Don’t Exit The Vehicle


Suggested Audio Candy:


Medwyn Goodall “Behold the Darkness”




“Piece of shit. Cock-sucking motherfucking trash can on wheels”.

This was the third time in as many weeks that Cassandra’s ordinarily staunchly reliable automobile had given up the ghost The first was on her driveway so, apart from making her two hours late for work, it was little more than an inconvenience. The following occasion was amidst mid-afternoon freeway traffic and meant waiting around for what felt like an eternity until the roadside cavalry showed. This time however she was up to her pretty little elbows in shit.

Taking a detour away from the path more traveled seemed like an ingenious plan at the time as she made her way home from a boozy office party but was now looking like a rather hefty bum steer as she spluttered to a halt in the middle of nowhere. As if that wasn’t precarious enough. Her cell battery had died hours ago after a string of drunken selfies, leaving her with no way of calling for help. Utterly stranded, she had no conceivable way of bettering her situation other than leaving her automobile and hiking into the unknown to get help. The FM radio was still operational but that was scant consolation in her current plight and she had no intention of sitting it out until assistance came as her locale didn’t look like the kind of place which saw a great deal of passing traffic. Against her better judgement, she unbuckled herself and stepped outside.

What didn’t help was that she had no real clue as to her coordinates or where the nearest gas station may be as she had never before taken this route. Glancing around only revealed tall trees and a straight countryside road which was completely unlit and stretched as far as her eyes could see. No distant illumination, chances were that she could be miles away from the nearest town and it would require a sizable leap of faith and some hefty hiking boots to make any headway. Unfortunately for Cass, six-inch patent heels and a woefully short leather skirt were far less than ideal attire and she had already sprained her ankle partaking in the Jägerbomb challenge back when the party was in full swing.

Under normal circumstances she would never dream of drinking and driving but the excessive alcohol had heavily impaired her ordinarily sound judgement this night and, in her inebriated wisdom, she decided that there would be no harm in rolling the dice just this one time. In over twelve years driving she had never once been pulled over so the odds had seemed in her favor. She considered herself as headstrong and not easily spooked but the country road she had broken down on was anything but inviting and way off the beaten track. “It’s now or never Cassandra. Time to get your freak on girl.” She started off on the potentially lengthy walk ahead. “No turning back now.”

About a hundred yards up the track she began to hyperventilate. The very last thing she needed right now was one of her asthma attacks but something was starting to freak her the hell out. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being observed from a concealed vantage and the uneasy feeling in her gut continued to grow with every wayward step she took. It also didn’t help that her ankle had swollen to around twice its normal size and her head was spinning from her foolhardy excesses. “Never drink and drive. Seems like pretty fucking good advice now.” Her light-headedness then came to a not altogether unforeseen head, forcing her to wretch violently on the road side but all that materialized was bile. It wasn’t the first time she had drunk herself into a stupor but any promises to herself over never drinking again were invariably dishonored and she knew full well that it wouldn’t be the last.

After several minutes of resting up, she eventually decided to press on and this decision was aided, in no small part, by the somewhat disconcerting audio emanating from within the dense thicket to her left. It sounded increasingly like a consortium of whispers, each one raising goosebumps and causing her heart to flutter a little more briskly. At first she rationalized and put it down to her over-active imagination but the sounds not only persisted but strengthened, appearing also to close in on her position steadily. She could swear blind that she heard her name chanted at one point. “Cassandra.” This kind of recognition would ordinarily be usually considered a distinct positive when stranded in thick woodlands, numerous clicks away from civilization but this was far less encouraging. “We can see you Cassandra. We’re right here, all around you.” Needless to say, panic began setting in after this particular statement.


As if this wasn’t disconcerting enough, she was clearly not imagining the haunting cries of children which accompanied these words. A mixture of desolate groans and what sounded distinctly like vague giggles, they started gathering momentum as though whatever was out there was closing in on her coordinates. She hobbled onwards frantically, removing her heels now as her badly bruised appendage was threatening to collapse at any given moment and slowing her progress considerably now. “Everything is fine. Just a little too much liquor. In a few days I will look back at this whole shitty experience and laugh my ass off.” She wasn’t doing a particularly good job of convincing herself.

Nearly an hour had now passed and Cass was starting to lose the will to carry on. There was no sign of life and the route forward appeared indistinguishable regardless of how far she ambled. To make matters ten times worse the voices still hadn’t subsided and were coming now with far more frequency. “Give it up Cassandra. Stop. Take a break. We’ll look after you.” She would do no such thing. “Leave me alone. Fuck off and die” she sobbed, stammering on with dwindling hope now all but diminished. Her already negligible bladder could carry the can no longer but there was no way in blazing hell that she would be stopping so she relieved herself where she stood and pressed on. “Time to come and join us Cassandra. We’ve been waiting for you.”

Suddenly she spotted a busted-up Chevy which appeared identical to her own no more than fifty yards in the distance. Relief washed over her momentarily as this, at least, encouraged her that she wasn’t alone out here. Indeed, it appeared as though the car’s owner was still in the vicinity as she could make out a hunched over figure leaning across the driver’s side from where she was standing. Using every ounce of remaining stamina and battling through torrid pain in both her ankles now, she hobbled toward the vehicle. “Hey. Excuse me. Please I need help.” There was absolutely no response from the individual.


As she approached she was all at once overcome with a sense of dread. The automobile in question was indeed identical, a consideration confirmed by a cursory glance over the license plate. “No…no freaking way.” This was simply impossible, she had seemingly journeyed in a complete circle even though the road she had traversed was dead straight. Cassandra could hear muffled audio coming from inside the car and, as she reached for the back bumper, she realized that it was the interior radio she could discern. “Local authorities have confirmed that the killer is still very much at large and are warning that he is in no way to be approached as he is armed and extremely volatile.”

No sooner had she heard the disparaging bulletin than the shrouded figure stepped out from the vehicle, dragging behind him a large woodsman’s axe dripping with fresh blood. She froze on the spot stunned but he paid her no mind, instead turning his back on her and lurching off in the opposite direction, blade grinding along the tarmac. Sensing that this posed her an opportunity of sorts, she staggered to the open door but, upon arrival, was greeted by a most unwelcome sight and one that she could never have prepared herself for.

Inside was her own body, crudely carved and littered with gushing abrasions, totally lifeless. Cass couldn’t stop herself from vomiting over the interior door panel upon being welcomed by this most odious revelation and, as she did, the voices returned. “Welcome back Cassandra. Time to come with us now.” Abruptly she felt the force of a thousand cold dead hands gripping her body as they commenced dragging her off into the underbrush. Her guttural shrieks quickly became muted as she was sucked into the oppressively twisted trees and perpetual darkness leaving behind a pair of heels filled to the brim with her blood.


Click here to read The Festive Folly of Fran Beckett







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