Weekly Exercise #13 (11/10/13)

Posted: November 10, 2013 in Living and Life, Scary Stuff, Weekly Exercises, Writing
Tags: , , , , ,

Time for my Weekly Exercises (and a day earlier than promised). These flash fiction pieces are a chance to practice my craft, as well as get feedback from readers, and to possibly get them interested in my published work. Remember, the Weekly Exercises are for the readers, so if you like what you read, let me know.

This week’s Exercise is a special one, and not just because it’s the thirteenth. I’ve included a little section after the Exercise to explain why this one’s special. I’d suggest for you to wait until after you’ve read the Exercise to read that explanation, but scroll down if you want to. Just recognize it’s a much more impactful story if you read the additional stuff afterwards.

For more Weekly Exercises, please follow the link here. And if you have an idea for a Weekly Exercise, let me know. You may see your name and idea in a future Weekly Exercise.

~~~

Mark pulled the Toyota Sequoia into his usual parking spot and got out, sweaty and close to puking. Still he managed to keep his stomach down and went to inspect the front of the car. When he saw the blood, he actually did throw up.

He couldn’t believe it had happened. He’d been driving home from a party at his friend’s frat house after a few hours of boozing and a comfortable three-quarter hour with a lovely coed. He was slightly buzzed, but not enough that he thought it’d be a problem to drive. Besides, what did he care? He was doing well in his classes, he’d probably ace his exams, and he was graduating a semester early with a 3.7 GPA. What could go wrong with his life?

He’d been a block away from the intersection at Fifteenth and High, and the light turned green. He’d stepped on it, not even bothering to slow his speed or put on his turn signal as he went into the turn. It was then he’d first seen the pedestrian, a guy in a navy-blue coat and a wool hat crossing High Street. Mark saw him, but didn’t react. Neither did the pedestrian, who had just seemed to notice that a big white car was heading for him at nearly forty miles an hour.

There was a sickening crunching noise as the car’s nose hit the pedestrian head-on. He flipped -over onto the hood, rolled up to the windshield, bounced off the glass, and then off the car and onto the street. Mark hit his brakes, skidding to a stop in the left-hand lane. He looked behind him, seeing a crowd of people gathering from the nearest bar and from the street corners to see what had happened. The pedestrian lay on the ground unmoving, while people took photos with their phones and pointed. Still the pedestrian didn’t move.

Mark didn’t know how long he looked out the back of his car, but then he noticed people pointing at his car and he’d snapped back to life. He’d pressed down the gas pedal and bolted before anyone could stop him or call the cops. Mark didn’t stop driving until he was far from Fifteenth and High, and only then did he slow down enough to make it home in the narrow streets in his neighborhood without hitting anyone or anything else.

He’d killed that guy. He was sure of it. The amount of blood his car had brought with them, the poor bastard couldn’t have survived. Perhaps Mark should turn himself in—no, he couldn’t. He was going to graduate in a few weeks, and he had an interview with Safe Auto tomorrow afternoon. If he was even charged with killing someone, he could kiss his chances of graduating and employment away.

He’d have to get rid of the evidence. The window wasn’t cracked and the hood was only a little bent out of shape. If he could get the blood off his white car, nobody would know the difference. Mark turned to get a bucket and a sponge from his apartment, but standing in his way was a person. Except the person was covered in blood, his jaw nearly torn off, and his arm was bent at a weird angle. He couldn’t be a real person, could he?

Mark stepped back as the monstrous man limped towards him. It was then that Mark noticed the guy was wearing a navy-blue coat and a wool hat. It was the pedestrian he’d hit. “Hey dude.” said the pedestrian, looking at him through broken glasses. “You know, that was kind of dickish back there. I mean, you just left me in the street so that people could take photographs of me and post them to Facebook! What was up with that?”

“Stay away from me!” shouted Mark, but the ghostly vision came closer. Then it extended his good arm and pushed Mark into the front of his car. Mark felt the blood against his back, and he screamed.

“You didn’t care, did you?” shouted the spirit. “You just ran off to preserve your perfect life! My life’s gone now, it’s all over the ground and your car and your back.”  Mark stared in horror as the spirit started to fade in front of his eyes. “Well, guess what? Karma’s a bitch.”

The spirit disappeared. For a second, Mark thought he’d imagined the whole thing, but then his car roared to life behind him. He turned around and saw the pedestrian’s ghost in the front seat of his car. “Hey, I never got my license.” shouted the spirit, leaning his head out the window. Do you think I can still drive this and kill you?”

Mark screamed and ran. The car followed, its demonic driver laughing maniacally. He ran, dodging the car every time the engine gunned and it tried to hit him. At some point Mark realized that the ghost in the front seat was pushing him back towards High Street. But why? Did he want him to die like he’d died, on the very same street as he did?

Finally he broke onto the open lane of High Street, not seven blocks from where Mark had hit the pedestrian. The car chased him towards Fifteenth, a chase in the middle of the busy street. People watched as Mark ran, chased by his own car. Finally between Fourteenth and Fifteenth, the car’s engine died and the car rolled to a stop in front of a closed bookstore. Mark stopped running, unable to believe he was still alive.

“Excuse me sir?” said a voice. Mark turned and saw two cops coming his way from a sea of police cars surrounding the crosswalk where Mark had hit the pedestrian. And there, unnoticed by anyone, was the pedestrian’s ghost, sitting on top of one car. He waved as the police inspected him and his car.

Now Mark’s life was over too. The spirit disappeared.

~~~

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this on this blog, but back in February of this year I was hit by a car on the way to class. Luckily I got off with only a few bruised ribs and a scrape or two, but I was pissed, especially when the driver only waited for me to get up and start swearing before she tried to drive off. She didn’t get very far though, because the street we were on was not only full of cars and pedestrian traffic, but a construction site was nearby. She was arrested twenty feet from where she’d hit me!

Ever since that day though, I’ve been weary of getting hit again, and every time I cross a street, I’m watching twice as hard for anything that might hit me. Good thing I’ve been so vigilant, because last night as I was walking back from seeing the new Thor movie, I was crossing the street and a car nearly ran me over. And yes, it was a white Toyota Sequoia. If I’d taken a second longer to react, I might be a pancake in the road. And the way the driver reacted–actually, how he didn’t react at all to nearly hitting a pedestrian while driving too fast in a turn.–let me know that he would’ve just driven away as well if he’d hit me.

So as part therapy, part fun of writing, part warning to anyone who reads this blog and drives, and part imagining what might happen if he’d actually hit me and I could come back as a ghost, I dedicated a whole Weekly Exercise to what’d nearly happened to me. And now that I’ve written this out, I can say I can continue on with my life with just as much enjoyment and energy as usual.

Well, maybe with a bit more confidence and pride that my hyper-vigilance around traffic isn’t out of just paranoia and it’s actual useful. Good night everybody!

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