A late night drive goes deadly wrong, but now with the help of some black magic things could go from dead to worse.
Dead Ahead by Joe Solmo
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“Becca! Don’t come out here with your witchy bullshit!” Tom yelled as he threw another shovel full of dirt behind him. “If you want to help, get in here and help me dig.” “It’s not witchy bullshit. I’m telling you this is bad. A person died. We did it. This is going to come back on us three-fold. This is a lot of negative energy,” Becca said pushing her long brown hair behind her ear. Her boyfriend Tom was in a hole about three feet deep and getting deeper by the second. “Come take your turn. I need a break. It’s a lot harder than they make it look in the movies,” Tom said. “I told you I want no part in this,” Becca replied taking a step back into the chilly night. “You already are a part of this. You are just as guilty as I am. This poor bastard died because of both of us,” Tom retorted clanging the shovel off the corpse laying on the damp ground. “I wasn’t the one driving!” Becca said, wiping a tear from her eye. “And I suppose your next excuse is going to be you had your mouth full and couldn’t see over the wheel, right?” Tom sneered. “Look neither of us wanted this, but we have to take care of it. Do you know what would happen if we went to the cops?” “Yeah, I know. We are wanted. Look, I don’t want to go to jail for murder either,” Becca argued. “Murder? Who said anything about murder? It was an accident. We might get manslaughter, but surely not murder,” Tom responded pulling himself out of the hole and wiping his brow. His blond hair dirty with the earth he had been tossing. “This will have to be deep enough.” “What if someone finds the body?” Becca asked. “No one would give a fuck. This is Jersey.” “I think you’ve watched too many mob movies,” Becca said and turned away from the grave. She looked at the car, sitting just off the road enough into the pines to be hidden from the traffic. Her blue eyes focused on the dent in the passenger side bumper, and the blood that stood out starkly on the white paint. They were never going to get away with it, she thought. There was just too much evidence. They should have just called the cops when they hit that jogger. One thing was for sure, it was the last time Tom was going to talk her into road head. “Becca, are you even paying attention?” Tom asked. She turned around and saw him standing there with the jogger’s arms in his hand. “Come on, help me swing him into the hole,” he finished impatiently. “I told you I don’t want that negative energy,” she said crossing her arms in defiance. “I told you that witchy bullshit has to go. We have been dating almost a year now and I haven’t seen you do shit with it. So, unless you are going to wiggle your nose and lift the corpse into the grave, get your ass over here and lift this bastard with me,” Tom said tossing the jogger’s arms down onto the damp earth. Becca rolled her eyes. With a sigh she gave in and walked around to the jogger’s feet. She grabbed his ankles and looked at Tom, waiting. “Well, are we doing this?” she asked. Tom grabbed the other end and together they put the jogger into the open grave. She looked at the mangled person lying there, wondering what kind of life he had had before they had taken it from him. Did he have a family? Was someone looking for him? Her thoughts were interrupted when the jogger’s face got a shovel full of dirt. She looked up at Tom and saw him in a new light. This was too easy for him. She wondered if this was the first time he had to bury a body. She really didn’t know much of his past. He never spoke about his life before they met last year. She knew he wasn’t Mr. Right, more of a Mr. Right Now. One that got her out of a bad situation. If she was being honest, he was a bit of an asshole. “Don’t worry, I got this,” he said as he continued to throw dirt into the grave. “We only have the one shovel. You want me to use my hands” she snipped at him. “Why don’t you go wait in the car then,” Tom responded. “I was going to say a few words when we were done. Nothing much, but something should be said.” Tom scoffed. “I’ll say something, don’t worry about it.” “Sometimes you can be a real jerk, you know that?” she said and stormed off sullenly to the car, she plopped in the passenger seat, slamming the door. “You like him so much maybe you should give him head too, I think it’s going to get real stiff soon,” Tom yelled smacking the corpse again with the shovel. Becca could hear it ring out even from the car. She reached under the seat and found her bag. She dug inside for a cigarette, just to take the edge off. She pulled out a worn paperback. Payback Rituals and Spells of Revenge. She remembered that her friend Amanda let her borrow it. They had found it in her mother’s items after her suicide. That was just before she left town with Tom. She thumbed through it while waiting. The Revenant: The dead with a mission. Bring a recently deceased person back to right the wrong of death. This is a gray area of balance with nature. On the one hand, it disrupts death, but it can help the soul reach peace through resolution. The weight of this ritual can weigh heavy on one’s soul. Caution should be used while contemplating this ritual. Haste will be your enemy. “Ha. Would serve the asshole right if I brought that jogger back. Teach him a lesson. I’m the only one stupid enough to miss him, and it would absolve my guilt,” Becca said to the empty car. “Haven’t done shit with it…” “Hey babe, I’m all done just going to say a few words,” Tom yelled as he unzipped his zipper. A steaming stream landed on the newly packed earth. “Ooohhh. Awwwww. Those enough words for ya?” he called over his shoulder. “That son of a bitch,” Becca said and got out of the car, but instead of heading towards him, she went off into the woods alone with her bag. “Where you going? It was just a joke!” he called out as he shook out the last drops. “Come on babe!” Tom chased off after her into the woods. “Babe?” He heard a few twigs snap off to his left, he turned in that direction but it was too dark to make anything out. She was heading farther into the barrens away from the highway. “Okay. You made your point. Come back and do a real Eulogy. I won’t interrupt, I promise!” Tom called out into the night. Was that a flashlight ahead? He sighed and headed towards the light he saw. Becca was on her knees in a small clearing, illuminated not only by the moonlight above, but by her flashlight laying on the dew-covered grass in front of her. She was saying something over and over again in a whisper that Tom couldn’t make out. “Babe?” he said shining his light on her back, casting her shadow on the trees around them. “It’s done, we can leave now.” Becca opened her eyes and turned her head. Quickly she placed some objects into her bag before he could see what they were. “Be right with you,” she said and stood up, wiping off her stockings. She reached down for her bag, but his hand on hers froze her in place. “What were you doing out here with your bag?” he asked, intensely meeting her gaze. “I had to use the bathroom and I didn’t want to do it close to the highway,” Becca replied and pulled her hand away from his. She clutched her bag to her chest with one hand and gestured with the other. “Lead the way!” she finished sarcastically. “You know, sometimes you can be a real bitch. You better get that in check before I leave your ass for a younger model,” he said as he led the way back towards the car. “I doubt you could find someone that would put up with your shit for very long.” Tom turned and faced her. “I’m serious. Your looks will only get you so far. You better drop that attitude…before I drop you,” he threatened. “Are you kidding me? You’re threatening me?” “It’s not a threat, it’s a promise,” he said and stared at her for a few seconds. When she didn’t respond, he turned back into the woods and continued on. “That’s the most cliché saying,” Becca mumbled under her breath, but followed Tom into the night. She heard the words Tom spoke again, but this time it wasn’t his voice, it was her father’s. The threats and beatings that she had been suppressing came rushing back. She remembered the last time he spoke those words to her. It was just a little over one year ago, she had come home from Amanda’s house where they were studying for the History final. She came in through the back door into the kitchen. It was seven p.m. and she had not eaten since lunch. She bumped into the dish rack sending a steak knife onto the floor. She closed her eyes and froze, hoping her father had not heard. Becca remembered opening her eyes and then rummaging through the cabinet for something to eat. Her eyes lit up when she found a box of cereal. In her haste to eat, she dropped the box scattering the flakes across the linoleum floor. Her father entered the room a second later and saw the mess on the floor. “What is this? Clean this up!” he yelled as he made his way to the fridge for another beer. At this time of night, he was probably on his fifth. She tried to walk past him to get the broom from the closet, but her father’s large hands stopped her. He threw her down to the floor. “I said clean this up, you clumsy bitch!” “I was getting the broom!” she said, looking up at him through tear-blurred eyes. “I didn’t say get the broom, I said clean this shit up!” her father yelled and kicked her arm that she was leaning on. Her face dropped down onto the floor among the cereal. She blinked the tears away and saw in front of her the knife she had dropped earlier. Becca sat up on the floor, placing the steak knife under her so that he didn’t see it. She looked up at her father as he cracked open his fresh can of beer. He turned towards her. “You’re so hungry. Eat it off the floor,” he said and pushed her back down. “Eat it, you pig or I swear to God I will end you!” “Are you threatening me?” “That’s not a threat, slut. That’s a promise,” her father said. Becca gripped the knife hard and stabbed her father in the thigh. He cried out and dropped his beer. With his other leg he kicked her. She had the knife gripped so tight she pulled it out of him as she fell back. “What did you do, bitch? I will kill you!” she remembered him saying before she had lost control. The next thing she remembered was her father laying in a strange pool of blood, cereal, and beer on the floor. He was still.
Becca came out of it as they neared the car. Tom threw the shovel and flashlight into the trunk and walked around to the driver’s side as Becca stood there, trying to make the image leave her mind. “What’s wrong with you?” Tom asked. Becca looked towards the shallow grave with a look of disappointment before turning back to Tom. Was she going to actually get back into his car after what he said? She looked at Tom and saw her father’s face. She tried to shake that image. This time it was different, this time it wasn’t self-defense. Just Tom being an asshole. She had her doubts that he would actually hit her. A twig snapped in the woods and both of them turned towards the sound. In the darkness something stirred. “Who’s out there?” Tom called. The only response was the sound of a heavy footfall. Becca’s hair started to stand on the back of her neck and she got an uneasy feeling. She tried to get in the car, but it was locked. “Tom?” she said unevenly. Tom didn’t answer, his eyes transfixed on the image before him. In the flashing lights from the passing cars on the highway Becca caught a glimpse of the man approaching. Another loud footfall from the man, as he dragged behind him the broken leg inside the bloodstained pair of sweatpants. Becca looked on in horror at the twisted neck and the head lolling to one side. Did it actually work? “Tom, open the door. Let’s get out of here,” Becca said, second guessing what she had done. It looked so wrong as it moved towards them. “One sec babe,” Tom said and pulled out the pistol he kept tucked into the back of his jeans. “I think this asshole wants to play.” “TOM! Unlock the fucking door,” she begged as fear tears started to flow. Her heart was pounding in her ears. Tom took a step closer to the reanimated jogger. “That’s far enough, asshole. It was an accident. I am sure you can appreciate that. Let’s go get a beer and talk this over,” Tom said aiming the pistol at the joggers head. “Tom. He won’t listen!” Becca yelled in fear. She ran to the trunk of the car. Luckily Tom had not shut it, and she grabbed the shovel. Beside the shovel in the truck was a hunting knife. She tucked the blade into her belt and hefted the shovel as she came around the car. Tom came into view just in time for her to see the jogger lunge at him, he fired a shot off. They fell to the ground, the jogger on top, his head flopped around as they struggled, but its hands were wrapped around Tom’s neck. She cried out and ran over to help. She swung the shovel and hit the jogger in the back, to little affect. A few more swings made no difference. In her frustration she threw down the shovel and kicked the jogger, who fell off the side of Tom, but didn’t let go of his neck. Becca could hear Tom trying to gasp for air. She grabbed the jogger’s arms and tried to pull them off of Tom, but the grip was too strong, Tom was going to die. She did this, she called the revenant back from the grave. She should have known better. The witchy bullshit was going to kill Tom. He could no longer say she didn’t do shit with it. Just then Becca had an epiphany. Tom was going to die. The thing was busy with Tom! She scrambled into Tom’s pants pockets and found the car keys. She jumped to her feet and ran to the car. She fired up the engine and threw it in reverse. With a final look at Tom, who was now still, she punched the gas and backed towards the highway. Tom never let her drive, but she had seen it enough to figure it out. The car bounced over the uneven ground as she sped in reverse towards the lights behind her. Once she was on the side of the road, she spun the car around and threw it into drive. She pulled out onto the highway cutting off a truck who blared its horn at her. She opened an energy drink Tom had bought earlier but left on the seat unopened and took a swig. There was going to be a new Becca now. One who took no one’s shit.
Later that evening Becca sat at the small motel table in her room. She was going through the loot they had accumulated over the past year. She found a bag of cash that she didn’t know about and had just finished counting it. Twelve thousand dollars was a lot of money. More than she had ever seen. Why did Tom always tell her they were broke? There was a bang on the door. It must be the pizza I ordered, she thought and rose from the chair. Another bang on the door before she could reach it. “I’m coming,” she called out, grabbing a twenty from the table. She was going to tip big, why not share her good fortune? She opened the door and dropped the cash. Standing on the other side was her father, and the jogger. “No,” her mouth formed to say, but no noise came out. She took a step back into the room in horror of what she was looking at. With arm extended they entered, grasping for her. “No! Why are you here? Tom was driving!” she said to the jogger then looked into her father’s dead eyes. “You deserved what you got, you son of a bitch! There is no revenge for you,” she said in defiance. Becca was a new woman and wasn’t going to take shit from her father alive or dead. She reached behind her and pulled the hunting knife out of her belt. The revenants charged her knocking her back onto the double bed with their mass. She could smell the grave on her father as he climbed on top of her. There wasn’t enough room for her to swing the knife. In desperation, she moved the blade between them. She turned the tip downwards, towards her own chest and plunged it in. She didn’t want her father to get his revenge, he should suffer. She smiled as the pain flooded her. She felt herself getting weak and with a last act of defiance, spit blood into her father’s face before succumbing to her wound.
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