Going to try to make this a habit. But I’m not making any promises. We know how I do.
The fog was so thick you could practically cut it with a knife. Normal lights afforded you some visibility but brights turned the fog into a bright white wall of nothing that followed five feet in front of you as you drove.
So I kept my driving lights on avoiding brights despite my desire to improve visibility. The still lingering clouds turned what should have been early morning light into darkness, at least what I could tell through the fog.
Once in a while I passed a street light. It illuminated the rock wall, guardrails, and pavement. But it’s light couldn’t pierce further than the small area below it.
It had been raining for days, sometimes a drizzle sometimes a mist. But mostly just a downpour so heavy your wipers couldn’t keep up. But it had stopped long enough for there to be a few dry patches here and there.
There weren’t many other vehicles on the road aside from mine. As early as it was, on the weekend nonetheless, no one in their right mind would be out if they didn’t have to be. I would have much preferred a warm bed as opposed to a long dark damp road.
No, one wouldn’t expect another soul to be on these roads. but here I was traveling unhappily to work. I was admittedly tired, a little distracted by the thought of all I had to do. That and the fog was why I didn’t see it at first.
I’d been looking at the road ahead, as one should, and I glanced down for a moment to check my speed. It was that split second it took my mind to register what I’d seen, and look back up that startled me.
It’d been much further when I first saw it. A dark figure in the foggy distance. Backlit by a streetlight, just enough to make out a vaguely human shape. And it stood in the middle of the road.
I slammed on the breaks, the truck tires squealing on the asphalt, a wet spot on the road caused slight fishtailing. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, and opened them.
I expected to see whatever it was bathed in the glow of my headlights, or worse, splayed across the hood of my truck, despite hearing no sound of the sort. But instead, I saw nothing.
I blinked a few times, rubbed the sleep from my eyelids, and squinted into the thick fog.
There it was. Further ahead than where I’d imaged, despite the distance I’d traveled. It was as if it’d leapt ahead of me. But it was still there. Lingering.
I took a deep breath, composed myself, then let off the breaks and hit the gas, slower this time. I kept an eye on the road and an eye on the thing in front. As I drove it seems to remain just at the edge of the fog, as if it were moving along with me.
So I tested it. I picked up speed, so did it. When I slowed, it did too. And unlike most objects, when you were moving toward it in the distance that “grew” in size as you got closer, this did not. It remained the same size.
I slowed to a complete stop in the middle of the road, staring at it. I knew I only had about another mile and a half until I reached my destination, with one turn off. Until this point it has been a relatively straight stretch.
So I floored it.
I didn’t even think about it when I did it. Just put my foot in the gas abs gave it my all. The revved and the tires squealed again as I peeled out.
I wanted to see it move. To catch up with it. Wanted it to get bigger as I got closer. It did nothing. Until I looked away.
A porch light had come on, perhaps awoken by the roaring of my engine and squealing of tires and I glanced quickly toward the light, my attention drawn, and then back.
And there it was, ten feet in front of me, still black as nothingness, still backlit by… nothing.
I slammed on the brakes once again, almost locking them up, jerking the truck to a sudden stop. I should have been within feet of hitting it—had I wanted to hit it?—but when I opened my eyes, it was gone again.
I looked for it ahead of me. It had been maintaining its position in the middle of the road, this time when it leapt ahead it had practically flown away. I did not see it go, nor where it might have went. But it was gone.
People were looking out their windows now. I’d made it into downtown without realizing it. My abnormally reckless driving had woken some residents from their dreary morning slumber. And it had begun to look like morning. Sunlight was peaking trough breaks in clouds.
Perhaps the rain was done. Perhaps the sun would come out today. Perhaps the dark figure looming ahead had left to confuse and bewilder another unfortunate soul.
Either way, I was going to be late.
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