Categories > Original > Horror > The Road Trip

Part 3: Road Signs

by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

that hateful sign changed everything...

Category: Horror - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Horror,Sci-fi - Published: 2008-10-26 - Updated: 2008-10-26 - 1166 words - Complete

We both stood in the piercing glow of headlights for several minutes before either of us did anything.

“Now what?” Mark demanded.

“We go to Eyrie,” I replied. It was all I could think of. “We… we get the police and try to explain…”

“Explain what? That we just killed a cop?”

“But it was an accident… I mean, he did it to himself… You saw…”

“Who’s going to believe us? Look, that car’s so damn old it doesn’t even have a video camera!… And we can’t just leave him here…”

“We can’t mess with the body.” I told him. I couldn't believe I was referring to him as the body. Dead not even five minutes, and as nameless to us as he had been in life… “It’s the only proof we have!… If we move him, they’ll think we have something to hide…”

The main thing I remember was being terrified that another car was going to pull up, especially another cop, and I was going to have to explain this. But a mocking voice in the back of my head kept telling me that no cars would be passing through here tonight. And somehow I knew even then that voice spoke truth.

Mark was as scared of doing time as I was, so he said, “Let’s hurry. At least try to get someone out here tonight…”

And he went back to the Woody, using the rest of the wet napkins to wipe off the blood on his hands while I picked up the mic and made one last attempt to radio for help.

In the end, it proved pointless. To this day, I doubt there was anything wrong with the radio, but all I got was faint static. By the time Mark had finished wiping off his hands— and probably glad he had somehow managed not to get any blood on his clothes— I had completely given up on the radio.

We drove on again in silence. I had inadvertently killed a man, and somehow it didn’t click emotionally. I thought I’d cry, or scream, or something, but all my mind was bent on was more foreboding. Make no mistake, I felt awful, but that awfulness just couldn’t figure out how to express itself.

Part of me didn’t even want to believe it had happened at all. Just some disturbing dream I was going to wake up from in some motel, because it just didn’t feel real. But all I had to do was look at the shards of glass littering the seat behind my friend to know that something had happened.

To steady my nerves, I finally broke the silence, asking, “Don’t you think that was really weird back there? I mean that guy was totally tweakin’ out.”

“Yeah…” Mark had clearly been thinking about it too. After all, he had just watched a man die before his eyes, and I suspect he was equally determined not to think about it right now. “He totally flipped whenever we mentioned Eyrie… like there was something about it that messed with his mind… He was too spooked for this ‘Eyrie’ business to be a prank.”

I didn’t know how to put it, and neither did he, but I think that officer was even more afraid of Eyrie and its so far unknown implications than we were. Looking back, I think we should have taken that deadly run-in— hell, the first road sign we encountered— as a warning. But for now we were sure we were closer to Eyrie than to Moriarty, so we pressed on.

That, and I think puzzling over these mysteries gave our minds an alternative to dwelling on that morbid traffic stop.

It turns out that we were indeed right, for the next sign we found told us that it was now 13 miles to Eyrie and 38 to Cove, and I wondered why anyone would go to the trouble of marking the 13th mile.

But it was the sign next to it that really did it for me. There was a t-junction here, where Highway 40 intersected with an old dirt road. A second sign pointed in that direction, toward “Scenic Naz-Nak Mesa” but I wasn’t really sure if I was reading it correctly because it had been slashed over with red spray-paint. It was what was written over that sign that both obscured the name of the mesa— probably yet another name we would never find on our map— and struck me with confusion and apprehension:


I finally looked over to see Mark clutching the steering wheel, his face as white as his knuckles. He returned my gaze slowly, saying in a voice that was way too dry and choked for my liking, “Let’s go back.”

“But it’s almost a hundred miles to Moriarty,” I remember saying. There was something about the words “Project Metronome” that frightened me, as if something out of a “B” sci-fi flick had somehow come to life, but Mark seemed even more afraid of it than I. I wanted to go back, but I also wanted to know. “What’s wrong, man?”

“I just figured out that cop’s last words,” Mark told me. “He was gasping for breath… I couldn’t figure out what he was saying anymore… At first he kept saying ‘no such place’… but then I couldn’t make it out anymore… But now I’m pretty sure he said ‘metronome’ right before he died… Why do all the signs say ‘Eyrie’ and ‘Cove’ but not Santa Rosa?”

I had no answer to that. I nearly laughed, hysterically if I had, at how we must have made a wrong turn at Albuquerque… like a bad joke. But I knew how he felt, so I said, “Okay, we’ll go back to Moriarty.”

Though I honestly wondered if we could. Project Metronome had just added an ominous new dimension to this problem.

Mark looked down at the fuel gauge, then sat there for a long moment, as if resigning himself to the unknown, before telling me, “We can’t go back… We don’t have enough gas. We’ll be lucky to make it to Eyrie at this rate.”

The chill I felt then had nothing to do with the desert night. I pictured myself walking out in the fog, and I knew he was right. I told myself, maybe someone there could tell us what’s going on, maybe even knew something about that crazy cop.

“Okay,” I agreed, pausing a moment to get out the rest of it, “but just for gas. Then we go back.”

Mark nodded, and we drove on.

As we drew near our mysterious destination, I felt less and less concerned with clearing my name, and more afraid of what we were going to find in Eyrie, the town that cop was so afraid of.
Sign up to rate and review this story