Saturday, March 21, 2015

Next Caller Please!

A river of scarlet trailed down my forehead. Gritting my teeth together, I checked my rear-view mirror for signs of that thing. All I could see was a bloated fog speckled with dust. I settled into my seat and looked off in the distance. Beyond the rolling mounds of dirt was nothing. Nothing for all the world to see. Nothing for me to see. I pressed my foot deeper into the gas pedal. Why not? There was no law in this place. Justice was a naive concept humanity had abandoned ages ago.

I carved my way through what must have been a half dozen valleys before reaching Nampa. Already low on gas, I pulled into the nearest all-night gas station and set to filling my tank. What was it? 3... 4 AM? I wasn't sure. After what seemed like forever, I capped my tank off and lodged the gas pump back in its mount. Eye-checking the battered old clerk behind the counter, I dashed for the restroom to wash the blood from my eyes. Long since dried, it had formed a crust over my left eye-lid. I looked like a battered husband before wiping it clean. After securing a few barely edibles and a pop, I got back in my car and pulled away.

As I came near the edge of town, the lights of the city began to flicker and fade. Before long, I was tossed back into pitch darkness. No moon hung overhead to cast a warm glow on the landscape. Nor were there any other cars on the highway. Just me... alone... in the dark.

It was then I noticed my radio quiver to life. I could faintly make out an old Glenn Miller tune, but the static was terrible. Loathsome old radio... I should have tossed it ages ago. I flipped the dial and found a classical station. How ironic for it to be playing Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique.
"Yes. Ironic."
A crackled voice ripped from the nothingness. The words scraped by my eardrum like the scales of an alligator brushing against a tree. In my rear-view mirror, staring at me... piercing my being...

Two relucent orange eyes -- locked onto me.

I couldn't see it's face, nor did I want to. For a moment, I considered flipping my cabin light on, but that idea quickly vanished. A mangled claw slipped out of the murkiness in my backseat and gripped my shoulder.

"Pull over. We need to talk."

Whipping the steering wheel in a large circle, I spun the car out in the middle of the highway. My headlights cast their glare upon the never-ending edge of empty land.
"Pull. Over."
Slowly, I managed to get the car off the road and onto the dirt. As I did, the hand pulled back from my shoulder and disappeared. A bead of sweat dripped down my nose. Or was it blood? Maybe it was both. Trembling in fear of what was about to happen, I put the car in park and let my foot fall limp in the floorboard. What had I just done?
"Your little stunt back there cost me precious time. Time I don't have. You must balance the scales. Make this right."
What was I to say? It had given me little choice in the matter. I didn't want to kill it's partner... at least I think that's what it was. How could I know?
"You petty humans. So quick to pass judgment. What if I were sent here to elevate you? To remake you as a towering behemoth? Your kind sickens me. Now, you must make a sacrifice."
The last thing I saw was its toothy grimace appear next to my face. I could feel its stench rolling over my collar and up my nose. A warty tongue gnashed and whipped over my cheek, occasionally licking my eye and ear.

A river of scarlet rippled down my face once again.


"This is KXXU, Victor Klute Investigates... next caller please!"

"Klute, this is Cam in Twin Falls. That last caller was full of crap. Man-eating gargoyles in Idaho? For goodness sake... I can at least partly believe the wacko alien abductees. But this was just nonsense. Hang up on 'em next time, would you?!"

"I think you might be right Cam. Something tells me that fella was off his meds. Next caller!"

"Hi. First time caller, long time listener. My name is Pete. I find it ironic that he would call your show and claim to have seen a gargoyle, but got miffed when you didn't believe him."

"You nailed it Petey Boy! Ironic is an understatement. Next caller!"

"Yes. Ironic."

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