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Road Kill

It%27s+just+a+short+cut%2C+or+is+it%3F+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Pixabay%29
It's just a short cut, or is it? (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

It's just a short cut, or is it? (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

It's just a short cut, or is it? (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

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The unknown; there is something about it, something that humans obsess with solely because it is…foreign. It’s not like we want to think about it, but when we give our minds the chance, things can go wild. What lies at the end of the dark hallway? What is watching you as you run up your basement stairs? Who is hiding in the back seat of your car waiting for you to turn onto that one backroad? You know, the one that cuts your time driving home in half. The unknown is waiting until you are in the middle of nowhere so that it can finally get what it wants: you. I truly wish I was exaggerating with that last one, but two years ago, the exaggeration became reality.

She was at a house party that her best friend dragged her to, which, of course, just ended up being another night where she listened to the drunk gossip of strangers while her bestie and boyfriend were getting comfortable in a different room.

“So did you hear about Emily and Josh? They were finally caught for what they’ve been doing the past three months, and Josh has to pay the crazy bail on his own. I mean, I heard his parents are finally through with the crap he has been pulling.”

“Omg! I didn’t know they were even a thing.”

“Not to mention Chandler has been selling weed behind the school. The science teacher found him last Thursday, and instead of busting him, I heard he bought a couple ounces!”

She finally gave up. After listening to the subpar drama that filled the living room for the last three hours she wanted nothing more than to go. She was tired and bored, and the cheap beer had no effect on her. She sent her dear friend a text saying that she had left. After squeezing through the crowd gathered under the porch, reeking of alcohol and cigarette smoke, it started to drizzle. She walked to the middle of the trashed lawn to her blue Honda, and got in her car to head home. As she drove off, the rain intensified. Sadly, Aria never made it home.

The following day was eerie and foggy, despite being the end of spring. It had stormed the majority of last night. When they noticed she had never returned home in the morning, her parents went crazy looking for her. To make matters worse, her phone immediately went to voicemail. They contacted as many people that they could, asking if they knew where their daughter was while driving around for hours looking for Aria and her car. No one, not even her best friend, knew where she had gone. Finally, late that afternoon, on the verge of handing over the news of their lost daughter to the police, they decided to drive to the house that Aria went to the night before.

From the beginning, they tried to keep their problem away from officials due to an incident that happened two summers ago. On their son’s 18th birthday, Will went out to the lake to celebrate with friends, and, just like Aria, he did not come home. His friends think he hit his head when he jumped out of the boat. That would be ironic for captain of their school’s swim team. When he hadn’t come up after a minute or so of diving in, some of them jumped in to save him. The funny thing was, there was no trace of Will. Sure, it was hard to see, but where would you swim to if you and four other guys were the only ones in the middle of a lake? This was the biggest fear of her parents. When his parents were notified, they reported the case to the police about 4 hours after the event; it was apparently too late. No one helped them. Aria and her parents were left alone with the hope of their son coming home; a hope that died when the officer repeatedly explained that there was nothing they could do. Her parents had already lost one child, they couldn’t lose another.

When they finally arrived at the house, they got out of their car to discover no one was there. All that was visible through the thick, soupy fog were muddy puddles and tire tracks left all around the front of the property. No signs of Aria or her car.

“What the hell are we going to do Stephan?” asked Aria’s mother. “Our baby is out there somewhere, all cold and alone. I know it’s hard, and I know the outcome may kill us, but we can’t give up yet.”

“I know Danielle.” Despite having his wife by his side, Stephan felt cold and alone too. Aria’s smile lit up his world, and if he lost his daughter, he wouldn’t know what to do.

“The fact is this, our daughter is missing and it has been hours since we started looking. Not to mention it looks like it is going to storm again. I think we should give it one more chance and then report it. This isn’t like last time, Danielle, the closest lake is two hours away.” Aria’s mom died a little on the inside. She hated him for saying that.

“Don’t ever speak about my son like that.” She scowled at him, and on the verge of tears, walked back to their car.

“It’s unlocked” said Stephan, as he walked around the old house once more to make sure he did not miss a single detail. If only he knew…

He joined his wife in their car and noticed it smelled odd.

“Ew, do you smell that? It smells like mud or something.”

“Yeah I noticed it, we probably stepped in something,” said Danielle. They did not think twice about it. All they could think of was their situation at hand: finding their beloved Aria. Stephan pulled out his phone and looked up the possible routes to get home. Three were listed, two of which used main roads leading back into town, and the other was routed on a backroad that seemed to take off fifteen minutes of travel time.

“I’ve never driven on that road before, have you?” asked Stephan.

“Not at all, let’s take it.” And so the troubled parents drove on with hope. Hope that they would find their daughter stranded because she ran out of gas. The same hope that kept Will alive for a short time before everything was destroyed by reality. Despite the past, that was all that they could do: hope, and hope for the best.

They turned onto the unknown backroad. The sky grew darker and the wind picked up. “Straight out of a horror film,” said Danielle. Aria’s father did not want to admit how horrified he was in that instant. All he could think about was Aria…and that awful smell…and Aria…and…

“Honestly, what the hell is that?”

“Just keep driving. I swear it’s just mud,” Danielle said, anxious yet exhausted. Minutes past and finally, there lied their hope. Hope, in the form of a little blue Honda parked on the side of the old, forgotten road. Her parents eagerly stopped their car behind hers.

“Let me check it out, stay here Danielle.” Her dad got out and walked towards the Honda’s driver side door. As he peered in the window, he heard a blood-curdling shriek, and a door slam, from his car parked behind him

“What the-Danielle!” he shouted, noticing that the two front seats of the Honda were empty, and ran back to his wife. He did not notice at first, but she had been stabbed in the neck and chest. Sobbing and faintly screaming, Danielle could hardly be heard through the car windows. Stephan pulled on the handle of the car door, but it was locked. Danielle’s eyes grew in terror and she started to lose control.

“Don’t worry I’m here,” said Stephan, crying, petrified, and confused. Sadly, he could not hear her weak screams that only grew weaker with every breath she took. The pain was horrible, but the dead, vile grin of the killer dressed dirty, blood-stained clothes was worst. Danielle was too weak to alert him to turn around. It all made sense to her now…she realized everything as the love of her life was stabbed to death before her eyes, and the last thing she saw was the face that killed her daughter and husband, and now her.

 

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Brashier Middle College Charter High School News....written and created by students, for students
Road Kill