Day three of Ten Days of Horror, excerpts from my dark fantasy and horror collection THE ALCHEMIST & OTHER DARK TALES. Today's excerpt is from my short story, The Hearse.
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And now, an excerpt from The Hearse.
The story is part of Rylan was fantasizing about sleep when he glanced in his rearview mirror. His gaze locked on what he saw there. Two headlights, roughly fifty yards away, he guessed. Behind the headlights was the outline of a hearse. From this distance, in the dead of the night, Rylan knew he shouldn’t be able to make out anything behind the headlights. But the hearse was clearly visible. It was black. All hearses are black. An odd bluish glow enveloped the vehicle, bringing out details that should not have been visible....
...Rylan glared nervously at the mirror, the sleep that had been dancing at the edges of his mind now gone. Rylan glanced at the speedometer – sixty-five. He nudged the cruise control a bit until the speedometer read seventy, then looked back at the mirror. The hearse matched his speed, staying the same distance behind.
He tapped the cruise control button twice more, pushing the speed to seventy-five. He kept his eyes on the road ahead, too scared to look in the mirror. Finally, after several minutes he did glance at the mirror. The hearse was still there, keeping pace.
Rylan mashed the accelerator. The speedometer shot up, past eighty, past ninety. Rylan knew there was a good chance he would trip some state trooper’s radar, end up with a ticket, feeling silly that he had let a simple hearse spook him. He didn’t care. Feeling silly explaining all this to a cop would be a relief. The speedometer passed ninety-five, inched close to one hundred.
Rylan kept his eyes on the road ahead of him, as nervous about driving at this speed as he was about the hearse tailing him. He glanced at the dashboard clock – one forty-five. He kept driving, his focus on the road ahead, not wanting to look in the mirror until he’d left the hearse behind. He drove and glanced at the clock, repeating the process as the clock ticked off one minute, then two, three, four, five. Another minute later Rylan could stand it no longer. He looked in the mirror.
Still roughly fifty yards behind the hearse followed.
“Damn,” Rylan whispered.
He lifted his foot from the accelerator and gently pressed the brake. The speedometer dropped – eighty, seventy, sixty, fifty. Rylan looked in the mirror. The hearse slowed, keeping the same distance between them.
Rylan mashed the accelerator again, quickly reaching eighty. He saw an exit sign ahead. At the last second he turned onto the off ramp, too fast for the curvy exit. Rylan slammed on his brakes. The rear of the car slid to the left; Rylan turned into the slide. The car fishtailed the other way; Rylan turned the steering wheel furiously the opposite direction. The car began to swing back, but by now had slowed enough for Rylan to straighten it up. Back in control, he glanced in the mirror.
Driving along the exit ramp, minus all the highway contortions Rylan and his car had just exhibited, was the hearse. ...
To read the rest of The Hearse, along with my novella The Alchemist and nine other dark tales, download THE ALCHEMIST & OTHER DARK TALES -- for just 99 cents today through May 31. To download to your Kindle, click here. To download to your Nook, click here.