Rescue Me

October 20, 2008
"Rescue Me" were the words that should have been written on the cardboard sign in her hands. In their place read "Destination: Anywhere But Here". Beside her sat a stained and tattered messenger bag in natural canvas, stuffed to bursting with the clothes she had crammed into it in the five minutes before her mother returned from taking her brother to work. Her red hair hung limp around her shoulders, but weighted with the rain, and her brown eyes behind their glasses looked red from crying. She blinked as the lights of cars flashed passed her without a backward glance, risking pneumonia to escape.

A dark-colored truck finally screeched to a stop a few feet beyond, and she picked up the bag, darting through the raindrops to safety. Water splattered the green cargo pants and black T-shirt she wore under the long brown rain slicker. The dark freckled areas allowed the icy fingers of air conditioning to touch her skin as she slung her body into a backseat crowded with porn, paper, and empty bottles.

"Where you headed?" asked the man in the front seat in a haze of cigarette smoke. It swirled around his head like fog, silhouetting him against the lights of the road. Of what she could see, he was a thin man, whip-thin, with a fuzz of beard and moustache with a large nose. He sat tall in his seat, suggesting he stood a head above her standing. His hands firmly gripped the steering wheel as he looked at her through the rear-view mirror; she saw chocolate brown eyes caress the outline of her face.

"A bit farther than where you’re going," she replied, settling in among the papers and feeling in her bag for one stitch of comfort. Tears tracked slowly down her face again as she thought bitterly 'They won't miss me. They don't care enough'. Her fingers withdrew a white knitted blanket, which she cradled tenderly to her chest, hiding her face in the worn yarn. The truck lurched forward and pulled back onto the road, the man glancing at her in the mirror.

"You don’t know where I’m goin'," he said over the groan of the engine and the squeaking of the cab. The haze of smoke grew thicker as he puffed the white cloud back at her. The smell penetrated her blanket-mask.

"You don't know where I've been," she retorted. "I don't care where you're going as long as it's far away from here." She coughed a little on the smoke and looked up over her black-rimmed glasses to look at the back of his head.

The flashing lights of passing cars did nothing to illuminate the features of his face; they only served to bleach her retinas and cause multi-colored streaks across her vision. Still, staring idly out the window was better than straining her eyes to tell her where she was going. She didn't care anyway; it was away, that was all she needed. The truck squeaked as they went around curves, came to a stoplight, or took off again. The engine roared under the hood, deafening her to the noises outside the car. She was soon lulled into a half-doze and was barely aware of the fact that the truck came to a stop behind an apartment building, in an empty lot.

"We're here," said the man from the front seat, stubbing out his cigarette. His voice jerked her awake, and the girl began to gather her things and crush them back into her bag.

She tumbled out of the door as the man suddenly wrenched it open, stumbling a few steps before regaining her balance. "Thanks," she mumbled and took her bag from the back seat. Her cold fingers searched the pockets for some source of payment. "I owe you something."

He looped an arm around her neck with ease, pulling her tightly back against a rope-thin body. "And that would be?" he asked, hot breath ghosting over her ear and neck.

She looked towards the heavens, refusing to struggle. "What will you do to me?" she inquired, the stars reflected in her eyes.

"Must you know?" The attacker's voice tone dripped of boredom; he tightened his arm around her neck deliberately, and the ill-fated hitchhiker began to crumple.

The headline the next day ran: "Local Runaway Found Dead".

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Appalowyn said...
Apr. 7, 2009 at 12:56 am
WoW damn. its very good
artofthedeath said...
Oct. 24, 2008 at 1:56 am
I saw the ending coming. I always see that coming. Then again, I guess you're supposed to. It was written well, and yes, i was unnerved.
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