This story is by Kristin Skipper and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Pick up, pick up, pick up. The phone continued ringing; the incessant noise echoed through every speaker in my car. I was late for my shift, for the millionth time. I was totally getting fired.
The line clicked. “Ash! Where the hell are you?”
“I’m almost there. I swear.”
“Diane just got here, and she’s already on a rampage. She’s already fired that new PRN nurse from last week.”
“Shit. Please Jenn, can you cover for me this one last time?” I wasn’t above begging. Hell, I’d even pay her if only I had the money. I could almost hear her eye-roll through the speakers as she let out an exasperated breath.
“Ash this had better b..e…la….” The connection was cutting out. I knew the back roads through the forest was a bad idea.
I looked down at my phone, the signal was still there, but all I could hear was static. I hit my phone, hoping it would help stir up some signal.
There. Jenn’s pissed off voice sounded again from the speakers. “Ash I swear!”
“Sorry Jenn, bad service,” I said, as my eyes met the road again. But, before I could say more, a startled scream burst from my throat.
A hooded figure stood in the middle of the road, my car on a collision course with it. Jenn’s voice sounded through the speakers, worry evident.
My foot slammed down on the brake hard, tires squealing in protest.
The road was slick with the early morning rain.
I closed my eyes as my car spun. A thud sounded at the back of my car before it came to rest in the ditch on the side of the road.
Ringing echoed in my ears. Stars swam in my vision. I think I must’ve hit my head on something.
“Ash! A…sh!” Jenn’s voice crackled through the car’s speakers.
My hands shook as I brushed the hair from my face. Jenn frantic voice was yelling, repeatedly asking me what was going on.
I looked up, my eyes flew to the rear view mirror which showed the hooded figure laying on the ground, body motionless. No one else was around and probably wouldn’t be. This road was rarely traveled on except by the occupants that lived around here.
“Jenn.” My voice sounded like a scared child’s, shaking and wavering. “Oh my God I think I just hit someone.” Silent tears fell.
I couldn’t explain anymore, the line went dead, beeping.
Damn it! I took it off Bluetooth and tried to dial 911. No way was I gonna hit and run this guy. Still no signal. Taking a shaky breath, I climbed out of the car, trying to remain steady as I walked towards the person on the ground. I assumed it was a man judging by the size laying on his back, but his hooded face was turned away from me.
“Hello. Hello, can you hear me?”
Bending down, I reached to check for a pulse. I was a nurse after all I could help a little. I had a first-aid bag in the car. Just before I could touch his neck, the head moved, turning my way, a strange groaning coming from it.
His face, somewhat handsome with chiseled features started vibrating rapidly. My first thought was he was in some sort of seizure, although it was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
Suddenly, his eyes opened. They glowed bright red, like coals on fire. His face turned into something hideous.
“Holy shit!” I yelled, jumping back.
But when I looked at him again, his face was normal, the vibration gone. Maybe I hit my head harder than I thought.
The man remained unconscious. So, I picked him up by the arms and drug him to my car, pulling him into the backseat. He was going to the hospital with me.
I pulled into the ambulance bay. Thankfully, Jenn was there like she’d been waiting for me.
“Jenn! Oh, thank God. I think I hit a man. He…he’s in my backseat,” I said stumbling over my words.
Her eyes scrunched. “You think? Well, aren’t you sure?”
“Oh shut up and come help me.” I pulled her towards the car, flinging open the back door. He still lay there unconscious, his handsome face covered in blood. He looked like he was still breathing. I looked back to Jenn who was standing behind me with an odd look on her face.
“Go get a stretcher,” I ordered, waving my arm.
“For what?” She asked, cocking her head to the side.
“For the guy who’s dying in my backseat…obviously.”
I reached in for him, struggling to get a good hold, but he was heavier than he had been. The adrenaline must be wearing off.
“Ash,” she said, her hand resting on my shoulder.
I whipped my head around. “What!”
Her hand dropped from my shoulder, her eyes searching my face.
“Well, aren’t you gonna help me?” I asked through clenched teeth, still struggling to pull him free from my car.
“Ash, I think you need to come with me. Get a CT scan of your head.”
She pulled on my arm. I tried to shrug it off, but all the sudden Josh, the orderly, was pulling my other arm. I lost the fight and had to release my grip on the man.
“What are you guys doing? He’s there, dying in my backseat!”
“Ash, sweetie, there’s no one there.”
I struggled against them in vain. “Please, we can just leave him there to die.”
I pleaded, searching for understanding in her eyes. She looked past me, to Josh while she tied my arms down. They shared a look. I knew that look. It was a look I’d given many times when I thought someone had lost their mind. As they wheeled me away, I turned back just in time to see the hooded figure staring at me…smiling.