The Clearing.

She knew it was a bad idea from the start, but she didn’t really see that she had a choice in the matter.

Carrying her heels in her hands,  she walked along the dark, deserted road.  Damn him, she thought to herself, because she wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for him.

Their date had gone well.  After the movie, when they were driving around town, the conversation was light.  Until he turned up that road.

The deserted road led to The Clearing.  Everyone knew what you went to The Clearing to do and when they got there, Richie only had one thing on his mind.  Janet had suggested they go for coffee instead, or that he drive her home.

“Let’s not go to The Clearing,” Janet said.  “I’m not ready for that.  I don’t want you to get your, um, hopes up.”  She giggled nervously.

Richie looked over at her from the driver’s seat and laughed.  He only laughed; he said nothing.  Once in The Clearing, he put the car in park and turned towards Janet.  She could feel his icy stare boring holes into her own.  She knew what he wanted.  It’s what they all wanted.

He leaned in to kiss her and she let him.  He reached up to cup her breasts, rubbing and smooshing them with his large hands, and she let him.  He put his hand on her thigh and squeezed.  She let him.  He slid his hand up, up into her skirt and tried to move her panties out of his way and that was when she stopped him.

“No.”  She hoped she sounded calm and clear.  She hoped the word did not come out as the scream she felt brewing inside her head.

“Come on,”  he pleaded.  “If I go too far, just stop me.”

“You went too far already.  I told you no.  I told you I didn’t want this.  I told you not to come here.  Take me home.”  Janet was fighting back tears as she smoothed out her skirt and adjusted her top.

“No.  You knew what kind of guy I was when you agreed to go out with me.  You know you want it and you’re just being a tease.”

When he leaned in again to kiss her, she slapped him.  She’d never hit anyone before and her hands immediately recoiled  to cover her mouth in disbelief of what she’d done.

Richie, alarmingly calm, started the engine.  He unlocked the doors with his left hand and pointed out the window with his right.

“Get out.”

He was right about one thing, she did know what kind of guy he was when she started dating him.  But she ignored everyone’s advice until now.  Knowing what she did of his past, she knew it was best to follow his order.  She picked up her purse from the floor of the car and got out.  As soon as the door was closed, he took off, leaving Janet standing in the middle of The Clearing.

After a quick look around, she saw that neither of the other two parked cars belonged to friends.  The walk down to the main road was only a few miles, so she set off.   There was a phone at the gas station right before the turn off to The Clearing.  She knew her father would be furious with her, but he would still come to get her.

It was only October, but the trees were bare already.  It had been cold, as if something strange was in the air.  Janet heard the caw of a vulture and looked up to find one circling overhead.  She wished she had worn a warmer coat or shoes made for walking.  She wished it didn’t look so much like the kind of night where terrible things happen to girls walking alone on dirt roads.

A car approached.  At first it looked like Richie’s, but the closer it got, Janet knew it wasn’t him.  It pulled up ahead of her.  Having no where else to go, she walked towards it.

There was a young couple in the car, probably in their early 20s.  Janet assumed it was one of the cars parked up in The Clearing earlier.

“Need a lift?” the woman asked.  “Get in.”  The doors clicked unlocked.

Janet looked behind her and in front of her.  She was still nowhere near the main road and the night was getting darker.  She pulled up the handle on the car door but wouldn’t budge.  Tucking her shoes under her arm, she used the force of two hands to wrangle it open.  There was no interior light.  The car smelled of old clothes and rotting food.  Janet slid in anyway and pulled the door closed behind her, trying to be graceful so as not to offend.

“Thanks for the ride.  My boyfriend ditched me.  You can leave me at the gas station at the end of the road.”

The car started rolling, but the driver said nothing.  They sat in dark silence all the way to Murray’s Gas Station.  Janet jumped out, said a quick, yet sincere, thank you and ran towards the phone booth.  The car didn’t move.  She pushed her way in, deposited a coin and called home.  Her father answered, his disapproval evident in his voice.

“Daddy, please come get me.  I’m at Murray’s and I’m scared.”

Before she could hear his reply, the line went dead.  She could feel something watching her.  Turning slowly, she noticed the couple from the car, leering at her and smiling in a most unfriendly way.  A bright red glow emitted from their eye sockets.  The man began to push open the door and suddenly everything went black.

I’m trying another fiction post over at The Speakeasy.  Please do come join us.  For the record, the red-eyed people are real.  I was just one of the lucky ones. Edited to Add: This post won (OK, tied) the Popular Vote at the Speakeasy! And I got this really cool badge for it! Thanks, readers, because it’s you all that keeps me going!

20 Responses to “The Clearing.”

  1. Kerstin says:

    I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight… Scary stuff is just not for me at all. And “The Clearing” already sounded like Stephen King.
    Way to go with the fiction, just one of your many talents 😉

  2. This totally plays on our belief that a dark road is always scarier than people… but your ending blew the snot out of that! It caught me by surprise for sure and I dig it.
    Great job!

  3. IASoupMama says:

    Oh, those glowing eyeball people… they get you every time, don’t they? Great job!

  4. I love this. The sexual tension and not wanting to go too far sexually is universal. I was picturing something like Happy Days’ inspiration point. Then, it turned creepy, which I also like. What did the people do?

    • Yes, that’s what I was picturing too!

      I’m not sure what happened next and I conveniently hit the 1000 word limit :) I’m pretty sure whatever happened next wasn’t good thought. I had an idea for taking further but dodged the bullet on having to commit.

  5. This is great Michelle! I’m so happy I didn’t read it last night, so so creepy! I hope by some miracle she’s ok.

  6. christina says:

    hahahahahaha oh man i LOVE this. realy fantastic job. LOVE LOVE LOVE this so much.

    ok shit. what do you mean the red eye people are real?? now i’m not so sure i love this so much

  7. “She wished it didn’t look so much like the kind of night where terrible things happen to girls walking alone on dirt roads.”

    I love this line, and can so picture exactly the kind of night it was. Before I read your sentence all the way at the end, when I finished, I wondered if you were writing some fiction based on the red eyed man from your story a couple weeks ago. I’m so glad you did, this is great!

  8. Oh man, this is spooky! So well done, Michelle. Please please write what happens next!!

    • I don’t know what happens next! (thank you, 1000 word limit!) I need to think about it. I have one image in my head outside the phone booth, but I can’t figure out the next part. I was hoping this week’s prompt would suggest something, but not yet. We’ll see. Thanks for enjoying it!

  9. saalon says:

    Here’s what I like most: The story starts implying one kind of danger, then releases that tension, only to slide into a totally different danger. The build up of one expectation as a misdirection was awesome, and I loved it.

    I’d love to see this idea fleshed out into something longer. There’s an implication of things that you could really work into a bigger, horror-y thing, and I’d be all in for that.

    Really great use of atmosphere and location. It moved and never stopped. Great work.

  10. Flood G. says:

    You dragged me in right away. Janet is having a very shitty night. I can only hope she ends up with a sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania, rather than something truly horrible.

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