Choose Your Own Nuthouse

Section 21


            You figure that on one hand, hell, you might as well give the dude a lift because if he’s pulling this mystical shit on you then pissing him off is likely to have dire consequences.  On the other hand, if you keep driving, and he keeps appearing in front of you, then if you just drive to Lake Doomhole, he’ll actually arrive before you.

            On the third hand there probably isn’t a good choice anywhere here.  Judging by his recent behavior, he’ll be able to horribly kill you in any fashion he chooses from anywhere he wants. 

            You have run out of hands and actually owe one.  Since you’re already in the hole, though… On the fourth hand he could be very grateful, overlook your earlier choice as healthy caution, and reward you mightily for your generosity if you give him a lift now!  Hooray!  Mystical rewards!

            You pull over near the man, and he gets into the car.  You belatedly realize your doors are locked, so you pop them so the guy can get into the car but he’s already in the car you realize and this is probably one of those times you should scream and drive away very fast so you do but then you realize he’s still in the car and aah, shit!

            You fling yourself from the car and bounce along the highway because, in your terror, you neglected to bring the car to a stop.  Hell, your foot only left the accelerator as you hurled yourself from the car.

            Somehow, you do not die.  When you have skidded painfully to a halt, you pause for a moment to collect your thoughts.  You are dimly aware that your car has sailed into a modest little ravine off to the side of the road.  There is a KABOOM! Which echoes through the night, most likely signaling the demise of your car.  Something bright orange and smoking rockets upward from the bottom of the ravine and is soon lost in the stratosphere. 

Lying in the road, you light a cigarette.  Midway through your first drag, your (former) left rear tire lands squarely on your stomach.  It does this with enthusiasm, and the kind of speed acquired only after an object has been hurled, flaming, high into the night sky, only to succumb to the eternal pull of gravity and the laws of physics.  In this case, the laws of both Newton and another man named Murphy have joined forces against you.  Much to your dismay.  After its brief visit with your abdomen, the ballistic tire kisses your face goodbye, and rolls away down the road, still burning with what the scattered, broken mess that was your consciousness decides must be self-satisfaction.

In a daze of pain and concussion, you crawl to the side of the road.  You are almost to the shoulder when the hitchhiker drags himself over the edge of the ravine.  He spots you.

“Stupid drunk driver,” he mumbles, and shuffles off into the night, leaving you all alone.  Now you seem to be well and truly fucked.  You light another smoke (you feel lucky that you’ve got a pack in every pocket), and haul yourself to your feet to try and hitch a ride.

A car is coming-no it’s a van.  You stick out your thumb, but whoever’s driving doesn’t stop.  “Fucker,” you curse.  You start ambling down the road toward Lake Doomhole.  Your friends will have beer and weed, and probably bandages for your seeping wounds.  You realize there’s another car behind you, and turn around only to realize with a sinking feeling that it’s another van.  The same van.

“Well.  God damn.”  You figure that this is somehow very appropriate and are willing to accept the creepiness if it means you’re going to get a ride.  You try not to think about ravines.  Then you realize that the car is not stopping.  In fact, it is speeding up.  Also, it’s not really following the road anymore.  Your mind doesn’t really want to believe it, but you could swear that the van is on a direct collision course with your body.  But that’s ridiculous!  That would be vehicular homicide!  You dimly recall having a choice of doing this very same thing not too long ago.  But you chose not to!  This isn’t fair!  This isn’t right!  This is NOT the way things are supposed to go!  Is that Stephen King?

            Your brain confirms that, yes, Stephen King is behind the wheel of the van, and he is laughing.  He is also getting closer at what you calculate to be about eighty-five miles per hour.  Also, there is a monkey perched on his shoulders, shrieking and pointing at you.  Possibly, you reflect, as part of your brain counts insects in the van’s grille, this monkey is controlling Stephen King.  Yes, that must be it.  You don’t think Stephen King is really capable of vehicular homicide.  Actually, come to think of it, you have a really creepy sense of deja vu about this.  Ridiculous!  Nothing even remotely similar to this could ever have happened before.  Ha!  Unless you were trapped in some bizarre parallel-universe thing, or were a character in a twisted labyrinth of choices and dead ends devised by sadistic twenty-somethings with nothing better to do with their ti--

            Golly!  It seems that you are dead!  What a shame.  Go back to the previous section, Corpse Boy!