Off Road

By Michael Staudt

The car motor stopped, and the gas tank icon blinked red. My family and I were in the middle of nowhere and had been off to California for our Fall break excursion.

“Dad, how come we aren’t moving?,” stated our son Jimmy, anxiously.

“The car is out of gas Jimmy. Without gas, we can’t move. Fiona, where’s my cell phone?”

“It’s in the camping bag. I’ll grab it for you”

Her smooth hands unzipped the dusty, grey bag and a plume of dust flew in my direction. Coughing, I cleared my throat as she handed me the cellular device.

With adrenaline running through my veins, I dialed our triple A insurance company.

“I am sorry, but you are not in a service zone. Please try again, thank you.” stated the calm computerized voice.

“Honey, we aren’t in a service zone! Do we still have the water bottles that I packed?”

“I’ll check!,” she responded, solicitously.

“Daddy, I think we should have brought our extra gas tanks,” Jimmy said, apprehensively.

“We’re out! I guess we drank them all on the way over”

“I don’t remember drinking all ten of them. Are the bottles still in the trunk?”

“No they’re all gone! It looks like someone salvaged them”

“Let me take a look”

The green LL Bean bag was unzipped with blade marks across the fabric. Clothes were scattered across the trunk of the vehicle as if they had been thrown about.

“Jimmy, did you take the clothes out of the bag on the way over?,” I demanded.

“No, why?”

“Just wondering. The clothing looks like it’s been taken from the bag”

“Let me look”

Jimmy’s crystal clear blue eyes became wide and pusillanimous. His small hands felt the blade marks, and his hands jerked back.

“Did you see anyone open up the trunk door when we stopped?”

“No”

“Well than how did this happen?,” whined Fiona.

The bushes in the distance rustled, and we turned around alarmed. Jimmy began to walk towards the bush.

“Jim get back here!”

“I just want to see what’s behind the bush”

I ran towards him and grabbed his wrist, but it was too late. A bear trap clasped around his ankle, and he screamed in agony.

Fiona dashed to the scene and began to sob. The blades sliced through the poor boy’s leg, and he collapsed onto the dark dirt. Lifting Jimmy off of the ground, Fiona took him from my arms and embraced him. He gasped and began to hyperventilate as he went into a state of shock. Her tears dropped like raindrops onto his bloodstained face.

Dashing to grab the bandages, I examined the bag and grabbed the coil of tattered cloth. Turning around I gasped and dropped the bundle of cloth. Jimmy and Fiona had vanished.

“Jimmy, Fiona where are you!” I desperately yelled. I dashed to the passenger’s seat to grab my portable phone. As I opened the door, the cellular device was gone. I screamed in frustration. Was I going mad? Was I insane or in shock from the previous incidents?

I heard footsteps behind me and I turned around ravenously. Whatever had stolen our items was going to pay for what they had done. With my fists up against my chest, I looked up onto the roof of our silver Toyota.

A crouched muscular man, holding my cell phone, stared at me, abnormally. I gazed into his eyes and saw calamitous, eternal, darkness. Slowly walking backwards, slowly, I felt a wooden bat smack me in the back of my head.

I regained consciousness in a small cavern with old blood stained beds surrounding me. The smell of rotting flesh was nauseating, and I regurgitated onto the dusty floor. I was chained on a hospital table, and I began to breathe heavily. I saw shadows of moving figures holding knives in their hands. A blazing fire filled with body parts was to the left of me.

As I groaned in panic, I yanked at the steel chains. I began to silently weep as I gazed at the ominous, figures. I closed my eyes and began to think of my fate. Terrifying thoughts filled my mind as I began to hyperventilate. A loud clang interrupted my thoughts, and I jolted upwards. The sound of a blade being unsheathed sounded across the spacious room.

A hunching figure approached me with a steak knife as he licked his chomps. I began to scream in fear as the demented being approached me. His breath smelled of devoured human flesh as he aligned the blade to my thigh.

In panic I fell unconscious as a slight pain vibrated through my body. I was about to become a meal for a family of cannibals.

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