|The Transformation Story Archive||Mythical Beings|
The Lonely Road
The straight road stretched out to both horizons. The overcast sky illuminated the flat landscape all around. Of course, it probably wouldn't rain. Only two people were around to notice the drab scenery. The car pulled to the side of the road and picked up the hitchhiker.
"Thanks for the ride," the young man said climbing into the passenger seat of the Lexis.
"No problem," the middle-aged man that was driving said. "You had a long way to walk if you wanted to get anywhere."
"So I noticed," the young man said laughing and closed the door. He held out his hand toward the driver. "My name is Tom."
The driver took one hand off the wheel and shook Tom's hand. "I'm Fred."
"Nice to meet you, Fred," Tom said. "Do you mind if I put my stuff in your back seat?"
"Not at all," Fred replied glancing into the rear view mirror. "There's plenty of room back there."
Tom put his backpack and duffel bag in the back seat and buckled himself up. Fred checked for traffic, which there was none, and drove down the long road.
"How far are you going?" Fred asked.
"Oh, I'm not sure. I'm just going," Tom answered with a grin. "I like to follow the wind."
Fred nodded and slightly turned up the radio. Tom watched the barren landscape scroll by the dark tinted windows and listened to Alanis Morisette coming from the radio. The song faded out and the DJ kicked in.
"That was Alanis Morisette. And now it's time for the news break," the DJ said.
"Thanks, Steve," a female voice said after the news music cue. "At the top of the news today, more mysterious deaths. Two thirty-year-olds were found...."
"So, what brought you out here in the middle of nowhere?" Fred asked, turning down the radio. "There's not much out here."
"Yeah, I know," Tom replied. "But, I brought plenty of water and food." He stretched his legs as far as he could. "Like I said, I like to go where the wind takes me."
"But, why were you out here?"
"Well, I just came from a small town, but I couldn't stay there for too long. I have to keep moving," Tom said laughing on the last sentence. Fred didn't share in the laugh. "So, I decided to head in this direction."
Fred nodded again. "What does your family think? Are they worried?"
"Oh, nah. I'm pretty much on my own now. What about you? What brings you out here?"
Fred continued to look straight ahead at the road. They had met only one car since he stopped. "I'm on my own, too. And I'm on a business trip."
"A business trip? And they didn't fly you?"
Fred chuckled. "It's not that far. But I do have to stop at a hotel at the next town."
"Oh, good. That sounds like a great idea," Tom broke in. "I've been walking all day."
"Of course, the next town is quite far; so, don't expect a bed too soon," Fred said with a grin.
Tom chuckled at that. "So where do you work?"
"At a bank. I have to check up on a client." Fred saw a building on the horizon side of the road. "Looks like there is a gas station up ahead." He looked down at his gas gauge. "I should fill up."
"Great!" Tom perked up. "I need to make a pit stop myself."
Fred drove to their destination in the distance. The small gas station had four pumps in the front and blown dirt all over the concrete. A "Full Service" sign swung on the wires hanging it from the pole stretched out above the pumps. Fred pulled up next to a pump, and a man that looked to be in his early 50's quickly walked out to the car.
Tom opened his car door and hopped out. The man walking around the car said, "Good afternoon."
Tom closed the door and looked toward the man. "Hi. Do you have a restroom?"
The man nodded. "It's around the corner. You don't need a key."
"Thanks," Tom said and headed around the corner of the gas station.
Fred spooled his window down, and the man leaned down. "What can I do you for?" he asked.
"Just fill it up," Fred said and leaned back in his seat.
The man put the nozzle into the gas tank hole and started pumping. He set the latch on the nozzle so it would continue pumping and leaned up against the column holding up the covering above the pumps. "Did you hear about those murders?"
Fred leaned up from his relaxed position and turned to speak to the man. "Yeah. I just heard about it on the radio."
"It's a darn shame," the man said. "A darn shame."
Fred just nodded.
"You know," the station attendant said, "I hear that it was vampires that did it."
Fred snorted, "Vampires? You're joking."
"No, seriously. I hear that the bodies were sucked dry of blood. Sounds like the work of vampires to me."
Tom arrived back at the car and opened the passenger door. He put one foot up in the car and propped himself up with his arms on the roof of the car. "Vampires? Scary."
"Darn right they are scary," He pointed to the station windows. "I have garlic hanging up all inside the station and in my house."
Fred and Tom both looked toward the station. Sure enough, garlic bulbs were stringed across all the windows and doors. Some were draped across the middle of the room and sagged down from the ceiling.
"I even have some stakes ready," the man added. He jumped in surprise from the click of the pump shutting off. He turned to look at the dial. "That will be ten fifty"
Fred dug out his wallet and pulled out his credit card. The man took it. "I'll be right back." He walked around the car and went back into the station.
Tom climbed into the car and shut the door. "Pretty creepy, huh?"
"There are loonies everywhere you go," Fred said with a chuckle.
The man came back out and handed Fred his card. "There you go. Just sign here." He held out a metal clipboard with a carbon copy receipt and a pen. Fred took them, signed, and handed them back to the attendant.
"You have a nice day," the man said and went indoors.
Fred pulled out his wallet. He took a sniff of the credit card and grinned. "Garlic scented."
Tom laughed as he buckled up. Fred put the card away and drove off down the road.
They finally reached the next town. The sun had just set, and the city residents quickly made their way home from the darkening streets. Several small shops were still open, while others were closing up for the night. The bright yellow and orange neon lights for the hotel were up ahead. Fred drove straight there.
"This looks like the place," Fred said as he parked next to the lobby entrance. He stopped the engine and climbed out of the car. Tom got out on his side and ran into the lobby. The rain was barely on the chilly side.
They both checked in. Fred had a reservation. Tom didn't have any trouble checking in. Hardly anyone was there. Their rooms were both on the first floor and next to each other. There was even a connecting door.
"I'll see you in the morning," Tom said as he opened his door. Fred opened his and nodded. They both walked in and closed their doors behind them.
Fred dropped his suitcase on the floor and plopped down on the bed. He lay there for a few minutes. It had been a long day. Finally he heard what he was waiting for: Tom had gotten in the shower.
Fred sprang to the connecting door and opened his side of it. He unzipped his suitcase and pulled out his lock picking tools and proceeded to pick the lock on Tom's connecting door.
Click! Fred slowly opened the door and tiptoed into Tom's room. He could hear the water running and some bad singing coming from the bathroom. Fred leaned against the wall around the corner of the bathroom. He waited.
Finally the water turned off. Fred could hear Tom drying off. Unknowingly, Tom opened the bathroom door, and Fred jumped around the corner grabbing for his neck. His vampire fangs were bared and ready to strike.
Fred didn't strike though. He was caught off guard by the fact that the neck he grabbed was hairy. No, make that furry. Tom, or what used to be Tom, was now a big furry bipedal wolf. A werewolf!
Tom reached up and pulled Fred's arm away from his neck during Fred's split second of shock. He spun the vampire around and got him in a head-lock.
"My suspicions were correct," growled Tom. "You ARE the vampire."
Fred made some strangled sounds as the werewolf tightened his grip.
Tom continued with a snarl, "I don't like vampires. Especially the one that killed my family. But you wouldn't know any thing about that, would you?"
Fred didn't try to say anything. He tugged on the werewolf's arms.
Tom tightened his grip around the vampire's neck. "And you wouldn't know who killed those other people recently, would you?"
Fred remained motionless and looked up into the werewolf's beastly eyes defiantly.
"Thought not. However, I can smell their blood on you." Tom twisted the vampire's head with a pop. He only had a few seconds before Fred could heal his broken neck. Tom pulled out the stake he had tucked in his belt and stabbed the vampire in the heart.
Fred let out a blood-curdling scream. Tom covered his sensitive ears. Finally the cries subsided.
The werewolf stood back and watched as the vampire dissolved and evaporated. Not even a stain was left on the carpet. Tom packed up his clothes and padded out into the night, sticking to the shadows.
The Lonely Road copyright 2001 by Lance Holloway.
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