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Fourth Meal

July 4, 2011

A couple of years ago, I was in my last semester of Grad school. I lived with my wife in a duplex we shared with the landlord. It wasn’t exactly a great place, but it was secluded from all the “college activity” which was nice. It was actually quite secluded. There was a forest at the edge of town, and we lived in the middle of it, down a mile long gravel road that twisted around the side of a mountain through dense trees. The duplex was the only home on this road, so it’s just as accurate to call it our driveway.

Since I was a grad student, I had the privilege of having later classes, and my wife worked part time for a chiropractor in the afternoon, so we normally stayed up very late, often until 3 or 4 in the morning. One late night around 1:30 AM, we were both getting kind of hungry. Neither of us felt like cooking at this hour, so I decide to hop in the car and drive into town to get some Taco Bell, since it was the only thing open at the time.

I walked out into the cold and pressed the remote on my keys to unlock the car. The car door locked. I must have forgotten to lock the car when I got home. Since we were so secluded we never bothered to lock the door to our home, but for some reason I was always adamant about locking the car. It bothered me, but I hopped in the car after unlocking it again, cranked the engine and started up the driveway.

It’s dark outside. Real dark. This one lane gravel road was cut right through the thick of the forest so there are tall trees on either side of the road that block out all ambient light from the moon or the stars. The farther I traveled along the road, the more aware I got that the car had not been locked before I got in. I didn’t check the back seat. Now I was just worrying over nothing. I looked over my shoulder and didn’t see anything, just darkness. But I wasn’t satisfied. I was looking more at the rear view mirror than I was at the road. No problem though. It doesn’t take too much concentration to stay on the road driving 15 mph. The more my eyes adjust to the darkness in the mirror, the more disturbed I became.

I could see what looked like a silhouette of head and shoulders, but it was hard to tell. It could have just been my imagination. It was just so very dark. At this point I believed that my imagination was just manipulating the shape of the back seat headrest. I consoled myself enough to keep driving, but my focus remained glued on what was behind me. The road curved and there was a break in the trees revealing the moon. The light poured into the car, and lit up the back seat. The light only flashed through for a fraction of a second, but what I saw still causes my eyes to water when I think about it.

Those eyes. THOSE FUCKING EYES. They were huge and terrifying. I didn’t know eyes could open that wide. I could see every detail, the giant pupils, every red vein. They weren’t in the corner of the reflection, they were the entire contents of my rear view mirror, as if someone in the back had leaned forward enough to put their head in between me and the front passenger seat. My heart sank, and I felt the blood run out of my face. My eyes froze, my gaze fixated. I was afraid to look away from where those eyes had just been.

I didn’t stop driving. Why didn’t I stop driving? Maybe I thought I would be safer if I jumped out of the car in town. I don’t really remember. I don’t know what was going through my head at this point. I just know that when I broke through the tree line a few seconds later, the light flooded back into the car, and I was staring at the empty back seat.

– Posted by kromagnon; Nosleep

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