"Where there is mystery, it is generally suspected there must also be evil."
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I felt like I was trapped in one of those horrifying nightmares, the ones that you have to run, run till your lungs explode, which causes you to become breathless gasping for air and the strength to help you stay alive.
In an old abandoned gas station on the corner of the long dreary road, I stared breathlessly from the car as my best friend, Monica, approached a stranger for directions. I had BEGGED her not to, but as always, she didn’t listen to me. My gut told me something bad was about to happen. I didn’t know what, but something really, really bad.
Who said someone’s worst dream could become reality?
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Why were Monica and I driving into an old gas station as the sun began to set? We had plenty of gas.
Monica had made a wrong turn. As a result, we had no idea where we were. The Colorado landscape alternated among crowded, city-like regions, suburban stretches, and characteristic areas, in which we found ourselves, that one’d call real country. In this desolate area, the roads narrowed and were unpaved. Dirt blew across as the wind moaned in a holler. The town looked downright deserted.
We were to meet our friends at the Fly by Night Diner, the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night. Teens gathered there to socialize and check out the hot guys and gals. Neither Monica nor I had been to the Fly by Night Diner.
I shivered. My bones ached with an eerie feeling of dread. I should have known the angels were telling us to turn and get away from this dreadful place as fast as possible.
My mother always taught me to listen to my inner instinct, but of course, I ignored my gut feelings and decided to go along with what my friend Monica wanted to do.
Monica wanted to drive into the gas station to find help. She yearned to find that Fly by Night Diner and party up a storm with our friends.
Though no closed sign hung in its window, the station appeared as though it hadn’t sold a drop of gas in months. Everything seemed old and dirty.
Dust lay everywhere. The wind howled in the trees, and thunder cracked in the skies for a horror-film ambiance.
Monica spotted a guy in a ball cap with black hair sticking out and carelessly lied back in a ponytail, a ripped shirt, and dirty, torn jeans with tattoos up his arms.
“Monica,” I said as I touched her arm. “Let’s just turn back. I don’t like the way that guy looks. The whole area gives me the creeps.”
“Stop worrying, Valarie. The guy’ll give us directions, and we’ll be on our way,” Monica replied as she sluffed off my hand.
My muscles stiffened as the sun slowly drifted into the horizon.
Monica rolled down the car window and called out, “Hey, you. We’re lost. Can you stop what you’re doing and give us directions?”
Monica was never one for politeness. She boldly spoke whatever words entered her brain.
The man’s eyes squinted. He glanced our way, touched the dirty scruff on his face, and then quickly returned to whatever he was doing to avoid us.
His skin was rough and dry, white scaly flakes surfaced around his eyes and nose. He had this angry look on his face. His facial expressions were cold and motionless. There was no smile, smirk or a small grin on his face. Cold chills rushed down my spine. I could feel the goose bumps on my arms.
“We’re digging ourselves a grave,” I whispered in a low tone.
“You watch too many cop shows. Relax. The guy just works here,” Monica scolded.
Monica’s raised her head high, her eyes became squint and she quickly shrugged her shoulders. She stared direct at him with his back turned away from him. Monica was insulted. The guy had avoided her. She began to unbuckle her seat belt.
“What are you doing?” I cried. “This guy looks like he just broke out of prison, and you’re going to get out to ask him for directions? He shrugged us off because he doesn’t want us to bother him or give us directions.”
“Valarie, there’s no store for miles. If this guy doesn’t help us, then we’re screwed.”
The strong winds were howling. Cold raindrops hit the windshield.
I kept my eye on the scene as Monica approached the mystery man. A chill tightened my spine. This can’t be good, I thought.
The wind increased, looping Monica’s curls straight toward the east. She was losing her patience; I could tell by her fierce strut toward the mystery man.
“I asked you for directions,” she demanded, “and you completely dissed me. That wasn’t nice. All I want to know is how to get to the Wakanda Diner.” Monica propped one hand against her hip and stood in defiance.
His back faced Monica. He was knelt in the garage and bent over a table. No cars sat on the work platforms. The garage stood empty of tools and equipment.
Monica persisted. “Excuse me! Why are you ignoring me? I didn’t do anything to you. I just want directions so I can get out of here.”
The man swung to face her and with his coarse, stern voice said, “I want out of here, too, but I’m not so sure about you!”
He held a knife in his plastic-gloved left hand. In one sudden move, he grabbed Monica’s hand and pressed it against the knife as though she had held it. Then he yanked the knife back and released her. He then ripped a cover from a hump on the garage floor.
Underneath laid a dark-haired woman, her arms and legs tied with a thick rope and duct tape across her mouth. The mystery man jammed the knife into the woman’s chest, then jerked it out and tossed it beside her.
I was stunned into silence. Is this real? Had I just witnessed a murder? My other self assured me this is real. Then I immediately slid into the driver’s seat. I had to take action, do something. I must save Monica, my mind told me. My body filled with a turbo-burst of energy. Adrenalin surges raced through my body. I felt like a super hero.
Suddenly something was wrong. Monica’s mouth opened wide, and she clutched her hand to her chest.
A bright flash of lighting gleamed through the skies, followed by a clap of thunder. The dead leaves crackled as I fearfully pressed my foot all the way down on the gas pedal, headed toward the mystery man.
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So what did you think of chapter 1?
Do you like the title The Adventures of Covenant Cove or Stranger Lurking in the Shadows