Unusually, the road I find myself on is quiet. I am not beeped at repeatedly for my quote, “snail’s pace,” and I am not presented with the misfortune of ruining someone else’s day. It’s nice to drive at night. The passing yellow lights illuminate a road party to which only a select few are invited and the red glow of rear ends add to the disco-like atmosphere.
We’re going to like it here, I tell myself as I glance to the passenger seat. My brother Paul sits uneasily in the torn leather chair. The car had six previous owners; it was bound to have some scratches here and there.
A surge of confidence flows through me in my novel environment, so I whip my little car into fifth gear. I press down hard on the accelerator, feeling my body shoot backwards as the car fires ahead. I feel so bold, so deviant; I never break the rules.
Abruptly, our joyride comes to a sudden halt. Flashing blue lights up the rearview mirror and the sound of a siren rings in my ears. The sound is piercing, almost earsplitting in volume. I quickly flick on a blinking indicator and pull over to the side of the road. We sit in silence while we wait for the emergency vehicle to whizz by us. Surely at this hour, the impetus for requesting such a vehicle would be dire, so we bless ourselves as we wait, still maintaining our silence. But the vehicle never passes. Flashing lights continue to dance in my mirror and I am forced to squint to see the goings-on behind me. A door slowly opens, allowing the escape of a long, dark figure. Worried butterflies flap nervously in my stomach, filling my entire being with dread. More than likely, our little joyride had been caught, and now it was time to suffer the consequences.
A knock comes to my window when the figure finally reaches us; blue lights still provide illumination to the road. I roll the glass down slowly, sensing the intensity of a cold breeze grow as the crack in the window grows.
“Good evening,” the officer states. A wide grin rests on his face. I try to discern further features, but the darkness adds difficulty to my scrutinization. A red crust is evident on his neck, nonetheless.
“Good evening,” I reply hesitantly. Paul remains silent while staring into the blue lights.
I watch the officer’s arm swinging behind him.
“Going a little fast, were we?” He licks his lips. More red stains become apparent when he shuffles on his feet.
“A little,” I admit, hanging my head in shame.
“Brian?” Paul interrupts, breaking his stillness. “Brian!” His question turns to a panicked demand.
I ignore him at first to continue my conversation with the officer. Eventually, I am forced to attend to Paul after he violently shakes my arm.
“What?” I whisper. I gesture to the officer to ‘give me a minute.’
Paul does not audibly answer. Instead, he points to the mirror and I am forced to squint once again.
“What is it?” I ask in a huff. I could see nothing but blinding lights.
“Look closer,” Paul instructs quietly; I must strain my ears to hear him. “Look at the passenger seat.”
I gawk into the mirror again, straining my eyes. When my vision adapts to the blue tinge, the entire world turns upside down. Shock overtakes me, leaving me weightless, and a feeling of pure fear engulfs my being. Slumped in the passenger seat is an officer of the law. Matching stains of red are evident on his body and it is clear that this man is no longer living. The man who pulled me over is no officer; he is a murderer.
Play it cool, I tell myself.
“That’s a hefty fine I could ask for,” the imposter argues. “You’re lucky I’m one of the nice ones.”
I laugh nervously and watch as his playful expression transforms. His arm continues to shake as if he is holding something that I cannot see.
“Step out of the car please,” he demands. His eye twitches.
I begin to obey his instructions but am stopped by Paul.
“Don’t,” he commands. “Let’s just get out of here.”
“Everything okay in there?”
“Play it cool,” I tell Paul.
I slowly step out of the car; my arms are raised above my head as if I am under arrest. The stranger has disappeared into the darkness and I am refilled with a gush of terror as a result.
“Hello,” I shout into the blackness.
“Hello,” I repeat.
“Get back in the car,” Paul orders.
“Hello,” I shout one last time as I wander around the car.
As I return to the driver’s seat, the world turns red. The murderous madman emerges from the darkness, a hatchet in his hand. Its serrated edge is stained with blood; drips of blood plummet to the road beneath. The homicidal look in his eye intensifies and a gigantic target sits on me. I freeze as if I am glued to the ground.
“Brian, run!” Paul yells.
The bloodthirsty hatchet wielder sprints toward me, his ferocious weapon raised high above his head. I fight against the ice-cold freeze I have been placed in and dodge his attack. The hatchet collides with the roof of my car, becoming stuck in the shiny metal. I reach the driver’s seat and hurry away with haste.
After speeding miles down the road, we finally allow ourselves to breathe a sigh of relief.
“Think we’ve lost him?” Paul queries.
“I hope so.”
I glance in the rearview mirror, exhaling with reprieve. My peripheral vision catches a glimpse of the hatchet that has attached itself to my car.
Before I can finish my statement, the rearview mirror lights up with shades of blue all over again.