The Hooded Man

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Summary

A spine-tingling cab ride into mystery. A short story centered around the ritual game, 'The Hooded Man.'

Genre:
Thriller / Mystery
Author:
Sam Norton
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
1
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
13+

The Ride

“Hello? I need a cab.”

He began to untie a thin black cord from the rotary phone handset lying on the floor before him. Placing it to his left, he took the second cord and started to tie it around the phone. He took the first cord in his hand again, setting it in a steel bowl behind him. Igniting a match from the book that sat between his legs, he set the first cord ablaze.

The entire house was pitch black. The man stumbled over an unseen item on his way to peek through the drawn curtains of his window. A flat black car was parked on the side of the street, in front of his house. Every window of the vehicle was tinted making it impossible to peer inside. The tires and rims were as a midnight sky. Atop the hood was a white sign that read ‘Taxi’. Its headlights shone a pure ebony light.

He reached down to pat the pockets of his jeans, ensuring that nothing was in his pockets. He checked the watch strapped around his right wrist; 1:38 AM. Stepping to the door, he turned the knob. Locking the door behind him, he pulled it shut. As he paced toward the black taxi, he noticed the street lights. All were shining bright, aside from the one this taxi was parked directly in front of. He made his way into the back seat and locked the door. The man went to sleep.

Awakening, as if from a nap, he looked to his watch; 3:30. He fell back into slumber. When he woke again, the cab was moving. He gazed out the window to see an unfamiliar highway. At the wheel was an individual wearing a gray hood. Sitting to his left was another man, younger than him by at least five years. Beside the opposing door was a woman. She was seemingly much older than him; with shadowed wrinkles and graying hair. He turned his head forward. Staring at the headrest of the seat in front of him, he sat in silence.

After sometime, he overheard the woman whisper to the hooded driver. “I have reached my destination.” The driver slowed by nine to ten miles per hour but did not stop. The woman began to fall into a slumber. The man looked back out the window. The scenery was changing drastically. Mountains seemed to be growing from the sky. As he looked to the lines of the highway he noticed that there was no ground for the highway to be laid upon. It was as if this highway was floating in the sky. A bird flew beside them. This bird, unlike anything he had seen before, had the tail of a snake. On its head were the raised antlers associated with deers. The eyes; if they could be described as such, were balls of pure pink flame. The bird blinked at the man revealing that it possessed translucent eyelids. With a jolt of ungodly speed, the bird was gone.

When he turned his face back into the cab he noticed the elderly woman had vanished. No remenets of her remained. Now, only three remained, the hooded driver, the young man, and himself. The other passenger turned to him, as if to speak. To himself the man began to state, “Do not do it, you fool. It is against the rules.”

“Where do you think we’re going?” the younger passenger asked him. The man kept his face forward. The cab began to increase speed. The inertia pushed his head hard against the headrest. Faster and faster. The man turned his eyes to the odometer. They were travelling well over one hundred and twenty miles per hour and steadily increasing. The second passenger began to sweat. A pool had formed around the neck of his red shirt. The man was becoming perplexed as he felt no increase in temperature. If anything, he would say it was growing colder. The sweat was growing, until his shirt was completely soaked. The second passenger was becoming noticeably thinner. The man turned his gaze to the other passenger’s shirt. A blob of pinkish cream fell to the naval. Then another and another. Quickly, a bubble of pink-cream had formed in the center of the passenger’s shirt. The man looked to the others face. He was vexed by the sight. The cream droplets he had watched were the melting flesh of the second passenger. Both cheeks were gone. The skin of his forehead had began to melt over his eyes. The boy was screaming, yet no sound could be heard. Teeth were being held only by tendons. His tongue was turning black. The man could smell the rot in his breath. All of the skin from his skull had deteriorated. Eyes and tongue were all that remained. Suddenly, the boy closed his mouth. When the teeth were clenched, the boys eyes exploded. They sprayed a wet, sickening goop over the man’s face.

The man closed his own eyes to prevent the fleshy matter from entering his own. When he opened them again, the boy was gone. He looked back to the odometer. They were once again travelling at sixty miles per hour. As he slid to the center seat, he could see the end of the highway through the windshield. The taxi slowed, stopping at the edge of the highway.

“Thank you for the ride.” the man spoke to the hooded driver before stepping out of the cab. As he walked across the sky, solid stones began to form under his feet. He stopped and turned his head to look behind himself. The cab and highway were gone. The man smiled.

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