When we last left our pathetic protagonist, she was sitting in her car on the outskirts of
Jersey’s most haunted forest, crying her eyes out from terror and exhaustion.
Wouldn’t make for much of a good story huh? An action star I am not. Besides, all I ever wanted was to read stories, not live one.
Anyway, I sat in my car for I’m not sure how long, trying to get my hysterics under control. Faceless hadn’t shown back up yet, and I had just enough of a brain left to know that I needed to calm myself down before it came back. Woman alone in her car in the middle of no where? Before all of this started, I would have joked that this is the point where the crazy ax murderer comes charging out of the trees. With that now being a very real possibility it kinda takes the funny out of it.
And of course as all of these wonderfully dismal thoughts are running through my head, what happens? Someone starts pounding on my car. It was pretty dark out and all I could see was the silhouette of a rather large individual. He was trying to yank my doors open and pounding on my window, screaming “Let me in, let me in!”
A smart woman would have started the car and driven away, right? Well that’s not me. Instead I froze completely, like a deer in headlights. And as much as that wasn’t a smart thing, it actually turned out to be a good thing. Yay fear for making my life better?
Sorry getting a head of myself. Anyway, I froze and it was so strange, it felt like everything around me was slowing down. And I was noticing the tiniest details. Like the fact that this guy was leaving blood splattered on my window as he hit it. And the way he wasn’t screaming in rage. It didn’t sound anything like the guy who nearly killed me a few weeks. This guy was terrified. And then I saw...I’m not even sure how to describe this. It was a foggy misty kind of cloud. But it wasn’t grey. It was black. And it was moving closer. I mean like movie fog fast, rolling along like a giant cloud of darkness. And it was coming straight for my car. Which meant the guy outside was screwed.
In hindsight, I think I only froze for a few seconds, but it felt longer. Like I was taking a leisurely couple of minutes all though leisurely is not an adjective that describes my mental state at that point. So a few seconds to make a decision.
My instincts for people aren’t the greatest. I’ve always been the kind of person that welcomes everyone into her life and then is shocked when not everyone turns out to be good for me. But at that moment, instincts were all I had going for me. So I hit the button on the car door to let the guy in.
He jumped in the car and screamed “Drive.” Like we were in a horror movie. I wanted to laugh from the absurdity of it. Instead I started the car and spun her around as fast as I could. As we pulled away, I made a really dumb mistake. I looked in my rearview mirror. And there was faceless. It was riding that foggy stuff. Standing on top of the cloud as it moved forward and everything that cloud touched was disappearing, like the darkness was eating the world. And I could hear the most horrible screaming sounds. I think that the screams were the animals that the darkness was eating. Or maybe it was just the noise a cloud of evil darkness makes, I don’t know. But it was horrible.
I screamed and hit the gas pedal harder. My impromptu companion looked behind us and told me, “Don’t look, just drive lady!” As if I had stopped instead of speeding up. I never would have thought it would be possible to get offended while trying to not run gibbering into a corner of madness. I shoved my GPS at him and told him to go into my locations and have it tell me how to get home.
I’m not sure how long it chased us for. I just know that eventually when I glanced in my mirror, it wasn’t there. I want to say it took me about a half hour to get onto the GSP, but my sense of time was probably more then a little skewed. I got the two of us to a rest stop, pulled into the back of the parking lot, and turned to look at my new passenger.
I stared at him for a minute. He was pretty damn beaten up. Blood everywhere and it looked like his nose might be broken. He had that almost dead look in his eyes that you get after you’ve lived with sheer terror as a constant state of being. I know that look pretty well. After all I’ve been seeing it in the mirror a lot lately. Sanity started slowly returning and I realized that I was alone in my car with a strange man that despite looking fairly battered, was still quite a bit larger then me. Five million questions went through my head like who are you, are you going to kill me, and can you please stop dripping blood on my seats? After a minute of staring at him like an idiot, I managed to pick a fairly relevant one.
“Was that your first time seeing it?” He shook his head. “Me either.” And then I started crying. Fuck it feels like all I ever do is cry lately. He actually reacted pretty well though. Most guys, random strange woman starts crying, they get all freaked out. Him though, well I guess its some kind of empathy of we’re surviving the same cosmic horror. He put a hand on my back, did that there there pat, and let me cry it out. After I stopped with round five million of the waterworks, we introduced ourselves. Kay, meet Darren.
At this point it was late enough, or early enough rather that the sun was starting to come up. I was not in any condition to keep driving. So we found a motel and crashed for a few hours. I guess I should have been worried about sharing a motel room with a stranger, but I was so exhausted I couldn’t even think straight. He didn’t try anything though. Grabbed a blanket and pillow off the bed and passed out on the floor.
We slept until late in the afternoon. I probably could have slept longer, but Darren woke me up and pointed out the window. Faceless was back. We made it out to my car no problem. Then the herding started again. This time though, I wasn’t having 3 in the morning hysterics and I could tell what it was doing. It was trying to get me to turn around, head back to the
Pine Barrens. I didn’t know what to do, and I started freaking out again. Darren convinced me to pull over while we were still in a well populated area and let him drive.
I’m not sure whether that was a mistake or not. The next time skinny shit blocked an exit, Darren slammed on the gas pedal. I thought I going to die. The car whipped forward heading towards it. And then at the last second, Darren spins the wheel to the left and managed to go around it without crashing and killing us both. I have no idea how he pulled it off. Like I was riding with freaking Speed Racer or something. The speed we were going at he should not have been able pull that off. Don’t question it, right?
So the rest of the drive was fairly uneventful. We swapped stories. Darren has been a runner for nine months now and that’s all I’m going to say. Not really my place to share his story. He’s crashing in my spare bedroom for now. It’s a nice trade off. He hasn’t slept in a real bed in weeks and I have some company in the house if anyone else tries to break in.
I must be living in the Twilight Zone. I am grateful that a strange man that I know next to nothing about is sleeping in my spare bedroom because it makes me feel safer.