⑫ Texas Hitchhiker
~ Know what movie this tale was inspired by? ~
See, I knew this was a bad idea, right from the start.
I told you not to pull over, I told you that there’s such a thing as being too curious and caring at the same time, but you scoffed and shook it off. I still don’t know her name, but I guess it doesn’t matter now she’s dead.
And I mean it this time. It’s not the same as when I talk about scary thrill-seeker rides or sneaking out a night or whatever we used to do together for fleeting adrenaline rushes. This is different, and you would know that if you were here. You did know that, for a moment, until you were gone, like I’d watched the night before. Like I’d warned you when we saw her.
And it’s an uncomfortable, eerie feeling to think that you only knew, you only knew I was right, and I wasn’t being ridiculous, for just a quick moment - as quick as the fleeting adrenaline rushes we had.
I have them on my own now. Funny world, isn’t it? That’s what you used to say. Remember?
The movie I watched was out late last year, in October of 2003, but we couldn’t go to the cinema to see it because... well. You said it yourself. They hadn’t even paid the gas bill, how could they pay for tickets to see it with us? And it would have been some experience to see the film on the big screen, because it’s like you’re there, with that surround sound blasting screams and the high-pitched strings when Erin finds Andy. Puts him out of his misery, his agony, like they did to our old dog a few months ago at the vets. Sort of.
And it would’ve been great if we went together, because maybe, maybe, with your constant, impatient reassurances as we’d sit and watch it together, it wouldn’t have happened. You’d have understood. You always tried to understand. And they’d have let us in, since you turned eighteen last year.
You thought I was weird, wanting to watch stuff like that - realistic gore and terror at my age - and I usually don’t. But we live in Texas. And it looks just like the movie. Maybe I do run away with my imagination sometimes, but Jedediah looks similar to that kid who lives opposite us.
You gave me the DVD as a present for my birthday, from the video store. Saved up for months and months to get it. I jumped around and screamed in excitement, and you laughed watching me, calling me crazy and adding not to jump around like that because it gives the neighbours another reason to hate us.
You didn’t watch it with me though. Had to go to a party with your friends, and their friends, and theirs... To be fair, you spent the whole day with me except the evening, because that’s what big sisters are for. Should I have been patient and waited for you to come back before I pressed play? Because I tried, you know - watched the minute-long theme tune roll and the moment-long clips of horrified faces and that chainsaw that caused most of the pain. I watched the same clips and listened to the music eleven times before giving in and pressing play, the lights off a bowl of half-full popcorn beside me. Took the batteries out of the remote so I wouldn’t stop it, but there wasn’t much point anyway. I freeze up when I’m terrified, you know that.
You knew that.
So much blood, and I think the screaming’s still ringing in my ears. Not so innocent now, am I? Wasn’t the best choice for my first ever horror movie, especially alone, but you can’t unsee unless you’ve got nothing to see with anymore. I told you all about it when you came home as the end credits travelled up the screen, highlighting my wide eyes, but you fell asleep while I was talking, and you’re hard to wake up.
You’re impossible to wake up now.
So when we went to travel to a concert for the second part of my birthday present in the car - kind of like a road trip, apparently - I was more apprehensive than excited. You insisted we went anyway, and so we did. Until she walked in the middle of the road, blank expression with scarcely-blinking eyes, like how mine were last night. I couldn’t breathe for what seemed like forever, but when I did and I screamed louder than I did yesterday, you cursed in panic and aggravation, stopping the car so fast it threw us forward in our seats a little.
Why did you do it?! Why?
Trust a dead girl walking more than your own younger sister? Why? I still don’t... Why?
She didn’t even flinch when you almost hit her that hitchhiker, but you still rolled your eyes when I hurriedly told you about exactly how this was going to end. A cycle that ends in pain and masks of flesh. Could’ve sworn I saw a black rubbish bag full of the stuff.
You told me not to be ridiculous, and that movies and reality are two completely different things. Are you still so sure about that?
She walked slowly and shakily onwards and didn’t stop at all when you prised my desperate grip off your shoulders and got out to help her. They looked the same. They spoke the same. They said the same thing, and you didn’t care less until it was too late. It was later than late when you got out of the stupid car. Short blonde hair, pale face, discoloured dress. She told you she just needed to get away, that she wanted to go home, and let you help her in the car.
She cried in the backseat, and you wouldn’t have noticed if it wasn’t for her ragged, uneven breathing. She didn’t tell us her name. She told us they were all dead. Then she screamed about how you were going the wrong way, and pushed herself in front, making you swerve and nearly crash. We both screamed, and I didn’t stop. She didn’t want to go back.
And when her green gaze shifted to her legs, her inner-thighs smeared with blood, I screamed louder, knowing that this was our final chance. Push her out. Change your fate. Get her out, get the gun, don’t let her do it. I knew exactly who the bad man was. She told you that you were going to die. And you did.
She put it in her mouth, and her back was facing you. So it went through both heads. You were mortified, and you looked at me in almost an apologetic way. I can’t be sure. Your look was fleeting, like the adrenaline. Like the moments. It must’ve been a strong bullet.
Strong bullet. Strong scent of blood.
All the screams had been wiped from my throat, and I watched the red drip and the wisps and curls of smoke ooze from the gun’s end for at least an hour. Trauma? Horror?
Will I recover from myself? Am I one of them now?
Does it matter? You won’t tell me. There’s a hole in your mouth, and it’s not the one your lips make.
It was a bad idea.
I didn’t tell the sheriff. I blew up the car, and I stopped the movie of reality from going on. Now I’ll never know what the distinction is between fiction and real life. Not that I want to anymore.
After all, I’ve got all the adrenaline I could ever need now, don’t I?
Of course I do. I’m a hitchhiker.
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