Free read published on Knight chills. October 19, 2010. Flash fiction. A night in the high desert turns sour. Skeery.
The Dark Side of Shadow:
Copyright 2010 M. Pax, all rights reserved
The waning moon set, casting the forest into gloomy shadow. Jules’ headlights bounced over the rough road, the jouncing kept her awake by snapping her chin up and down in rhythm to the washboard. Another late night studying binary stars on a cold mountaintop, she struggled to stay awake. Gravel ground under her tires. She held her sedan through the hairpin turn. Movement to the left caught her eye. She focused on the trees. Her tire bounced on a large rock jerking the car toward the ravine. Jules slammed the brakes, the vehicle slid. She careened toward the other edge and bumped against a tree. The tire popped and the car sank.
“Damn it!” Leaning over the seats, she grabbed her flashlight out of the glove box and got out. She opened the trunk and rummaged around. The carpet lifted. Beneath the spartan decoration sat the spare, jack and tire iron.
Stones rattled. Jules whirled shining light into the dark. Alarm surged from her gut radiating out to her fingers and toes. Her hair stood up. “Who’s there?”
Another crunch. She reeled around the other way. Her beam bounced off trees, scrub and rock. “Who’s there?” Her demand came out shaky and meek.
The shadows to her right grew darker. Black swallowed up the night. Stars disappeared; so did the road, her light and her car. Like a void. Jules’ stomach dropped. Her feet kicked. She touched nothing. Her skin ripped and sinews shrieked. She felt inside out. The smothering night backed off. She blinked at the brighter shadows of a moonless night. Jules breathed a sigh of relief then finished changing her tire.
On the way home, she passed truck after car after truck after car with ease. The other drivers pulled over, gaping. Several of them screamed. Jules stared at them perplexed.
“What the frick is their problem? Lame asses.”
She pulled in the driveway, glad to be home. “What a night!”
Jules locked the sedan and entered her townhouse. Her cat hissed then ran away. She followed, calling. “Kip what’s wrong? I know I’m late. I’m sorry.” He would not come out.
Jules took a left into the washroom. Her reflection in the mirror brought her up short. Nothing but shadow stared back. When she moved, the dark mass moved. The blackness was her. She screamed until the sun came up. Then she disappeared.