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The Hitchhiker (standard:Suspense, 1299 words)
Author: Jennifer CahillAdded: Apr 23 2012Views/Reads: 4927/2902Story 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 

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