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Last Exit

February 25, 2018

 

Welcome to another Feed Your Monster feast. This week we present "Last Exit" from Kevin Hurtack. 

 

Kevin Hurtack is an author and artist who is always exploring new ways to disturb his audience.  You can catch up with his madness at kevinhurtack.wordpress.com

 

Last Exit

By Kevin Hurtack

 

I never expected to meet a beauty like her while scrounging around town for supplies. I found her in what used to be a rich folks' neighborhood.  She was slate blue and had curves that would've put Marilyn Monroe to shame. Any car that still ran was rare, but a 1966 Ford Mustang in cherry condition was manna from Heaven.

 

Maybe it was God's way of apologizing for all those days I'd spent barricaded in that backwoods cabin with only cat food to eat. For all the hours I'd spent in a paranoid state behind those boarded up windows in an attempt to keep Them out.

 

After I hot-wired her she roared like a grizzly bear waking up from hibernation.  I lit a cigarette and buckled up.  As I threw her into gear I caught a glimpse of my toothy grin, it seemed out of place on my filthy face.  When was the last time I had reason to smile? I couldn't remember, but it must've been before the world had turned to shit.

 

But now that I had a full tank of gas and a V8 under the hood, I could head up to Denver; things had to be better there. At least that's what my girl had said on the phone before they stopped working a couple months ago.

 

I floored the gas and flew past the vacant houses wrapped with yellow caution tape. Raced away from the quarantine signs and the walls plastered with missing person posters. The Mustang wove through the abandoned barricades and checkpoints with ease, and onto the highway.

 

But my sense of salvation was snuffed out when I heard the scurrying coming from the backseat. My mind reeled in terror when I saw it in the rear view mirror. Its gelatinous kidney shaped body wasn't any bigger than a Chihuahua and it crept on spider-like legs. Its eight bulbous black eyes bore into me with a malignant intelligence.  Worst of all was its cavernous mouth filled with serrated teeth. 

 

I death-gripped the steering wheel and screamed. After all this time of avoiding Them, I'd ended up with one as a stow away. I guess God had a sick sense of humor.

 

It crouched like a cat ready to pounce. My heart pounded in my ears and sweat trickled down my face.  It screeched as it leapt over the seat and landed on the back of my head and wrapped its spidery legs around my face and neck.

 

I struggled to keep the car under control with one hand while clawing at its legs with another. It tightened its grip and spewed a vile lime-green fluid all over my head. The stench made my eyes burn and my nose run. Bile flooded the back of my throat, and I fought the urge to vomit.

 

I'd soon be paralyzed by its venom and it'd burrow into my mind, making me a vessel for its diabolical plan. It would lay its eggs in my head, and then use my memories to track down my girl. Once I arrived in Denver the eggs would hatch in my brain, and our corpses would feed its young. The only mercy would be that my head would explode when they hatched, saving me from having to witness my girl's demise.

 

Despite the sluggishness that seeped into my limbs, I managed to jerk the steering wheel sharply to the right. Crunching metal and shattering glass filled the air as the Mustang slammed head on into a guard rail.

 

I woke up with my throbbing head on the steering wheel and searing pain in my ribs.  A Chihuahua-sized hole in the windshield suggested that the creature had been ejected during the crash.

 

Steam billowed from the Mustang's crumbled hood. A pity to wreck her, but she had saved me. I fumbled with the seat-belt and flung the door open.  Nothing was on the tree-lined highway. The car's flickering headlights revealed the creature's splattered carcass a few feet away.

 

I got out and spit at it, but my triumph was cut short by the screeching. The headlights illuminated more of Them in the trees.  Had they been out here waiting for victims? Did the noise of the crash draw them here? It didn't matter. What did was not ending up as mindless husk with a cluster of their skull busting eggs in me.

 

A half dozen of them circled the Mustang.  I ripped off a shirt sleeve as I stumbled toward the back of the car. It took all my effort to move, but I knew if I hesitated they would be upon me. One of them jumped onto the roof. I fumbled with the gas cap, and managed to remove it. I shoved the shirt sleeve inside the opening.

 

The vile venom made my fingers feel like balloons, but I somehow managed to get my lighter out. Several more of them leapt onto the car. I struggled with the lighter. More of them scurried toward me. I lit the sleeve.

 

Despite the seeping numbness in my limbs, adrenaline fueled my staggering flight away from the Mustang. The bone-rattling explosion threw me to the ground followed by a wave of scorching heat. Chunks of metal and flaming body parts rained down around me.

 

I looked up.  The car was a twisted hunk of scorched metal. The trees were torches. Sizzling carcasses covered the asphalt. I choked on my laughter. My tears washed my soot-covered face.

 

I got onto my elbows and dragged myself passed a sign that marked the last exit out of town. I collapsed in the middle of the highway and closed my eyes. I saw my girl's face, beaming with love. I felt her gentle kiss on my lips as darkness enveloped me.

 

END

***

 

We hope you enjoyed this week's tasty treat, if you're still hungry get stuck into our other stories.

 

Going forward Feed Your Monster's publication day will now be Sunday instead of Saturday. Everything else remains the same and we look forward to bringing you our new anthology "Fangs and Broken Bones" next month. 

 

*Last Exit © Kevin Hurtack

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