A Halloween Camp Fire Tale

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October 29, 2009

Camp Fire

With a change in pace, and in honor of Halloween, this week’s read will be a little different.  One of the things that many campers do, from tenters to million dollar coaches, is share a camp fire in the darkness of night.  Around the dancing flames many tales are told.  

This camp fire story will take you to a lonely highway on a rain soaked night.  So sit back and enjoy this Halloween tale.



The music of the Warsaw Concerto echoed through the car as I drove south from Sudbury on a dark rainy night.  The frequent flashes of lightning seemed to eerily coincide with the music that cloaked the sound of the driving rain.  A shiny ribbon of black road surface twisting through the rolling hills was revealed with each flash.  The storm appeared to be worsening or perhaps I was getting closer to the center of it.  I slowed down as the visibility reduced in a heavy downfall.  The wipers were slapping wildly yet unable to move the water fast enough to provide adequate forward vision.  After about five minutes the rain eased somewhat, again allowing a glimpse of the harsh landscape during each lightning flash. 

As I rounded a left hand curve I was startled by a dark rain soaked figure that was silhouetted in a distant flash.  The car lights soon caught the view of a rain drenched shadow.  It was a man in a dark coat.  He appeared in need of help, perhaps a ride.  I lightly applied the brakes on the slick surface of the highway and managed to come to a stop some fifty feet passed the man.  I could see him in the mirror hurrying toward the car.   The passenger’s door swung open and he spoke.  “Can you give me a ride to the next town?” he said, already swinging himself into the car.  “Sure, get in” I said, even though I realized he already was.  He closed the door and I pulled back onto the black asphalt.

It was awkwardly silent for what seemed like forever.  Finally he broke the silence, “My car broke down.  Can’t get it fixed tonight.”  “Yeah, this is no night to work on anything out there.” I replied and I continued “Where did you breakdown?  I didn’t notice any cars on the side of the road.”  “I was about a quarter mile from the highway on a side road,” he said, without hesitation.  The car again became quiet.  Only the rain and a faint sound from the radio which I had turned down could be heard.

It remained silent for the next few miles as neither of us spoke a word.  In an effort to change the uncomfortable atmosphere that blanketed the inside of the car I turned the radio back up.  An unrecognizable instrumental filled the speakers as I drove following the white broken line on the ink black road surface.

Suddenly, the music that surrounded us stopped abruptly.  “We interrupt this program for a special bulletin.  Sudbury area residents should be on alert for a convict that escaped police custody early today.  He is believed to be armed and considered extremely dangerous.   He is about five foot ten and weighs 220 lbs.  He is missing his left arm.  If you see a man answering this description, do not approach him.  Call the police immediately.”  It then returned to the somber music.

I looked straight ahead, but had to wonder if he was looking at me.  I waited for a flash of lightning to slightly look over and see what he was doing.  I caught the flicker of his eyes in the flash as he turned his head back towards the front.  Again, in the dark car, I could feel his eyes observing me.  I realized I would have to do something.  I could feel my adrenaline running as I watched the road ahead.  I had to think quickly.  I saw a wide portion of the shoulder of the highway right ahead and applied the brakes.  I managed to pull the car well off the roadway and brought it to a stop. 

“I think one of the front tires is almost flat.  Can you get out and check?” I blurted out.  “Sure.  The front tires?” he replied.  “Yeah, one of them.  I don’t know which.”  I quipped.  He climbed out into the still driving rain.  I could not see him clearly, just a dark blur as he bent down at the right front wheel.  He soon rose and moved forward and started across the front of the car.  At that moment, I pounded the accelerator pedal to the floor and the car lunged forward.  The dark hulk slammed the hood and spun to the right in a flailing fashion, passing over the right fender.  I caught a view of the lifeless body hitting the ground as I sped out and back on the road.  Oh no, I nearly lost control of the vehicle as it whiplashed and skidded towards the left ditch.  Luckily I managed to gain control.  It’s very difficult driving a car that is out of control, especially when you only have one arm.

Wishing You A Happy Halloween     –    Lug_Nut    –     Peter Mercer



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