Barren Ground: Part 1, The Driver

I’m trying out something new with this story, so if you like it, then yay! If you don’t, however, please bear with the next two parts and I assure you I will be coming back to the posts you all know and love.

A thick, heavy rain began to pour on Billy as he was under the hood of the car. His wife, Katrina, shouted over the drops. “Bill! Just stop fucking with it and get in the car. You’re getting soaked! AAA is on their way and they’ll take a look at it.”

“AAA doesn’t repair, Kat!” Billy replied.

“They do minor stuff.” She said, opening the door and getting inside. Just then, off in the distance, a bright pair of headlights beamed through the rain. The roar of tires rolling across the pavement became louder as the car approached, but descended as the driver slowed and pulled onto the shoulder in front of the couple. Billy’s headlights would have lit the driver well, had they been on. Instead a dark silhouette was all that was seen stepping out of the driver’s seat. The only detail that was visible was that the individual was bald. An umbrella exploded above the dark figure as he walked toward Billy.

“Car trouble?” The driver asked.

“Yeah, I can’t figure out what’s wrong with it.” Billy replied, spitting rainwater into the air.

“How about I take a look?”

“Be my guest.” Billy beckoned to the open engine as the driver handed him his umbrella, bending down into the engine, overlooking every inch. He seemed to be quite absorbed in his own thoughts, because the sound of Katrina’s voice caused him to jump so hard that he smashed his head on the open hood, “Do you want me to try starting it?”

“Jesus!” The driver screamed, rubbing his head and looking at Billy, “I thought it was just you!”

“Oh, sorry, no. This is my wife, Katrina. I’m Bill.”

“Alex.” The driver said, extending his hand to Billy. On the back of his hand, between the thumb and index finger sat a standard Swastika, which Billy tried not to react to. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my day.” The driver said, reassuringly.

“Haven’t we all?” Billy said, shaking his hand.

“Well I can’t really see that well in the dark, so I don’t think I’ll be able to be of much help to either of you in that regard. I would, however, like to extend a ride to Birmingham, which isn’t too much further on up the road.”

“Thank you,” Katrina said, “But AAA is on their way. We should be fine.”

“They’ve been on their way for the past hour and a half. I think a ride might help speed things along.” Katrina glared at Billy.

“I guarantee you that the second we take off toward town they’ll be pulling up.”

“I can always just take one of you, and then the other wait with the car.” Billy looked to Katrina, holding the umbrella above her head. She folded her arms.

“Well, I’m going to wait for AAA.”

“Okay. I’ll go with Alex. I think I know what’s wrong with it and if we can get to an auto store before it closes could you take me back out here?”

“Sure thing. Could I just get a few dollars for gas?” The driver replied.

“Oh, yeah absolutely.”

“Great.” The driver smiled and began walking back to his car while Billy kissed Katrina goodbye.

“Call me if the guy shows up before I’m back.” Katrina shrugged and walked back to the car.

……………………………….

Billy shook the umbrella as best he could before putting it in the backseat. “Seat belts.” The driver said as he signaled his way back on the road. Billy buckled himself in as the radio played ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’. “You like Elton John?”

“Not really.” Billy said.

“That’s too bad.” The driver replied, and turned the radio off. The silence was long, which in turn made it uncomfortable. Billy attempted to ease the uneasiness.

“Do you live in Burmingham?”

“Not really.” The driver replied, turning to Billy and smiling wide, “I come from a bit further north. I’m visiting my sister in Pensacola, so I’m just passing on through.” Billy nodded and turned to look out the window. “You?”

“No. Katrina and I were just passing through, too. That is, until the fuckin’ car broke down.”

“Worse things have happened.”

“Yeah? Like what?” At that moment, as if saying it switched on a light in Billy’s head, he noticed the car was pulling off into an exit for Lake Purdy.

“I think I’ll let you figure it out.”

“Where are we going?” Billy asked in an accusing tone as the car shook across a dirt road.

“I’m afraid you’re lucky number seven.” The driver said, pulling up to a nearby pier and putting the car in neutral.

“What are you talking about?” Billy reached over to unbuckle his seat belt, but it remained locked in place. The Driver opened the door and stepped out. Billy rocked the car back and forth, trying to get loose.

“Don’t bother.” The driver said, leaning his head in the window. “That’s not going to unbuckle.”

“What the fuck are you doing!?” Billy cried. The driver shrugged.

“I don’t know. Killing you, I suppose. Although you’re not dying yet, so I don’t think that would technically be classified as killing. Once this car goes off the pier, though.” The driver nodded and made a whistling noise often heard in cartoons.”

“You sick son of a bitch! You think you’re gonna get away with this?”

“I already have. Forty one times to be exact.” Billy’s mouth dropped, literally, and the driver laughed.

“Are you shocked at the number, or appalled that you’re not the first?”

“I…thought you said I was lucky number seven?”

“I did. You’re the seventh in this car. Every seven I dump the car and get a new one. Six cars, 41 people. Well, soon to be 42. If you look a little down the road by the bathrooms over there, you’ll see my next beauty.” Billy turned to see a dark outline of a car by the porta potties. He began to pant and turned back to the driver.

“Why?”

“I don’t know. That’s a question for the psychiatrists and detectives. Could you give me your phone please?” Billy put his hand on his pocket and shook his head. “Look, Bill, I’ve done this enough times. Some people have made the mistake of defying me, and they’ve gotten someone close to them killed because of it. Others, hopefully like yourself, have wised up to the fact that I know where your fucking wife is and if you don’t give me that phone I’ll go after her. If you do, however, I’ll leave her be.”

“How do I know I can trust you?” The driver sighed.

“You have no leverage, Bill. If you don’t give me the phone, you’ll die knowing that I’ve killed her. If you do, at least you can hope that I’ve kept my word. If I was going to kill her either way, I’d kill her either way.” Billy looked at his feet, and tried to stifle his cries as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, handing it to the driver, who placed it in the back seat, and picking up a brick that was underneath the umbrella.

“You’re awfully accepting of this.”

“I’m trapped in this seat,” Billy sniffed, “I have no weapon, and you have my wife stranded in the middle of nowhere. What do I have to fight with?”

“I don’t know whether I find that admirable or cowardly.” The driver said, opening the door and reaching under the seat, pulling a steering wheel lock out. He looked at Billy as he placed the lock on the wheel, who stared at the edge of the pier, tears flowing down his face, hugging his chin. He didn’t reach out in an attempt to attack the driver (It would have been foolish, considering the knife he had in his front left pocket) nor did he beg for his life. “Admirable indeed. I only hope I take it like you if I face such certain death. It was brief, Bill, but I can say that I’ll remember number 42 very well.”

The driver took the brick and placed it on the pedal. The engine roared and the driver shut the door, reaching in through the window to shift into drive, quickly backing away as dust and rocks kicked up from the tires. The driver fell to the ground and watched as the vehicle raced to the pier. He was fairly impressed with his aim as the car made it three quarters of the way down before going off the side, tipping over into the water. The spinning tires shot water 50 feet in all directions before they sunk. The driver lay back for a few moments, admiring the invigoration of the kill. He felt as if he were absorbing Billy’s very life essence as water filled his lungs. The writhing and the struggle as he fought to free himself filled the driver with glee that was unmatched by anything else. It was like a magnified orgasm. He bathed in his satisfaction for a few more moments, and then, quickly as it had come, his joy subsided and once again he became a hollowed shell of a man. He stood and walked to his new car.

 

Part 2

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One response to “Barren Ground: Part 1, The Driver

  1. I dig it. I think it would be a good touch to add a little more resistance from Katrina when Billy agrees to go with “Alex”. Something minor, like a disapproving gesture…

    Aside from that, I think it’s off to a good start.

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