|The Hitchhiker (standard:Suspense, 1299 words)|
|Author: Jennifer Cahill||Added: Apr 23 2012||Views/Reads: 4023/2238||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|The story involves a young soul who unwittingly becomes a victim in a situation that starts out innocent but the very innocence that is so soothing ends up putting the character in a terrifying position.|
The Hitchhiker Chris began to question the wisdom of this trip. He had planned on camping outside at various campsites near the Grand Canyon, but as he neared the first campsite, he realized he was missing some vital items. He remembered the easy-to-assemble tent, of course, but he realized that he had grabbed the wrong sleeping bag: this one was worn thin and even had a hole in it; plus the zipper stuck. He had packed a sufficient amount of food, canned beans and plenty of dried fruit and nuts and he planned to cook over an open fire, yet he had no pan. Too far from any local market, he realized he would have to suffice on dried fruits and nuts. Thus, at this point, Chris is aware of inadequate preparation. No pan to cook with, the wrong, too worn sleeping bag, and, he is becoming aware of weather that seems much colder than he anticipated. But he knows he has to settle in for the night, for a trip to the closest city or town is half a day's journey, and he is extremely fatigued. He makes a plan. He will stop at the first campsite, put together the tent, wrap myself in his clothing, including a leather jacket, and after spraying the sleeping bag with air freshener he keeps in his jeep, will attempt to crawl into the bag. The plan comes together after he reaches the campsite, a rather remote and isolated site sparsely populated at this time of year. After filling himself up with the fruit and nuts, he settles in for the night, enveloped in his rugged clothing and a pine scented sleeping bag. He falls asleep. Awakened in the night by sounds of light footsteps on the pine needles and the still budding grass (for it is early March), Chris wonder if a deer or a moose is outside. Always one to feel safe when alone, and having a natural inclination to trust most everyone, and to like most everyone, it does not cross his mind to feel suspicious or believe he is in harm's way. Feeling secure, he falls right back to sleep. The next morning, his jeep is gone. He asks the few neighbors who had camped within a few miles if they had seen or heard anything. They tell him no. Chris realizes his cell phone is dead. He understood then that he had gone on an ill-fated trip and the best thing to do was hitchhike to the next town, and call for help. Gathering his few belongings, he strolled out to the highway and stuck out his thumb. He could not believe it himself: He was now a hitchhiker. A hitchhiker: the lonely, daring, mostly solitary, stranger among the highway travelers in our country. Chris is a hitchhiker. The driver who picks Chris up in his truck comes across as quite friendly and easygoing. There is no hesitation on his part, for he is too eager to be on his way. The driver has crew cut short hair, almost balding, and a few days of growth on his face. When Chris enters the truck he becomes aware of a sort of rotten sour smell; he soon realizes it is the storage space in the back. Most likely food, he supposes. “Thank you for the lift.” The driver nods and grins, “You're quite welcome. A bit chilly the morning, ain't it?” Chris agrees and proceeds to tell the driver to please, if he would be so kind, to drop him off in the next town. “No problem.” The driver puts the truck in gear and revs up the engine. After twenty minutes of small talk, silence settles upon them. Chris is drifting into a light sleep when suddenly the truck swerves, speeds up, and slams into something on the road. Chris immediately realizes they have hit a creature, but what he cannot believe, in fact he keeps telling himself that he must have imagined it, is that the driver seemed to have aimed for the small animal that was hit. Chris shudders, feeling the chills go up and his spine. He watches in horror as the driver, ever so courteous, steps out of the truck, walks gingerly over to the dead rabbit, picks it up, and proceeds to put the animal into the storage bin in the back of his truck. The driver grins, telling Chris he collects road kill for entertainment, often cooking the carcasses on an open fire. “Delicious.” The driver chuckles as he looks at the expression on Chris's face. “Nothing to worry about.” Chris is silent when they finally arrive in the next town; he hops out of the truck with a quick and polite thank you. Chris doesn't look back as the truck speeds away, even when he realizes that he never knew the driver's name. As Chris walks along the center of the town, he takes a good look around and begin to notice a few things; observations that bother him. First and foremost, he realizes the center of town is one long narrow and winding street. A lot of the buildings are near-empty, desolate looking, amongst several that have been boarded up. The few people he sees are either sitting outside the near-empty shops, with tired, uncurious eyes, or rambling slowly along, their countenances expressing the idea that they are really going nowhere. Finally, at a corner of Main Street that begins the street's curvaceous end, Chris spots a rather brightly lit diner, much in contrast to the rest of the town. His hopes rising again, he heads towards the diner. Once inside, Chris was glad to see Click here to read the rest of this story (29 more lines)
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