That Was A Close One...
The rain was falling heavily. It was like driving through a thick curtain of water. He eased off the accelerator a little. Had to be careful driving on wild nights like these. The last thing you’d want is to have an accident or breakdown. You just want to be at home on these stormy nights. The 'thwack-thwack' of the windscreen wipers was hypnotic.
He stared out into the glow of the headlights. The rain sounded like white noise interference as it battered the car. He was reminded of the opening scenes of a Hitchcock film. Through the wash of the rain he spotted a figure at the other side of the road. The person wore a green parka and had their thumb jerked out. Why on earth would anyone be hitchhiking tonight? He asked himself. Surely you would just stay put until the morning.
They must have been in a rush to get where they were going. He signalled down and pulled over. The hitchhiker climbed in. He shut the door quickly, glad to be out of the rain. He pulled his hood back and sighed. He was somewhere in his mid-twenties and had wild red hair and a thick beard. ‘Awful night, eh?’ said Steve. The hitchhiker held his gaze for a long moment. Drops of rainwater trickled down his face.
‘Yes. Yes it is.’
Steve pulled out and continued through the storm. The hitcher glanced over his shoulder into the blackness behind them.
The hitcher simply nodded.
They drove on in silence for a short while. The BBC radio phone blaring out from the car’s speakers filled in for conversation. They listened to the radio and their own thoughts as they moved on.
‘Where are you headed?’ asked steve.
‘North.’ The hitcher pointed.
‘Are you travelling to visit friends?’
Steve couldn’t tell if that was a yes or a no. He adjusted his tie nervously. The hitcher stared at him in his suit and tie. The hitcher seemed scruffy in comparison in his parka and Pink Floyd t-shirt.
‘Do you work around here?’ asked the hitcher.
‘Yes.’ Steve responded. ‘I was stuck late at the office. You know how it is.’
‘No. Not really.’
Again they drifted into silence.
The talk radio show carried on as they drove through the wind and rain. The hitcher shifted in his seat and stared out the windscreen.
‘No music?’ the hitcher asked.
‘Is there no music we could listen to?’
‘I like the radio talk shows. I’m not really a music fan.’
The hitcher’s eyes glazed over for a moment. Then he spoke.
‘I like listening to music. It calms me down.’
The driver said nothing.
Several miles later there was a news bulletin on the radio. The reporter tried to remain professional as she read the announcement.
‘We are getting reports that a patient has escaped from a Manchester psychiatric institution. The man is said to be psychopathic and is said to have a history of murder.’
The hitcher jabbed a finger on the button on the radio panel. Pop music blurted out from the speakers. The driver stared at his passenger, his question unasked.
‘I hate the news.’ answered the hitcher. ‘It’s so depressing. It brings me down. There is never any good news, is there?’
Steve did not reply.
‘Don’t worry. I’m not the killer.’ said the hitcher, fidgeting with his coat.
‘No?’ said the driver. ‘I mean, no, of course you aren’t.’
The hitcher seemed troubled. He started fidgeting, itching and hitting his head.
'Are you okay? Steve asked.
'stop the car!'
'It's raining outside, I can't do that'.
'I said stop the car! You helped me and as such, I won't want to add you to my list, stop the freaking car!'
Steve came to a halt. The hitcher fiddled with the car door handle, and it seemed like he was in a hurry to go somewhere. He opened the door and ran out. Steve was still waiting to see what the hitcher was up to.
Another guy came walking by, the hitcher followed him. When the guy noticed he was being followed, he started running. The hitcher pounced on him and stabbed him countless times. It was a murder of passion. The hitcher looked up and saw steve. He started walking towards Steve, it seemed like he was being controlled. He was totally crazy!. Steve zoomed off immediately. That was a close one, he said, taking a deep breath.