As dusk turned to dark, my headlights illuminated him. He had his thumb out indicating he wanted a ride. His handsome and yummy face looked innocent enough. The impulse to stop overrode my judgment to make good choices.
I backed up and lowered the window.
“Wanna ride?” I could hear crickets and cicadas between traffic passing. A full moon rose on the opposite horizon.
“I sure do, lady,” he said, smiling. He wore that short stubble shadow-beard look so typical of guys these days.
“Toss your bag in the back and get in.” Leaning back, I was already questioning my judgment.
“Where you heading?”
“Anyplace that gets me West and closer to California,” He adjusted his youthful body in my seat, dressed only in a Cactus Blossoms band tee-shirt and dirty jeans.
“Well, north Texas is almost halfway depending on where you started. Where’d that be?”
“Yep, quite a ways. Well, I’m going down this state road for another forty miles. That’ll get you closer to an interstate ramp where you might catch a long-hauler.”
I saw the muscle flex in his lightning-bolt tattooed arm.
“You’re pretty. You married?”
“Thanks. Nope. Not married.”
“You got a fine lookin’ truck, here lady. I sure could use one like this to get to California.”
Oh my god, he’s planning to take my truck. Why’d I listen to my sister? “Why’re you taking such a long trip hitchhiking?”
“Well, you’re never gonna tell anybody,” he said.
“I ran away from college. Left town and my overbearing parents. Heading west to start a new life.”
“I see. Know anyone there?”
“Naw, gonna find a job and begin a new life with a new name. Leaving my old life behind me.”
That’s good. He unbuckled his seatbelt and reached toward his pack in the back seat. A light fog grew on the road and I had to keep my eyes ahead.
I couldn’t help thinking I was about to see a gun emerge, maybe kill me, and take my truck.
“Whatcha doing?” was all I could think to say.
“Just getting a snack,” as he leaned back in his seat with a breakfast bar in hand.”
Relieved, I decided my family would definitely approve of this one. “Say, if you’re hungry, I live further down this road. I have family and sisters, pretty sisters, and we’ll be eating dinner. Could I interest you in my family-style meal before you get on your way? I’ll take you to the interstate spur after you eat.”
“Why, ma’am, that’d be mighty fine. I left without much cash and haven’t eaten very well the past two days.”
“Perfect. I mean, we can solve that problem. Our big meals are like nothing you’ve ever attended before. You’ll be amazed.”
“Can’t wait,” he said.
We drove for the next thirty miles in lighter conversation. As he chatted mindlessly about his big plans, his youthful body looked more delicious to me.
“My house is just down this dirt road about three miles. It’s a big ole house with giant oak trees,” I said.
I pulled in front of my two-story home, shrouded in fog, seriously needing paint and ivy removal. They must have heard me coming, as all of my smiling family stood on the porch as I stopped my truck.
“Your family doesn’t look like what I pictured. Their unusual dress. But no matter. I’ve really built up an appetite. What’s for dinner?” he said.
I turned off the engine. My fangs grew and saliva formed in my mouth.
I smiled. “You are.”
His eyes widened and his smile was gone.
About the author
M.D. Smith, IV lives in Huntsville, AL. He’s a life-long storyteller. He has written over 150 short non-fiction stories in the past 20 years for Old Huntsville Magazine. Turning to fiction, he’s written over 200 stories in the past three years.
He has been published in Reminisce Magazine (non-fiction) and self-published seven books including Romance novels, Flash Fiction anthologies, and non-fiction short story anthologies.