In this post I am providing you readers the first chapter of the short story ‘Mid Harvest Road’. It is the beginning of the ‘Jacob Kearns series’ and the rest of this story can be read for FREE at the link provided at the end. I invite all of you to enjoy the rest of the story on and leave a review.
MID HARVEST ROAD
CHAPTER 1 – 1:22am
Sarah could not believe her incredibly bad luck as her flat tire forced her to pull over to the side of the road. With the last thump, she parked the car and rested her head on the steering wheel to soak in a few moments of disbelief. Her situation didn’t seem much improved since it was 1:22 a.m., she was over an hour from the nearest town and her smartphone had a weak signal. With a sigh, she decided to turn off the engine to save on fuel. She stepped out of the car to retrieve the roadside kit flashlight from the trunk.
“You freaking country idiot,” she argued with herself out loud, “why in the hell did you take this backroad?” She observed the damaged tire and found it was ripped open.
“Well, that is depressing.” She exhaled. “Not only is it dark and scary out here, but there ain’t no real quick fix to this either. So dummy, not just are you down on brains, but you’re going to be down on a new tire as well.”
She was only venting her current frustration as the long drive back to Atlanta was intended to get her mind off the reality of her mother’s ailing health, which had recently taken a turn for the worse. Sarah had just spent the weekend visiting her widowed mother in Pikeville, a small town in Kentucky, when she found a copy of her mother’s revised will alongside a six-month prognosis. But now she was starting to think this drive was more trouble than it was worth.
Sarah’s surroundings were becoming very obvious with no other light sources evident as far as she could see, other than a gloomy moon in the sky. The eerie distant sounds of creaking trees and the howls of the unfelt wind began to add a feeling of creepiness to the dark road, which motivated her to get moving again as quickly as possible.
In an effort to ignore the intimidating darkness of the forest that engulfed both sides of the road, Sarah decided to get to work on removing the spare tire from the trunk and to begin the process of changing out the flat tire. As she re-observed the damaged tire, questions of what exactly she ran over began to fill her mind. However, she couldn’t recall exactly what had happened since it was rather sudden.
“Maybe next time you should pay more attention to the road instead of the damn radio?” she scolded aloud in an effort to continue to distract herself as she began to loosen the lug with the lug wrench.
“Nah, that would make for a boring drive, and a girl has got to have her music,” she snarkingly answered while she aligned the hydraulic jack.
“Then maybe you should have called in and had someone tow you to the nearest town?” she countered while she jacked the car up.
“Now, that’s a stupid idea.” She pouted as she moved the jack stand under the cross member bar. “It would take hours for a damn tow truck to get out here. I hardly have a signal, so there is no telling if I can get through to anyone.”
“Anyway, I wouldn’t make it to work tomorrow,” she continued to rant as she began to remove the lugs, “and with my luck, the tow truck guy could be some whacko who would chop my head off and put it on a mantel as his new trophy.”
As the last lug came off, she began to feel confident her luck was turning for the better.
“Not this country girl.” She grunted while removing the flat tire from its wheel base. “This girl is going to get herself back on the road pronto.”
Sarah’s concentration was suddenly broken by loud rapid clicking noises coming from behind her. She instinctively released the tire and pointed her flashlight across the road. Through the darkness, she could observe nothing on the other side of the road but the bushes and tree line.
“Is someone there?” she cried out, but there was no answer. She concentrated on the area the clicking had originated from for several moments, switching the flashlight’s beam from side to side, centering on anything that looked out of the ordinary. However, there was nothing she could identify apart from the forage. Suddenly, a clanging metal thump from her immediate right made her jump back shrieking.
She found it had been the lug wrench tossed several paces behind her car, but there was no one else in sight. Sarah fought to control her breathing as she scanned her surroundings, but she couldn’t see or hear anyone else. She slowly moved to the passenger side and gently opened the door as she continued to search her surroundings for the cause of her new distress. Sarah realized the situation might have gotten more dangerous, and she decided to retrieve a small revolver that was hidden in the glove compartment. She confirmed the reality of the danger once she realized her smartphone was missing.
To her relief, the back seat was empty and the keys were still in the ignition. However, it did not change the fact she was vulnerable with no way to call for help. She locked herself inside the car, trying to come up with a plan on how to get out of the situation, but her options didn’t look good. She could stay awake all night and wait it out until morning, but then what? How would that change her situation? She would still be stuck out here, she would be exhausted and it would give whoever it was out there a chance to take the spare tire. She could wait for another car but in the last three hours she had only seen one other car and that was over an hour ago. Or, considering they didn’t know she had a gun, she could hide her gun and try to face them off. That sounded like a risky and stupid plan, but considering her other options with time not on her side, it seemed like the one to go with.
She slowly stepped out of her car into the middle of the road and shouted out with a courage she did not have. “Okay, asshole!” She tried to keep her voice from breaking. “Funny fucking joke, but it’s over. How much money do you want from me so I can get my phone back?”
For what felt like an eternity to Sarah, there was nothing but silence; at this point she hadn’t decided if this was a good thing or bad. The quiet was finally broken with the return of the rapid clicking noises from all directions in the darkness. Sarah willed her fear away for as long as she possibly could. When she was on the verge of running back into her car, the noise ceased unexpectedly.
The new wave of silence was interrupted with a light thump from across the road. Her curiosity overcame her anxiety as she went to investigate the cause, hoping that it would lead to something positive. After crossing the road, she quickly realized that her smartphone had been thrown into the bushes from the colorful light the screen emitted. As she picked it up, she noticed that it was coated with an unrecognizable foul smelling slime like substance. She tried to rub the substance onto a few plants. However, to her surprise, some of it was quickly absorbed through the skin of her hand.
Sarah once again began to hear the clicking but for some odd reason they sounded slower and more distant. She felt changed as if everything had moved slower. Her body had suddenly become very heavy and standing was extremely difficult. Her strength had quickly left her limbs as she dropped her gun and smartphone. She barely had enough energy left to lie down by the nearest tree.
The sounds of the night were no longer alarming to her. The creaking of the trees deepened into a type of forest language that was composed of thunderous happy cracks. Sarah smiled as the motions of the nearby branches left slow dance like silhouettes. It was as if the forest were putting on a puppet show for her amusement. From the morphing darkness, she could see several small figures converging on her emerge from different directions. Although she could figure out they were the ones making the clicking noises, it was their red eyes that captivated her attention.
“I count fourteen sets of eyes,” she muttered, “but you’ve got to stop moving, if I am going to count all of you.”
Sarah could not keep her eyes open. As a result, she slipped into unconsciousness. When she opened her eyes again, she found herself lying flat on the ground with her blouse unbuttoned, exposing her clothed upper torso. She was surrounded by several creatures that could not have been more than two feet tall. They had dark grey skin with oval-like heads and human-like faces. Their eyes appeared to be pebble roundish with very bright red pupils, their noses were somewhat long for their faces, their ears droop down to their sides, and they all had long yellow triangle beards that ran halfway down to their chests. They all wore a strange one piece green tunic that was tied by a vine in the middle.
Although Sarah could not move her head, she was able to see that they were cutting into her flesh with small sharp objects and draining her blood into small shells. She wanted to scream, to feel shock from the wounds or to feel anything, but her body was completely numb.
Her vision temporarily blurred but slowly cleared up to find that one of them was standing on top of her thorax. It was different from all the others. Sarah was convinced it was a female. It was the same size as the other creatures, but it had mammaries. It was dressed in a longer fitting tunic style green shirt with extra vines tied around it in a figure eight symbol. Although it didn’t have a blond beard, it did have longer blond hair.
Sarah realized she had sustained over a dozen deep cuts on her upper body even though she still could not feel anything. Despair started to sink in. She wanted to believe that this was not really happening to her and it was all in her mind. To think she had been in a car accident. It was her mind making things up while she was being operated on. Or believe she had over slept in her mom’s house or stopped off at a rest area or anything else but this. She didn’t think about how all of this would end or if it would end at all.
She watched helplessly as one-by-one the males passed the female the shells filled with her collected blood. She observed the female creature drink the blood out of each shell and chant some phrase in their clicking language. Although Sarah could not feel anything physically, her mind was petrified with fear as she speculated her death as soon as the female finished the last of the blood filled shells.
The female creature began to use a small sharp object to cut its wrist open and drip its blood into Sarah’s open wounds. Sarah’s heart began to race uncontrollably, and her fear of possible death seemed to become more of an assured death. Although she was still immobilized, the sensation of pain returned with an acid like burn as soon as the creature’s blood mixed with her own.
In an attempt to ignore the searing agony, she tried to concentrate on the clicking from the observing creatures. The sounds were in unison. It was as if they were chanting what could only be understood as “Crik – lik”. Sarah’s eyes began to overflow with tears as she forced her mind from the torture onto thankful thoughts of her final visit with her mother and the hope of being reunited with her father soon.
Sarah’s mental drift was abruptly ended as several of the male creatures pried open her mouth while the female creature knelt on top of her chest. The female creature then leaned forward, with her head only inches away from Sarah, their eyes locked on each other. Sarah could clearly see deep inside the creature’s red pupils as if there was a dancing flame waiting to engulf her. Sarah was convinced that if the eyes are the windows to the soul then this was the window to a furnace.
Two male creatures grabbed the female by her arms while a third one slit her throat. It remained motionless while it bled out into Sarah’s mouth. Sarah’s eyes narrowed in dread as if she had seen death itself come to collect her soul. The acid-like burn of the creature’s blood was nothing compared to the feeling of helplessness that overwhelmed her while the life fade from the creature’s eyes while simultaneously being force fed its fluids. Sarah began to slip into unconsciousness once more but found the strength to fight it when she noticed a small grin on the dying female creature’s face. Sarah held on for several more moments until her eyes finally shut for what seemed for only a few seconds before she opened them back up.
“No!” Sarah finally yelled out.
Sarah woke up in the driver’s seat of her car and quickly checked her smartphone. It was 2:51 a.m. Her hands were dirty and smelled like rubber, so she quickly went to check on her tire. She found it was already changed out, and the blown tire was in the trunk. Her revolver was in her glove compartment, and everything was in order. She then opened up her blouse to check for the open wounds but found she was unharmed. Sarah grabbed her flashlight and looked around the tree line, but she couldn’t see or hear anything other than the sounds of the trees. She didn’t want to stay on that road any longer. She jumped back into her car, started the engine and took off on her journey to Atlanta.
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