The heat dancing off the asphalt and the bright green trees on either side of the road indicated that my favorite season had well and truly begun. My left hand caught the wind as it rested on the open window while I blasted my favorite song.
Every now and then, a car would pass by. I’d pretend I wasn’t screaming along with the lyrics like a lunatic just long enough for them to pass by. And then I’d just pick up where I left off.
From my peripheral vision I saw every single light in my dashboard flicker on, but when I looked down nothing was amiss. Must’ve been just me, then. Or so I hoped.
I really needed this rust bucket of a truck to not break down in the middle of nowhere as I didn’t feel like waiting for hours for triple-A to arrive. Not in this heat at least.
Off in the distance, a shiny black car sped along the highway. Speeders always annoyed me, if you have somewhere to be just leave a few minutes earlier instead of endangering the people around you.
It wasn’t until it got closer that I realized how fast it was really going, like the devil himself was chasing him. I gripped my steering wheel a little tighter in anticipation of the passing car. Something felt off, like it just wasn’t right.
I don’t know why this car in particular made me so nervous all of a sudden, but I couldn’t look away from it. Something drew me to the black machine and a feeling of what could only be described as dread filled my very being.
It was getting close now, too close.
What was happening? My fingers started trembling and I had trouble keeping the car on my side of the road. Yet the black car called to me. Beckoned me.
I tried to think rationally, there was nothing going on. Nothing out of the ordinary. Why did I feel this way?
In a few moments, it’ll have passed. And when it does I will take the next exit and call my mom. I’ll tell her what I’m feeling right now and she’ll assure me everything is alright. I will get back on the road until I’m home.
Only a few feet now.
It was close enough I would’ve been able to see the other driver if it hadn’t been for the glare of the setting sun reflecting off his windshield. I released a breath I hadn’t known I was holding in. Everything went fine. Nothing happened. I didn’t know why I had expected it in the first place.
I was about to reach toward my radio to change the station when movement caught my eyes and forced me to look back to the road.
Just in time to see the black car on my side of the road.
That was the best way to describe the feeling.
There was nothing else.
No feelings, no thoughts.
And suddenly, I was somewhere else completely.
I didn’t know where, couldn’t describe the place even if I tried to.
There was nothing, yet I was somewhere.
I stepped forward. I didn’t know why. I just did.
I looked around but didn’t see. But I understood. I was no longer alive.
I should’ve been scared. I had always feared death. But now that it had actually happened I knew there was nothing left to do but to accept it.
A figure materialized in front of me. A man in black robes. Or so I thought.
As the haziness ebbed away it became clear it wasn’t just a man. It was more. Something not from my world.
He was more beautiful than any man, ethereal even. Like an angel.
His straight nose and sharp jawline accentuated those piercing golden eyes while his plump lips were pressed into a fine line. His messy black hair did nothing to diminish his beauty and only one thought came to mind: Perfection.
Like God himself created him with the utmost care. His masterpiece.
It took him a second to react, and those strong brows turned downward in a vicious frown while his lips turned upwards in a demonic sneer, revealing his shiny white teeth.
“Who are you?” He snarled at me with fiery hatred burning in his eyes. His deep voice rumbled around me like a landslide, threatening to bury me.
I flinched away. His voice shook me to my very core. The hatred in his eyes held a promise of dread and misery yet they forced me to hold his stare.
“Lilly,” a voice answered. My voice. “Lilly Moss.”
My voice sounded strange, like it didn’t quite belong to me. Yet it was me. It was both yet neither. I supposed it didn’t matter anymore.
“Lilly Moss,” he ground out, the fire in his eyes dimming for a moment before flaring up again. “Pray tell me, Lilly Moss, what it is you’re doing here if you have 53 more years to live?”
It wasn’t a question. He knew I didn’t have the answer. 53 more years, that’s what I should have had. I had only lived on this earth for 25 years. I deserved more. But I wouldn’t get them, for I was dead.
I saw it in his eyes, an internal battle. There was no doubt in my mind he was deciding my fate. I didn’t know what options I had, I just prayed he’d choose fairly.
His eyes cleared out as he looked back at me. Gone was the rage from moments before and the emotion that replaced it was unrecognizable. I knew he’d made his decision when he raised his hand and snapped his finger.
And we were gone.