The Raincoat

January 27, 2008
By Delaney Moore, Carmel, IN

“Maybe we should stop somewhere,” Meredith complained as she stared out the car window. Rain poured down the sky, blinding any chance of seeing the road ahead. “I mean, it’s getting really dangerous.” She looked over to her husband, with a frustrated look on her face.

“Mer. If you think that I can’t handle a little down pour, what kind of man do you think I am?” Scott turned his head towards Meredith to reveal his, hopefully convincing, expression.

“Scott. Please. You can hardly keep the car on the street.” Meredith argued.

“Jesus Mer, calm down. I’m the driver. I’ll make the decisions. If we are going to make it to your mom’s by dawn, we aren’t stopping.”

Meredith crossed her arms and felt her heart rate speed up as she continued to stare out the window. She had never seen rain like this before. It made her nervous, but Scott was never the type to consider her feelings in such a trivial situation.

After a couple hours of driving, the conditions started to worsen. Not only was it pouring, but the wind started to pick up. Meredith, trying not to think of the worst case scenario, closed her eyes and pictured arriving to her mother’s house safe and sound.

“Hey, Mer,” Scott whispered with a stern voice.

Meredith opened her eyes. “Yeah?”

“I think you were right. We’ll stop,” Scott confirmed. Meredith smiled. She liked when her husband used common sense. Doesn’t any woman?

“I just have to find the nearest hotel or something. We’ll pick up where we left off tomorrow morning. Hopefully this weather will pass and the morning light will make it easier to see. Keep your eyes open.”

For the next couple minutes, both Scott and Meredith scanned the sides of the roads for any form of a building or human life. Unfortunately driving on a country road doesn’t really have likelihood for either of those things.

“Hey I think there’s a man up there. See him. Walking on the side of the road. Is he crazy? In this weather? He doesn’t even have an umbrella!” Meredith exclaimed.

“Well, I’m going to ask him for directions to the nearest motel,” Scott said as he pulled over to the side of the road. He rolled down the window slightly, enough to have an audible conversation.

“Excuse me sir? Can you direct me towards a motel, hotel, bed and breakfast? Any place that can get us out of these ridiculous driving conditions?” Scott asked.

The man, who looked about 70, smiled and replied, “There isn’t one of those for about 30 more miles. But hey, my wife and I live up the road a bit. We own a pretty nice sized home. We’d be more than happy to have you for company. You are welcome to seek shelter there.”

Scott looked over to Meredith, who seemed on the verge of screaming thanks to her anxiety. She gave him a look of approval and he turned back towards the man. “That would be great. Just get in the back seat and you can lead the way to your home.”

The old man opened the car door and pointed in the direction Scott had been driving. “It’s up about two miles. Interesting weather we are having.”

“It’s frightening. What were you doing walking in it?” Meredith asked.

The man chuckled. “I’m not really affected by it. It’s just rain. I don’t believe we have been properly introduced. I’m Roger Smith. You’ll meet my wife Betty.”

“Thank you so much for this man. We really appreciate it,” said Scott.

“It’s my pleasure. Ah, there it is.” He motioned to a medium sized home to the left of the road. Scott turned into the long drive way. From what Meredith could see in the dark and rain, it appeared to be a brick home. It had a nice open porch on the front that swung around to the side of the house.

“It looks very nice.” Meredith stated.

They reached the house and everyone stepped out of the car. As Roger went up to the front door to unlock it, Scott gathered all the necessary bags out of the trunk.

“Hello? Betty? We have company. I saved these two before the rain could drown them.” Roger laughed as his petite, old wife came around the corner.

“It is pretty nasty out. Come in and dry off. Let me take your coat for you,” Betty said as she reached for Meredith’s newly bought raincoat.

Betty led the couple upstairs into the guest bedroom. Scott set down everything and turned to Betty.

“I cannot thank you enough. If there is any way I can repay you…” Scott started.

“No, no, no that won’t be needed. Roger and I enjoy company. We get very lonely out here.” She smiled and turned before leaving, “If you need anything don’t be afraid to holler. In the morning, if we aren’t up, don’t worry about waking us up in order to leave. Feel free to do as you please. I know you must be eager to reach your destination.” She walked downstairs to her husband.

Scott turned to Meredith and sighed. “Happy now?” Meredith walked over to him and hugged him.

“Very. What nice people.”

Scott and Meredith fell asleep instantly. When they woke up the next morning, they packed their bags and tip toed downstairs. Betty and Roger were not awake yet. It was six thirty and even Scott was having trouble keeping his eyes open. Unfortunately Meredith was eager to get to her mother’s, so he had to deal with leaving at an earlier time. They loaded the car and were on their way.

After thirty miles, they reached a small, rural town and decided to stop for breakfast. Having some time to kill, they chose to sit down and enjoy a nice meal.

“Good morning. Can I get you anything to drink?” the waiter asked.

“Two waters.” Scott replied.

When the waiter returned with their beverages, he tried to make light conversation with Scott and Meredith.

“So what is a young couple like yourselves doin’ all the way out in nowhere’s land?” he asked.

Meredith laughed. “We are actually going to my mother’s. Too bad the weather was horrible last night. We had to stop and thank god a nice old couple took us in.”

The waiter looked confused. “Really? What a nice gesture. Who was the couple?”

“Umm… I believe the husband’s name was Roger Smith.”

The waiter’s eyes bulged. “Roger and Betty Smith?”

Scott wore a concerned face. “Yeah, why?”

The waiter’s eyes read fear. “That’s not possible because Roger and Betty Smith were killed last year in a horrific murder.”

Meredith’s heart jumped. “That’s absurd.”

“It was terrible. Police found their bodies upstairs, severely mutilated. The man responsible was arrested. He was an escapee at a nearby asylum. Sad though. Such a nice couple. They ate here a lot. Their house has been boarded up for 13 months. No one will go near the house. You must have had the wrong name.” The waiter turned and went back into the kitchen.

Scott reached over the table and grabbed Meredith’s hand. “I don’t believe that bull. Let’s just eat and get out of here.”

The couple ate their breakfast in silence. Meredith was quite bothered by the weird looks the waiter was throwing in their direction. Once they both finished their meals, Meredith gasped.

“OH NO! My raincoat! Betty took it from me last night,” moaned Meredith.

“It’s okay. We’ll go back and get it. No biggie,” Scott assured.

They returned to the car and headed back the way they came. As they reached the Smith household, both Scott and Meredith were overcome with complete shock. The house that they so vividly remember was vacant. The windows were boarded up and the house looked lifeless as police tape was entwined around the porch.

“Oh god…,” Scott muttered.

Meredith’s heart was racing. She couldn’t believe it. She was on the verge of screaming when all at once her breathe escaped her lungs. There was an item sitting on the ledge of the porch.

“Look,” she said as she pointed her finger in the direction of the porch. Scott got out of the car and Meredith quickly followed.
Upon the porch, folded neatly, was Meredith’s raincoat.

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