The Encounter: Conclusion
Now for the conclusion of my short story:
Whenever the figure was bathed in the flashing lights from the vehicle Debbie could make out some slight detail. She assumed it was a male and he seemed to be wearing something like a uniform. It almost looked like a dark jogging suit but it didn’t resemble anything a fireman or public works employee would be wearing. He was wearing a hat that resemble a baseball cap with a wide and long brim that covered his eyes and blocked the view of his face. He wore gloves and for an instant it looked to her that the flashlight he was holding seemed to be more of an extension of his arm than something he was holding in his hand. She dismissed this thought as quickly as it came to her and the figure motioned for her to pull the car closer.
Paralyzed with fear Debbie refused. The figure took a couple of steps toward her and spoke to her in a muffled tone with a stilted and mechanical cadence. He told her that they were having a little difficulty with their vehicle and that they were almost done fixing it and should be on their way momentarily. Debbie barely managed to nod in approval to the figure when suddenly a loud trumpet like blast pierced the dark night. Startled, Debbie naturally looked in the direction of the vehicle from which the sound emanated. The deafening sound coincided with the lights from the vehicle intensifying for a moment while at that same instant the vehicle seemed to belch out a misty exhaust from all sides.
As the mist enveloped her car Debbie’s heart pounded louder, her throat tightening in near panic. She instinctively grabbed her cell phone although she knew it was worthless at this point. The mist hovered over her car and began to seep through. She was almost afraid to breath in the mystery substance. To Debbie it did not smell like typical exhaust fumes but just what it did smell like she could not determine. The mist from the exhaust began to clear and dissipate almost as soon as it had been expelled and the lights from the vehicle dimmed to their previous intensity. Debbie suddenly felt more relaxed and she noticed how tired and sleepy she had become. She wasn’t even alarmed when the figure came toward her saying, “All will be right.” When he grew closer she noticed his chin seemed rather thinly formed and slightly wrinkled giving her the idea that he was an older gentlemen settling her further at ease. She leaned back and rested her body against the seat of her car and noticed that she was feeling real drowsy and that her eyelids were becoming very heavy. She surrendered to the moment and felt herself drifting off to sleep.
She snapped herself out of this state and noticed the vehicle was no longer on the shoulder but now residing in the center of the road. She noticed the figure still standing near her and he began to speak to her in a monotone voice, “You may now go.” The vehicle had turned off the majority of its flashing lights but Debbie still could not see in much detail. She watched the figure walk back to the vehicle and fade into the light and the darkness. As the vehicle began driving down the road Debbie noticed how quiet it was. She pulled her car into drive and proceeded on her way. Once they were both beyond the wooded area the strange vehicle turned off onto a side road while Debbie continued straight on the main road. When she looked out the side of her window to see where the vehicle had gone but saw nothing but darkness.
Debbie glanced at the clock on the dashboard of her car and noticed that less than five minutes had passed. She laughed at herself and realized that her anxious mind had once again gotten the best of her. She felt more relaxed now that this was over but she felt sore and achy from head to toe. She hadn’t felt this way earlier but rationalized it as due to her being over stressed from a nerve-wracking shift at work. The drizzling rain had completely stopped and some of the clouds were now giving way to reveal numerous stars peppered across the night sky.
Arriving home shortly, Debbie breathed a tremendous sigh of relief on catching a glimpse of her husband peaking through the curtain. She thought it was slightly odd that he was home first because generally she would be home at least twenty minutes before he arrived. Dragging herself out of her car, she exchanged her keys for the cell phone in her purse. She fumbled with it in vain. It was completely drained as she felt. Every muscle and joint felt as if she had slept on a pile of rocks.
Her husband opened the door for her and she expected that he would greet her with a warm welcome and a loving kiss. Her expectations were not met and instead she noticed that he had a look on his face that was mixed with anxious concern along with annoyance and anger.
“Did your cell phone die again!?” he asked.
“Yeah, I forgot to charge it before leaving for work today,” she admitted rather sheepishly.
“Where have you been? I called work and they said you left right at 11:00pm.” he asked with curious irritation.
“I drove straight home!” she replied defensively. The stress of the evening and her encounter on the ride home coupled with her physical exhaustion could no longer be suppressed and Debbie began to cry. Seeing his wife visibly shaken and upset moved him and he reached for her and placing her in a warm embrace said, “I am very concerned honey, because it usually doesn’t take you three hours to drive home.”