Never Take Rides From Strangers
It was a dreary day. It wasn’t a day to be outside, and yet,
there they were, walking down a seemingly endless, deserted road in the wet, slick
“Whose idea was it to hitchhike?” Alex asked as he adjusted the straps of his backpack.
His girlfriend Kimberly smirked at him. “Yours. I wanted to keep trying to find a ride.”
“It would help if I didn’t crash and total a car every time I drive it,” Alex grumbled.
Kimberly shook her head. “Technically the first accident wasn’t your fault. “That old bitty slammed right into you. You had the right of way.”
Alex nodded. “True, but totaling my new car the day after I got it didn’t help matters. That’s two cars totaled within a month. Now everyone thinks I’m just a bad driver.”
“Well, you shouldn’t have been texting and driving that second time,” Kimberly chastised.
Alex shot her a look. “I wasn’t. I was looking down at the radio to find a better station. No one else was on the road, so I didn’t think it mattered.”
“You didn’t take into account the fact that you could veer off and hit a tree.” Kimberly playfully swatted Alex in the back of the head. “It only takes a second for an accident to occur. Keep your eyes on the road next time!”
“They were playing Justin Bieber. It would be even more dangerous for me to try to drive listening to that sorry excuse for a human being,” Alex grumbled.
“Harsh!” Kimberly said. She tossed her long blonde hair then added, “At least you didn’t hit a deer.”
Alex looked over at her. “Yeah. If I had, you’d have been more worried about how the deer was doing than you would be about how I was doing.”
Kimberly grinned. “Darn straight I would have been.”
Alex stuck his tongue out at her.
“A car!” Kimberly suddenly exclaimed, sticking out her thumb.
“Finally!” Alex said in relief as he stuck his thumb out as well.
A red Camaro Convertible was driving slowly toward them, but as the driver got nearer to them and saw them, he sped up. The driver, a guy who looked to be in his early twenties, laughed manically as he passed by them and flipped them off. “Suckers!”
The Camaro Convertible ran over a puddle, splashing mud and water all over Alex’s face and shirt. Alex whipped around to yell after the driver even though he knew the driver was rapidly leaving earshot distance. “You asshole!” He then looked over at Kimberly who had a hand clamped over her mouth. His eyes narrowed at her. “It is so not funny!”
Kimberly snorted behind her hand. “Yes, it is!”
“That scumbag! Now I have mud all over me. No one’s going to want to give me a ride when I have mud covering my body,” Alex griped as he took off his glasses, and looked for a place to wipe them off. He reached for Kimberly’s shirt.
Kimberly quickly stepped back, and held her hands up to ward him off. “Oh, no you don’t! You’re not getting me covered in mud too! Take off your shirt and wipe them off with the back of it. You don’t have any mud on your back.”
“I’m going to have to go shirtless now,” Alex grumbled.
Kimberly rolled her eyes. “Just use the extra shirt you packed in your backpack.”
“But then what will I wear tomorrow?” Alex whined.
Kimberly rolled her eyes. “It’s not like its sweating weather out. Just wear the same shirt tomorrow. We’ll use the washer and drier at the cabin.”
They were headed to the cabin Alex had just inherited from his grandfather. His grandfather had recently passed away. His grandmother had died five years earlier from Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, neither Alex, nor Kimberly had much money, so they couldn’t afford a rental car. None of their friends or family members would lend out their car since their friends and family either needed their cars, or simply didn’t trust Alex to drive their cars. Kimberly never learned to drive, so her driving the car wasn’t an option. The cabin would have been an eight hour drive, but now it was going to take a couple days to get there if they had to go merely by walking.
Alex took his shirt off, and cleaned his body and glasses the best he could. He then took out his new shirt from his backpack and put it on. “Now my backpack is going to be covered in mud,” Alex grumbled as he balled his muddy tee shirt up.
“Then just leave the muddy shirt here. It’s just a tee shirt,” Kimberly said with a shrug.
“No way! I am not wasting a perfectly good tee shirt. I only wore it twice counting today,” Alex said as he shoved the muddy tee shirt in his backpack, then zipped the bag back up and hoisted back onto his shoulders.
Kimberly rolled her eyes. “Give me a break.”
“For now we have to be tight on money until we start our next jobs,” Alex said.
Mark, a good friend of theirs happened to live in Glacier, where the cabin was. He had offered Kimberly a job as a secretary at the car dealership he owned. He had given Alex a job as a car salesman.
Just then, it started to sprinkle out.
“Great! Now it’s raining. That’s the last thing we need!” Alex grumbled.
“Sheesh! You’re not in a very nice mood today,” Kimberly grumbled.
Alex ignored her.
Kimberly then grinned at him. “Hey, maybe you can take your muddy shirt out of your backpack and see if rain will rinse it clean.”
“Cute,” Alex said, sarcastically.
Kimberly laughed. “What? I’m serious!”
The rain started coming down a little harder.
“Look! There’s another car!” Kimberly said, pointing to a pair of headlights down the road in front of them.
“You flag them down this time. I’m not about to be doused with mud again,” Alex grumbled.
Kimberly rolled her eyes. “You’re acting like it was acid instead of mud.” She then stuck up her thumb and held it out.
The car kept a slow pace toward them, and when it got to them it didn’t speed up, but rather the car stopped.
The passenger side window rolled down, and Kimberly looked in to see a kind looking old man. “You need a ride?” he asked.
“Yes, please! We’re trying to get to Glacier. Do you happen to be going that way at all?” Kimberly asked with hope.
“Well, it just so happens that this is your lucky day. I’m visiting a sick relative up that way. Hop on in!” the old man said cheerily.
“Really? We can’t afford to pay you gas money. Are you sure you don’t mind?” Kimberly asked.
The old man nodded toward the back seat. “I’m going that way any way. There’s no need to pay me any gas money. Hop on in!”
“Thank you so much! My boyfriend and I truly appreciate it,” Kimberly said. She motioned Alex over.
Alex smiled, and headed on over.
Kimberly opened the car door and slid in to the other side. However, before Alex could get to the door, the old man sped off down the highway, picking up speed by the second.
“What are you doing? My boyfriend Alex was—“
The old man cut Kimberly off. “I’m sorry, but I have no need for your boyfriend Alex. He’ll have to find his own ride there.”
Kimberly’s pulse was beating so hard, she feared she might be having a heart attack. “Let me out. Now.”
“I’m sorry, but no can do, Ma’am! My son can’t seem to find a nice woman to be his wife, so I had to go out and find him one myself. I think you’ll do mighty fine. You’re just his type. You’re leggy, beautiful, and have a pretty nice sized chest. He’ll be all over you. You don’t need to know my real name, but you can just call me Dad. After all, I’ll be your father-in-law soon enough.” He laughed.
“You’re crazy!” Kimberly spat.
“Maybe so, but I’m still just a father looking out for his son,” the old man replied matter-of-factly. “My son’s going to love you. You know, he’s thirty-five and never had sex before? I think you’ll be a delightful first experience for him. You look like you know what you’re doing.” He nodded in the rear-view mirror toward her.
Kimberly blushed, suddenly wishing she had chosen to travel in something other than a black bra, a low cut, see-thru white blouse, and cut-off jean shorts that rode high up her thighs. “You’re disgusting!” she snarled.
“Honey, you don’t know the half of it! You know, maybe I should give you a little trial run to see how good you are in the sack.” He darted his tongue in and out of his mouth at her. “After all, I’d hate to hand someone over to my son who is a dud in the sack. Then again, it will be his first time, so he won’t know the difference anyway, right?” He chuckled.
Kimberly held back the bile that was threatening to come up her throat from her stomach. She had to get out of there. She noticed the old man had finally slowed down to a normal pace. The door was still open. She had no choice. She had to make her escape—now.
Before she lost her nerve, she quickly slid over to the side where the door was still open.
The old man noticed. “What are you doing? Don’t even think about jumping out of this car. You’ll never make it anyway.” He started to speed up again, and Kimberly knew that she had to act now, or not at all. Please Lord, let me survive! she prayed in her head before throwing herself out of the car. She kept her limbs relaxed, and rolled as soon as she felt the impact of the road.
She rolled until she felt herself fall into a ditch. She groaned as she landed forcefully on her back.
She was aching all over, but she knew she had to get out of there. He could come back, she knew. Her thoughts drifted to Alex. She climbed out of the ditch.
“Thank you, Lord,” she muttered. She didn’t feel like anything was broken, but her head hurt like a jackhammer had just been drilled into it. She knew she might have a concussion, but now her only concern was getting to Alex, and then getting help.
She made her way down the road back the way she came from, going as fast as she could manage to go, which of course wasn’t as fast as she would normally be able to go. The pain in her legs hindered her from running at her usual speed.
“Alex!” she called out every now and then. She wasn’t sure how far ahead the old man had taken her. Who knew how far she would have to walk until she got to the spot where she had been abducted? “Alex!”
She didn’t know how long she had been running, but she suddenly saw a glimpse of someone walking her way. At first she was afraid it was the old man coming back for her, but then she saw the grey V-neck tee shirt that Alex had put on earlier, and she let out a cry of relief. “Alex!” she cried.
“Kimberly!” Alex cried out.
They ran to each other and embraced.
“What happened? I was so worried! I didn’t even have time to scream for you before the car sped off!” Alex had tears in his eyes. “I was so worried I’d never find you. I was worried you were going to be raped and killed!”
“I almost was. Oh, Alex, it was horrible! The sick old man wanted me to marry his reject of a son. He said I was just his son’s type. He looked over my body like he was picturing me naked and imagining doing disgusting things to me. He said he’d like to test me out before he gave me to his son, so I knew then that I had to jump out,” Kimberly explained.
“You jumped out of the car?” Alex asked in surprise. “That thing was speeding twice the speed limit!”
Kimberly sniffled. “He had slowed down a little, but he was still going pretty fast when I jumped out. I had to though. It was either that or be, like you said, raped and probably killed!”
Alex stroked her hair. “Well, you’re safe now. Thank God.” He sniffled as well. “We have to call the cops. I also want to get you to a hospital to get you checked over.”
It was still pouring rain, but Kimberly had barely noticed with all the trauma she had just gone through. She nodded. “Let’s just get out of here.”
Alex pulled out his phone, then cursed. “Damn! It’s dead.” He nodded toward her. “Give me yours.”
Kimberly reached into her pocked for her phone, and her face paled. “Oh no. I must have left it in his car!”
“Shit!” Alex cursed again. “We’re going to have to walk somewhere to try to find a phone. That’s the last thing we need with you hurt and the rain pouring down on us!”
Kimberly sighed. “We have no other choice.”
So, with Alex helping to support Kimberly’s weight, they headed down the road in search of help.
Alex nodded toward the woods in front of them. “Let’s go through the woods. The trees might help to shelter us from the rain a bit, and we won’t be visible if he comes driving around looking to find us again.”
Kimberly nodded. “All right, but I don’t want to be in the woods when it’s dark. We have to find somewhere before it gets dark.”
Alex tightened his grip around her waist. “We will.” He kissed the top of her head, and they continued walking.
“We have to find shelter soon. I can’t take much more of this walking,” Kimberly said as they continued through the forest.
“We have to find shelter soon. It’s starting to get dark,” Alex said as he looked up at the darkening sky.
“What’s that over there?” Kimberly then asked, pointing to some light that shone through the trees about a hundred yards away.
“It looks like it might be a house!” Alex said, enthusiasm in his voice. “Let’s go check it out.”
Kimberly leaned against Alex with Alex supporting her weight again as they headed toward the direction of the lights.
When they got to the lights, they saw that the lights did indeed come from a house.
“Oh, thank God!” Alex said. It looked like a nice enough house. It was a two-story light blue house with brown shutters. It had a long, winding gravel path leading up to it, and it appeared to be the only house in the area. Everything else was nothing but woods.
There was no car in the driveway, but they knew that someone had to be home if the lights were on. Together they traveled up the pathway, and came to a stop at the front stoop.
Kimberly knocked on the door. No one answered, so Alex rang the bell. Soon, they both heard footsteps, and then the door opened, revealing a pimple-faced guy who looked to be in his mid-thirties. He was not a very attractive man, Kimberly noted. His eyes were very far apart from each other, and his nose was way too big for his face. His hair hung down long, black, and greasy, resting against his shoulders.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
“Yes, may we please use your phone?” Alex asked. “My girlfriend here is hurt. We need to call an ambulance to get us to the hospital.”
The guy smiled. “I’m sorry, but we forgot to pay out phone bill, so we won’t have any service until we pay the bill tomorrow. They’re closed on Sundays.”
“Well, how about your cell phone? We can pay you for minutes used,” Kimberly asked.
“I’m sorry, but my household is very old fashioned, and we don’t really find the need for a cell phone. I can let y’all come in and get out of the storm though. I don’t have a car, but my father does. He should be home shortly. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind giving you two a ride since you need help and all,” the guy said.
“That would be greatly appreciated, thank you!” Alex said.
“Yes, thank you,” Kimberly said with a nod.
The guy stepped back, motioning into the house. “Come right on in. I’m Derek by the way.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Derek,” Alex said, allowing Kimberly in first, then entering after her.
Derek closed the door behind them. “Please, take a seat in the living room. Sit anywhere you’d like.” He motioned to the room beside him.
“Thank you,” Kimberly said, leading the way into the living room. She sat down on the couch, and Alex followed suit.
“Can I get y’all anything to drink? We have good drinking water. We also have some soda pop I think. Of course we have some Coors Light as well if you want one of those,” Derek offered.
“I’d love a Coors, thank you,” Alex said.
Kimberly smiled at him. “I’ll take a soda. Anything you have is fine.”
“Coming right up!” Derek said.
“Do you mind if I use your bathroom?” Kimberly asked.
“Why, not at all! Head right on up the stairs out there. It’s the third door on the left,” Derek said kindly, pointing out of the living room towards the staircase in the foyer.
Again, Kimberly smiled at him. “Thank you!”
“Hurry back,” Alex said to her, gently taking her hand in his.
She smiled at him. Alex could be shy at times, and she knew he didn’t like the idea of having to come up with small talk—especially with a stranger. She kissed his hand. “I’ll be right back.” She winked at him, then headed up the stairs to the bathroom.
Kimberly found the bathroom right where Derek had said it would be. She closed the door, and then she checked herself in the mirror. She winced. She had a long cut across her forehead, and several scrapes down her arms. She looked down at her legs, and winced even bigger when she saw all the scrapes and bruises. “Please don’t have a concussion!” she said to herself. She just wanted to get out of this town and to their new cabin home in Glacier.
She ran some cold water over her face, then went to the bathroom. When she was done doing what she had to do, she started to head out, but paused when she saw a flash of purple on top of the towel hamper. She backtracked, and headed over to the hamper. She gasped when she saw her phone setting on top of it. She knew it was hers because Alex had given her the case for their six month anniversary. It had a purple metallic heart on it with Alex Loves Kimberly written on the inside of it.
“Wait a minute. I left my phone in that crazy old man’s car. How did it...?” Her heart sank then as the realization hit her.
“I don’t have a car, but my father does. He should be home shortly.”
As Derek’s words rang through her head, her face paled. “Oh my gosh, he’s the old man’s son!”
She quickly grabbed her phone, and opened the bathroom door with a shaky hand. She had to get Alex and get out of there before it was too late.
She slowly headed down the stairs, using everything in her to not allow herself to run down them. She couldn’t tip Derek off. She had to pretend like nothing was out of the ordinary. There was no telling what Derek would do if he found out she was on to him. She and Alex had to get out of there before the old man came back. He had already come back once, obviously since her phone was there.
She turned her phone around to call, and gasped when she saw that the screen was smashed. She tried to use it anyway, but it was dead. She didn’t know if it had fallen with her onto the road, or if the old man and his son had done something to it. She was guessing they had done something to it.
It didn’t matter. All that mattered right then was grabbing Alex, and getting the heck out of there.
She walked across the foyer, trying her best not to sprint across it.
She walked into the living room and saw that Derek was nowhere to be found, but Alex was sitting on the couch.
“Alex,” she whispered. “We have to get out of here now!” She headed toward the front of the couch. “Derek is the old man’s son! He’s the one the old man wanted me to marry!”
Alex didn’t say anything.
“Alex, did you hear me?” Kimberly whisper shouted. She got to the front of the couch, then screamed. She quickly covered her mouth as the tears started streaming down her face. There sat Alex with an ax buried deep into his chest, the handle facing downward. Blood was still pouring out of the wound. Alex’s head was bowed, and his eyes were still open, but there was no life left in them.
Kimberly turned around to run, but screamed again when she collided with something sturdy—Derek’s chest, she realized.
Derek grinned at her. “I had to get the boyfriend out of the way if I wanted to marry you, didn’t I?” he asked. “He was a nerd anyway. I will be so much better for you than he is.”
Thinking back to a self-defense class she had seen the tail end of when picking up her friend Tammy from said class, she quickly kneed him in the crotch.
Derek cried out in pain and let her go.
Kimberly then ran, whishing she had taken the class with Tammy instead of laughing it off.
Her words to Tammy now echoed through her brain. “We live in a safe area, Tammy. When am I ever going to need self-defense?”
“You never know when you’re going to need it. You won’t always be in a safe area, Kimberly.”
So badly Kimberly wished she had taken Tammy’s warning to heart, but now it was too late.
She was just about to the door when the door opened, revealing the old man.
The old man smiled, revealing several missing teeth. The teeth he did have were crooked. “Now where do you think you’re going, pretty lady? It’s not nice to try to run away from your husband-to-be, now is it?”
“I will never be that ugly freak’s wife! Never!” Kimberly yelled. She tried to knee the old man in the crotch, but he was too quick for her.
The old man stepped back. “Now is that any way to talk about your future husband? And is that any way to treat your future father-in-law?”
Derek came up from behind Kimberly and picked her up then.
Kimberly screamed. She tried to kick herself free, but Derek held her held tightly. He was far too strong for her.
“You know what, Daddy? I don’t think this is the right woman for me after all. She called me an ugly freak. Now that just won’t do at all, will it?”
The old man shook his head. “No, Son, I suppose it won’t. I guess we’re going to have to kill her then. After all, we can’t have her telling on us.”
Kimberly screamed again. “No, please! I won’t tell anyone, I promise!”
Derek and the old man both laughed.
“Now why would you go saying something like that when we both know you’re going to tell?” the old man said.
“I’ll marry Derek. I changed my mind. Let’s do it!” Kimberly then tried.
Derek sat Kimberly in a chair and held her there while the old man came around from behind the chair with some rope. “I’m sorry, but you already called me an ugly freak. There’s no going back from that, Darlin’.”
“I didn’t mean it,” Kimberly tried, though her protests were weak now as the tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Oh, you meant it all right. And for that, you’re going to pay,” Derek said.
Derek and his father then worked together to tie her tightly to the chair.
“Please!” Kimberly cried. “I don’t want to die.”
“No worries! Everyone dies. You’re just going to die sooner than later; that’s all,” the old man said to her with a grin.
Derek headed over to Alex and yanked the ax out of his chest. He then carried the bloody ax over to Kimberly. “Don’t worry. I’ll make this as quick and painless as I possibly can.”
Kimberly’s eyes widened with fear. “No. Please, no! Derek!”
Derek grinned, and swung the ax back. Then, as Kimberly was still pleading for her life, he swung if forward and chopped off her head in one swift swoop.
Kimberly’s head fell to the floor, her mouth still open from pleading, and her tears still wet.
“Great job, Son! I’m impressed!” the old man said, patting his son on the back. “I taught you well. Now, let’s get rid of the bodies just in case anyone comes lookin’.”
Derek nodded. “I’ll go get the wheel barrel.”
So, Derek got the wheel barrel, and then his father helped him load the body into the barrel.
They then headed down to the basement, which they had equipped with a ramp in place of stairs. Once down the ramp, the wheeled the wheel barrel over to the big boiler they had down there.
Derek opened the boiler door, and the old man tossed in Kimberly’s head.
The fire inside roared as Kimberly’s head was tossed in, the flames growing higher from the fuel.
Derek and the old man grinned at each other. They then fed the boiler Kimberly’s body, feeding it slowly, starting from the bloody stump of a neck and ending with her feet.
When they were done, they went back up and collected Alex, then went back down the ramp, and fed the boiler Alex’s body.
When all was finished, they closed the door of the boiler and headed back up stairs.
“There wasn’t too much blood this time. I think we can both make a quick cleanup of it,” the old man said, an arm draped around his son’s shoulders.
“Maybe next time I can be the one to pick her out,” Derek suggested.
“Just make sure she doesn’t have a boyfriend with her next time. It’s too much of a hassle,” the old man replied.
“At least the extra body will keep our basement even warmer. It’s getting cold out there!” Derek said.
They both laughed.
“True, very true. So, what do you want next time? A pretty redhead?” the old man asked as they headed up the ramp to clean up the blood.
“That might be nice. Or maybe someone with two-toned hair. I’d like that a lot,” Derek said.
They continued to plot who their next victim would be as they cleaned up the evidence so that no one would ever know what happened to Kimberly and Alex. Like no one would ever know what had happened to Kimberly and Alex, no one ever know what had happened to the victims that came before them. And like no one would ever know what had happened to the victims before Kimberly and Alex, no one would ever know what had happened to the victims that were surely to come in the future.