum at the reunion. Martha was a great gal, without question, but Vickie hadn’t liked how friendly Carl had seemed. He called her childish, she got mad. And so the silence began as soon as they had stepped outside the old gymnasium, which had been decorated in memorabilia of 1969 for the event. It was late and they were both tired. Vickie had fallen asleep and Carl was working hard to stay awake as the evening progressed; he’d thought with a Saturday afternoon event that they would have left before nightfall, but there was fog in the air.
Vickie awoke with a jolt; the car listed first to the right and then quickly to the left as Carl fought for control and pulled over. She was still groggy; “Wha-happened?”
“We hit something.”
“What, an opossum?” They had been driving through the countryside, after all.
Carl’s last reply brought Vickie to immediate attention; as she focused her eyes, she noticed that the car was engulfed in a purplish haze. She could barely see beyond the bumper of their little SUV. “Where are we?”
Carl swallowed. “I took a shortcut a while back; I’d gotten tired of that bumpy two-lane and figured we could make just as good time if not better if I ducked off in Springview. It wasn’t this dark back there.”
Vickie rolled her eyes; she’d had friends who used to live near Springview. The town had a reputation for being on the wrong side of creepy and everyone avoided it. Old wives’ tales she used to believe, but looking out the window made her think twice; she didn’t even want that fog to touch her skin. “Well, no helping it now. So you said we hit something, and that it was bigger than an opossum? What was it?”
“I don’t know. I was going to get out and look, but after the last time I did that, I said to myself ‘I’m never doing that again.'”
“Why? What happened before?”
Carl was visibly shaken. “It was my sophomore year in college and I was out with a couple of frat brothers. My big brother was driving–it was his car, see–and he’d had too much to drink. He wouldn’t let anyone else drive. Anyway, on the way back to our house he hit something, something big. As the newest brother, I was elected to get out and see what it was. It turned out that he’d hit a dog; a boy about my younger brother’s age had been walking it when it got off the leash and ran into the street. The boy and I got to the dog at about the same time,” Carl took a deep breath and continued. “It wasn’t dead. It was the worse thing I’d ever seen. I don’t know what we hit but…”
Vickie reached for his hand. “Honey, it’s fine. Let’s get out together.”
They both opened their doors and stepped out into the haze; it seemed to be alive as it curled in thick wisps around their ankles. They both jumped and giggled as their car doors closed in unison, sounding garishly loud in the silence. As they quieted down and prepared to walk behind the vehicle there was the sound of scraping and gurgling. They had hit a two-point buck from the look of what was left of the side of its head; something that had once been a young man was gnawing at the midsection as the deer tried with its last energy to scramble away. The thing looked up from its meal and slowly made an approach as Vickie screamed and passed out.