by E. Motketsan
It was October thirty first, Halloween day and I
was driving down route twelve on my way home from yet, another business trip.
The trees that lined the country highway were turning colors in preparation
for the winter season. It was an old highway that wasn’t used much anymore
and it took me some miles out of the way. But I liked the scenic view as I
steered the car down the lonely road. The sun was just starting to set and
the sky was a brilliant orange-red in color. The trees that lined the sides came together overhead to form a canopy. The setting sun was
flickering light through the branches and as I drove on, the light spilled out
onto the pavement to form oddly shaped shadows.
It was a beautiful and serene drive. It was peaceful and allowed me to
clear my head from a busy week of visiting customers. I was exhausted mentally and couldn’t wait to get home. I
continued my drive down the deserted highway, watching the white lines on the
road pass behind my car. A smile came across my face, as the thought of
walking through my front door where the fresh smell of home baked bread would
fill my senses. I imagined myself putting down my attaché case, loosening my
tie and making my way into the kitchen where my wife was preparing her special
Halloween dinner. The indescribable taste of her honey glazed ham. The
sweet smell of brown sugar that she generously applied to the candied yams.
And the home baked bread just coming out of the oven. The bread, that when you
pulled it apart, steam would rush into your face and make you feel warm
The kids would have their costumes on and would greet me as they came bounding
down the stairs. Their smiles so wide you couldn’t understand how such small
faces were capable of such large grins. We would take them trick-or-treating
for Halloween, my wife and I, walking from house to house, hand in hand, as
the kids ran up the driveways. With their pumpkin buckets in hand, they
received their gifts of candy, apples and treats all the while their smiles
never dimmed. Then, after the trick-or-treating, the kids would go off to bed,
exhausted from their excursion but still grinning in their sleep. My wife and I
would sit in front of the blazing fire with a freshly brewed cup of expresso.
We would talk about the day’s events and the future’s possibilities.
Yes, this was a very intoxicating road. The sun had almost completely set now.
The sky was getting dark and I reached down on the dashboard to turn the
headlights on. I continued the drive through the countryside. But the road was
changing. That beautiful auburn sky has long since gone and the hazy night sky
was turning a dark blue. There was no moon or stars in the sky, at least none
that I could see. The only light was the beam that came from my headlights.
They shined out on the lonely country road, beckoning me to push onward. The
white lines seemed to be passing behind me much slower now. It was almost as
if I was in slow motion. There was a strange fog that had started to ooze out
onto the pavement. It seemed to come from the depths of the ditch that was
on both sides of the road. I loosened my tie and cracked the window. I was
starting to feel closed in.
The trees that lined the highway came together overhead like a dark tunnel…a
dark tunnel that never ended, but went on forever into the cold darkness. No
matter how fast you drove, no matter how long you drove, the trees just kept
coming. There was no end to them! Tree after tree I passed. Their branches
trying to reach out and take hold of me. I continued to drive. I pushed down
on the gas pedal and the speedometer needle climbed and climbed. But the lines
on the road fell behind me slower and slower.
I pushed on. Steering the car through the fog that crept onto the road. I was
driving faster and faster desperately trying to reach the end. The
tires squealed as I turned the steering wheel from side to side moving through
the curves of the road. The air rushed by my head through the open car window.
The sound was getting louder and louder. It was screaming unrelentlessly!
And then all was silent. It was a chilling silence. A silence that makes the
hair on the back of your neck stand on end. A silence in which, you can hear
the deafening sound of your heart, pounding inside your chest. The car had
stopped and I looked out the front windshield. It was cracked from end to end. There, in front of my car, was a huge
oak tree. The front of my car was pushed in from the tree. There were branches
and leaves scattered across the hood of the car. I felt something trickle down
my face and I reached my hand up to touch the substance. I was terrified when I saw the red in my hand! I opened
the car door
and stepped out onto the road. I held my head as I started to run down the
dark country road crying for help. I kept hearing sounds coming from the
I continued to run down that dark, lonely highway. I stumbled and fell to
the ground. I got up on one knee. The sounds, like that from a galloping
horse, were getting louder. I turned and looked behind me. But there was
nothing. I got back up and started to run. Faster and faster I ran. But the
galloping sounds kept getting louder and louder. I could feel something evil
in the air. It was cold and chilling. It felt like death. I ran and I ran,
faster and faster. I could see a small light off in the distance. It called to
me like an angel in the night. I ran for it. But the galloping sounds were
right behind me. I spun around and looked down the road. I could see
the faint shadow of a horse coming towards me. There was a man riding the
horse. I turned and ran towards the light. I had to make it! It wasn’t that
far away. A half mile maybe? Maybe a little less. I ran as fast as my legs
could carry me. I wiped the blood that was still running down my forehead. It
seeped into eyes and made everything turn red in color. I blinked to clear it
from my sight.
The galloping was coming up fast behind me. I dare not look back. I fixed my
eyes on the light and I ran. I was almost there! Just a few more yards. I can
make it a few more yards! I heard the breathing of the horse. I could feel the
thundering vibrations of the hoofs striking the road. Don’t look back!
Don’t look back! Focus on the light. I said to myself. I ran towards the
light. It was just beyond my reach. It was getting brighter the closer I came.
But the thunderous hoofs were getting closer and louder. They were right on
top of me! Don’t look back! I couldn’t stand it. I had to see! I stopped
running and turned to look behind me. The horse reared up letting out a
horrible sounding scream. The two front legs of the horse frantically waved
just inches from my face. The horse came back down and stood silently. I
looked at the old man on the horse. His face was white and was etched with a
deep bloody scar in his forehead. He was wearing an old, tattered dark suit.
His tie was loosely draped across his neck. His shoes were full of mud and
gravel. He was the scariest looking man I had ever seen.
But there was something odd about him, I could not tell what. There was
something familiar… there was something… his tie. The tie was old and
discolored. It was stained and it had been torn. It lay loosely, hanging
around his neck. I looked at his tie. In the middle of his tie was a tie tack.
It was gold and shiny. It looked like…no it couldn’t be! I looked closer
at the tie tack. It was the same gold tie tack that my wife had given to me. I
looked down at my tie. My gold tie tack was missing! I looked back at the man
on the horse. I stared into his cold, shallow eyes. I looked at his face. To
my amazement, it was my face! I was riding the horse! How could it be?
As I stared into his cold, uncaring eyes, I felt the stiff leathery bridle in
my hands. I felt the stirrups as they surrounded my shoes. I kicked my heels
into the sides of the horse. The horse turned and galloped back down the
country road. I never looked back at the light but galloped instead into the
tunnel of darkness the trees had made, growing on the sides of that old