Scarier Than Monsters… Guestblog from Jason Letts
This one keeps me up at night. Ever since a friend told me about this I can’t start thinking about it without freaking out, and it’s one of those things I feel like people need to know about just to understand what could actually happen to them out in the world.
About a decade ago, a guy and his high-school sweetheart ended up going to different colleges, and after being away from each other for a few weeks he spontaneously decided to get in the car and drive out to see her. It was going to be a great surprise, but it meant driving all night up in the mountains to her little college town.
He ripped a few CD’s, grabbed a Red Bull or two, and went out on his all-night road trip. At about 3am, he was having trouble keeping himself awake. There was still a long ways to go, but he pushed himself to get there. He was out on some back roads in the middle of nowhere when he turned a corner and saw something up ahead in the road. He hit the brakes and stared at the pair of bodies his headlights illuminated.
There were some swerving tire tracks, obviously some kind of hit-and-run. Now two bodies were sprawled across the road ahead of him. Gasping for breath and gripping his steering wheel, he tried to figure out what to do. This was before everybody had cell phones, and he hadn’t seen another car or a town in hours.
The temptation came over him to get out and check on them, drive them somewhere and get some help. But he decided he just wasn’t in a position to do anything. He couldn’t deal with this right now, and maybe he’d flag down the next truck he saw or something. Driving around the bodies was tricky, almost forcing him into some bushes by the side of the road. He took a good long look at the bodies as he passed by and then hit the brakes a dozen yards or so past. It would be wrong to just leave them there.
He scratched his chin as he prepared to get out when he glanced in the rearview mirror to find that the bodies in the road were sitting up.
The guy’s eyes widened when people started coming out of the bushes on both sides of the road. There must’ve been twenty or thirty of them, joining the two people who’d been lying dead until just moments ago. The driver didn’t waste a second. He slammed on the gas pedal and got the hell out of there as fast as his little Honda Civic could take him.
I don’t want to think about what those people would’ve done to that guy if he’d gotten out of the car. It’s hard not to wonder why they were all there, and how everybody must’ve been OK with snatching drivers off the road. To me, it gets at something even scarier than monsters: people in large groups.
Sort of like Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” there’s something about groups of normally rational people engaging willfully in violent acts that gets under my skin. How can someone turn a blind eye and just go along with others like that? How does everybody nod and say yes when somebody says something like, “You know what this PTA meeting needs…a human sacrifice!”
Anyway, I don’t want to tell you not to do something to help when you can, because there are times when we do depend on the kindness of strangers. But what I will tell you is to keep your eyes and your wits around you. And be careful. Because you never know what’s hiding behind the bushes.
I’d like to send a big Thank You to Amanda for generously giving me this space as part of her Zombiepalooza Spectacular! Like many of you, I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Hollowmen. My prediction: Harlow toughens up and spends a little time going rogue.