The Hitchhiker Going to Hell

The Hitchhiker Going to Hell

Fiction

The Hitchhiker Going to Hell

I was doing a long haul, I don’t do them very often anymore with my back being the way it is, but I owed my boss a favour and anyway, I wanted to see my daughter one last time in LA before she moved north to Toronto for her final year of studies. Normally, I just drive now in the Dallas area in smaller lorries and avoid the big 18-wheelers, but yea, I wanted to see Kylie so it was a good excuse and I got to make some money too.

I was going from Dallas to Phoenix for the first delivery, up to Flagstaff for another drop and then onto LA. I wasn’t in a huge rush, but I was keen to get there before the weekend so Kylie and I could catch up. After a few hours sleep in Phoenix I got myself together for the short two hour trip up route 17 to Flagstaff. 

If you don’t know the area, it’s where the Co-co-nino national forest is. It’s incredibly beautiful, full of red rock stacks and wild forest and rivers. It’s one of the old stops that people used to make crossing America on the old Route 66. Unfortunately though, I wasn’t going to get to see much this time as I was driving at night.

Just as I entered the area the heavens opened. The sky had been overcast for a while and mother nature let rip with one hell of a downpour. Soon I was driving no faster than 30 miles an hours, visibility was pretty bad and those roads are dark at night. As I came around a corner I saw a lady hitching. Usually I’d never stop, but in this weather, I dunno, I must’ve felt sorry for her and y’know, something felt off. 

I slowed to a stop on the side of the road. I rolled down the passenger side window and could see her a bit more closely. She was soaked to the skin and shivering…well I thought she was shivering, she could have been shimmering looking back on it now. Her shoulders were slu

mped and her face looked at the ground, it looked like she hadn’t even noticed that I’d stopped. It was raining so heavy now, maybe she hadn’t heard me.

“Are you Looking for a ride?” I asked trying to shout over the rain.

She had heard me. She raised her head and lowered it again in a slow nod. I unbuckled my seatbelt, leaned over to the passenger-side door and opened it for her. She stepped into the cabin and it grew colder. My temp gauge said it was about 55, not bad for this time of year, but to me it felt like it had dropped to about 30. Her hair and clothes were wringing wet, but as she brushed her drenched hair away from her face I could see that she was incredibly beautiful.

“Where you going to ?” I asked my new guest

The Hitchhiker Going to Hell

“Oh,” she said quietly, “I guess I’m going to hell.”

I laughed at her little joke, it wasn’t funny, but I wanted to make her feel welcome. She looked like she’d been through some god-awful event and I wanted to be helpful. My little laughter died when I saw her stern expression.

‘I going to Flagstaff and then on to Los Angeles if that’s any good to you. LA is as close to hell as you can get without dying in my opinion, I hate the place, I’m only going there because my daughter lives there at the moment.”

The hitchhiker ever so slightly smiled..

“Okay,” she said. “Let’s go to LA.”

I smiled at her and put my foot to the floor. It wasn’t long until a gloomy silence descended on us in the cab. I wasn’t freaked out or worried, I just thought, ok, this lady’s been through something, best not to ask about it unless she brings it up and anyway, this rain is so heavy I really had to concentrate on the driving and not killing us. Somehow it seemed like the weather was getting worse, there was the odd flash of lightning and the roll of thunder from far away. Unusual weather for the time of the year, but I suppose we can blame global warming, I guess. If you’re into that kind of thing. My windscreen wipers were going full tilt and I’d pretty much slowed down to 20 miles an hour now.

Eventually the silence was getting to me soon and I was starting to feel uncomfortable….

“Can I ask” I finally said. “What are you doing out in weather like this?”

She looked surprised that I wanted to speak to her as she continually stared out the truck’s window.

“Oh,” she said, “I hate the rain, I didn’t plan on being out.” 

Strange answer I thought

“Yeah, you’ve lucky I stopped for you I guess,” I said. “I’ve heard this area can be prone to flash flooding. Although, not at this time of year. I’m from the Dallas area so don’t drive up here much, but in this old lady she’ll be able to take pretty much anything nature can throw at her.”

She seemed to shudder once I shut my mouth. Oh, course, I thought, she’s soaking wet and cold. I turned up the heat on her side and her underchair heating.

“Look, this might sound weird and I ain’t no pervert…but you must be freezing, there’s some spare clothes on the back seat there, feel free to take a tshirt or sweater if you want to get out of those wet clothes. I ain’t gonna look…I realise that might sound weird, but trust me I’ve been married for 25 years now and I’m very happy.’

Scary Hitchhiker Story

To my surprise she said “Okay,” he took off her coat and tshirt and reached into the back and grabbed one of my spare ones and a towel too. She put on the tshirt and then started to dry her hair. 

I know I said I wouldn’t look, but out of the corner of my eye I could, of course, see. What I saw floored me…

“Jesus Chris,” I said.

With her coat and tshirt off I could see her neck. She had a huge, thick, purple and yellow bruise. I looked like she’d survived a lynching. 

“Lady, are you alright?” I asked. “What the hell happened your neck, do you need medical attention?”

“Ambulances don’t often come out here,” she said. “Same for the police. It’s too remote and especially when the weather is this bad.”

“Ehhh….ok,” I said. I was now feeling incredibly uncomfortable and again silence descended and we sat in silence for what felt like hours, in reality it was probably only 5-10 minutes until she next spoke again as we were about to crest a long turn on a high hill. 

“Please, stop the truck,” she asked.

I slowed down, but I didn’t stop. There was nowhere to pull over and I wanted to get to Flagstaff and make my last drop before LA. Honestly I wanted rid of this lady too, I was getting a little freaked out

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“You need to stop the truck” she was becoming agitated

“I can’t, I’m sorry,” I said, “I’ve got to get to Flagstaff, make a drop and then head onto LA, I want to be there before noon. And anyway lady, sorry, you never did give me your name, I can’t leave you off in this weather, you’ll die of the cold.’

She turned towards me. Her face held no expression as she stared into my eyes. Man, she was beautiful, but that bruise at the base of her neck was disgusting. She grabbed the wheel and the trucked jerked to the right, I tried to wrestle the wheel back off her but she was a strong as an ox. I stomped on the brakes and the tires skidded. I tried my best to keep the truck on the road, but she was too strong, we hit the rail and the side mirror was smashed off the truck when it hit a tall tree on the side. We came to a quick stop on the verge in the mud, thankfully we were travelling still at a slow speed, it was still bucketing down rain.

“God damn it woman!” I shouted. “What in the name of Lord…., — why the hell did you do that….?”

She was gone. 

Had she somehow fallen out of the truck as we were stopping? It’s impossible, the doors lock automatically and anyway we were going too slow. Where the hell is she? I was thinking.

Her seatbelt was still buckled. This was very strange and I was freaking out a bit. I hit the gas, but I was stuck, the 18 wheeler just spinned and I stopped because I didn’t want to get more embedded in the mud on the side of the road. I took out my phone and called the police to let them know a truck was stuck on the road, but they said they couldn’t reach me until weather conditions improved. My insurance company told me the same. They told me to put down a warning triangle a 100 yards back from where I was stuck and wait it out until morning or for the weather to pass.

There was nothing I could do, I was stuck where I was. So I made sure the doors were locked and decided I’d try and get some sleep.

In the morning I was awoken by someone knocking on the cab door. ‘Open up, it’s the police, you called last night, we’re here to get you out mister.’

Creepy Hitchhiker Stories

“ Well sir, you can believe it or don’t, but you might just be the luckiest SOB on the planet. I’d buy a lottery ticket today if I was you….”

“Sorry officer, I don’t follow you, what do you mean?”

“Come on son and get out of the truck, let me show you how lucky you are.”

So I got out of the truck and we walked up around the bend. Right there in the middle of the road just below where the road began to descend was a rock, stuck in a small mudslide, roughly the size of a 1970s Voltswagon Beetle.

“If you’d have come over that hill sir,” said the policeman, “you’d have never seen that rock in the rain and you’d be about as dead as disco now. You’re lucky you lost control of the 18 wheeler when you did….

“But I didn’t lose control Officer,” I said. “I picked up a hitchhiker last night, not too long after the downpour started and, well, she wrestled the wheel offa me and forced the truck off the road .”

“Is that so?” he said. “Where’s this hitchhiker now then?”

“Officer, I don’t know, she must’ve run off when we stopped, although I didn’t hear her or see her get out of the truck….”

He looked at me strangely, but not like he didn’t believe me.

“Sir, do you remember what she looked like?”

“I do,” I said. “She was very pretty, green eyes and long black hair and….errr…”

“yes…?”

“Err….she had this large bruise around her neck. It was real nasty looking.”

The cop nodded.

“I would appear my good man that you met Lucille last night. She’s a bit of a local legend around here.”

“Lucille, what, what, do you mean?”

Lucille was a lady who lived in the area in the 60s and 70s, having moved here with her daughter after her husband died in Vietnam. She was very protective of her daughter who wasn’t exactly lucky when it came to her lovelife. One day Lucille went off to work and left her teenage daughter locked in at home. She was suspicious that she was going to run off with her latest, abusive boyfriend so Lucille shut up shop and went off to work. As I already mentioned this area is liable to flash floods and unfortunately Lucille’’s house flooded and the daughter drowned 

Lucille was inconsolable—she walked into the forest with a strong rope and hung herself the day after her daughter’s funeral. She had left a suicide note that siad “I’m gong to hell to make amends for my sins and for killing my daughter.”

According to the legend, she didn’t go to hell though, she was forced to stay in the area and save people from the same accidental deaths as her daughter.

I know some people will think I’m crazy and that this old geezer banged his head during the crash after falling asleep at the wheel, there’s just one thing. The coat and tshirt that she was wearing, they were still on the back seat when I got to LA and mine were gone. 

 

The Paramedic

The Paramedic

Fiction

The Paramedic

It was my life dream to work as a paramedic. I know I could have worked as a nurse or a doctor too, but I really wanted to be a first responder, to be the first person on the scene who could help. The reason being that when I was about 12 years old my Mom and I were in a pretty bad accident. We’d taken a short ride up to Buffalo Bill Reservoir and were look at the Rockies in the distance. My Mom was a semi pro photographer and was taking some snaps, she was teaching me a few things too, so we both had our cameras on tripods and we’re waiting for some of that beautiful golden hour light. 

Out of nowhere this moron comes up on the kerb and hits both of us. I don’t know how but I was just knocked over and wasn’t really hurt, just some bruising and small cuts, but he pinned my Mom to the guardrail. She was screaming like crazy but luckily the paramedics came and she survived. Minus her left arm but if it wasn’t for the fast action of the paramedics that day she would have died. 

Creepy Hospital Ghost Stories

From then on I swore I’d become a paramedic because I wanted to, I dunno, return the favour. A Paramedic had saved my mom’s life and I wanted to do the same, or help in any way for people in similar situations.

Now, I’m sure you’re familiar with health spending in your state. It’s a disgrace everywhere. Funny how we seem to have money for bombs and wars and soldiers but none for schools and hospital and healthcare. We’re overworked and underpaid, but since becoming a paramedic only one person has left the team and that was to retire. We do this job because it’s like a calling. We have to help people.

The Paramedic Short Story by Spud MurphyPeople think the night shift is the toughest. And, in reality it’s not. Traffic is almost nonexistant so you can get to places faster and you get a good bit of downtime, usually we’d hang out in our building watching some Netflix or playing some card game or something on steam. Sure, dealing with drunks sucks at first, but after a while you become good at handling them. Even car accidents aren’t as bad, most accidents occur during the day, not at night.

On very busy days my partner and I usually head into work an hour early to let our guys off we’re replacing early, they do the same for us when we’re on days. Anyway, we got to work and met the guys as they came out of the ER. They looked pretty shaken up. They’d been called out to an unresponsive girl and had to do CPR, she’d been skateboarding with her friends at one of the skateparks. She’d just collapsed, no drugs, she’d never drank, just out of nowhere Probably an aneurysm or something like that. They’d arrived on the scene and all her friends were gathered around her and crying and screaming. Those ones with young people are pretty tough.

Anyway, the guys went off to get changed before going home and we took over for the long haul.

We had two call outs that night, both involved older people who were suffering from breathlessness. Pretty common here with our smog and pollution. We just calm them down a bit, give some oxygen and make the call whether to bring them into or not. This night we brought both people in.

As Gerry, my partner, was checking in the second old timer that night, something weird happened. I was sitting in the ambulance cab just checking my phone, keeping an eye on Twitter because there was a game on and I wanted to see some reaction. Anyway, from the back of the ambulance I heard a girl laughing. Impossible I thought, must have been one of the machines going off and I heard it as laughter, or maybe it was some radio chit chat that I registered coming from behind me.

It weirded me out, especially with that teenager dying earlier in the day. It was strange. Gerry came out after the check in and asked me why did I look like I’d seen a ghost. I told him about the laughter I’d heard and he just dismissed it, said it was probably the radio.

Spooky Paramedic Ghost Stories

A few minutes later after we drove back to HQ we parked up and stayed in the ambulance, and sit there watching the game, Gerry’s a massive ice-hockey fan too. Next thing we both hear a giggle coming from inside the back of the ambulance.

What the fuck was that?’ Gerry asked.

Man, I’ve no idea.

We both turn around to look into the back but it’s empty, there’s nothing. Both a bit freaked out we get out of the ambulance as Gerry says, let’s check the back, maybe there’s some tweaker around the back.

“I dunno man,” I say “sounds a bit like what I heard earlier…..”

We walk around to the back of the vehicle, and there’s obviously nothing there.

“Should we open the doors and look inside?” I ask

“We already looked man, there’s nothing there….Ah, I guess you’re right, we probably should….

Gerry open the doors and there sitting on the trolley is a girl around 20 or so years old, skater-looking girl. Except she’s not sitting there, she’s kind of translucent, like a jelly fish or something like that.

‘Oh my god” Gerry says.

She puts her fingers to her lips, making the ‘be quiet sign’, then smiles. We’re all staring at each other for a moment then, Gerry and I just stood there, rooted to the floor. After what seems like an eternity, she smiles again and says ‘say thanks to the guy who tried to help’ then she waves and says ‘goodbye’

Gerry walks into the hospital and comes back a few minutes later. “She died a few minutes before we saw her” she says. The next day we told the guys about what happened, but we all agreed we’d never speak a word of this to anyone else who works with us. Her name was Katyln.

 

You can listen to this short story as a podcast here. Photo from here.

My Brother Tom, a short story by Spud Murphy

My Brother Tom

Fiction

My Brother Tom

 

This story took place back in January this year. It was about a year since my husband and I first met and went on our first date together. We fell madly in love and we married 3 months later.

My brother Tom died last year at my house while I was at work. We had been doing some work on the roof and there was scaffolding covering the outside of the house. I was still living at home with our mother and the poor woman discovered his body in the bad yard. He had fallen, or jumped, from the scaffolding. 

At work I received a phone call from my uncle telling me to get home as quickly as I could. He wouldn’t tell me why but I could hear my mother crying in the background. Deep down I think I knew that Tom was gone, he had been in a bad place for a long time with drugs and a failed marriage, he’d moved back in with us following the break up and he just couldn’t seem to get his life on track. He’d get a job and mess it up and get fired or fall out with a boss, he wasn’t using drugs but it always seems to loom above him that he could relapse after one bad decision. 

My Brother Tom, a short story by Spud MurphyIt could all be traced back to when he was in highschool and he got blamed for a crime. He was hanging out with some rich kids and they all broke into their headmaster’s house one night while drunk and stole an xbox and some money. Us being working class we couldn’t afford a good lawyer and Tom was sent to juvie while the other kids got off with warnings. 

During the trial it was made look like Tom was the ringleader. We all know it wasn’t true, poor Tom was a pretty impressionable kid at the time and he certainly wasn’t the leader. If anyone was going to be the fall guy it was Tom. He had been a bright, shy kid, we were always suspicious that these rich jocks were only hanging with Tom because he could help them with their homework, or he was probably even doing it for them, but he seemed happy with them. Anyway, they turned on him and he had to serve time in juvi. When he came out he was never the same again and wouldn’t speak about what went on in there. 

Anyway, I’m getting off the point. I drove home as quickly as I could, only to walk into what seemed like a horror movie. My younger sister was there, she was crying hysterically. She was being held by my mother. My aunt Therese and Uncle Matt were there and what seemed like the entirety of the local police force. The pathologist was present too. I remember almost having an out of body experience as they bagged up Tom’s body and placed him on trolley before putting it into the ambulance. This was hard to take, if he’d been placed in a hearse it wouldn’t have looked so bad, but since tom history of drug arrests they wanted to rule out an overdose. We didn’t even realise at the time we could’ve said no.

Weird Ghost Stories

I am the youngest of the family and Tom dotted on me. I loved him dearly too. My mom was nearly 42 years old when she had me. Tom was 42 when he fell, or jumped. It’s hard not to feel like he wasted the last 16 years of his life. Yes, he can blame the rich kids, but he was in the house that night, he didn’t have to be there and he sure as hell could’ve gotten his life back on track in those 16 years that followed….I’m sorry, that’s heartless, he was an addict after all he had it tough, I just wish I could have helped more or that he could’ve helped himself more or gotten the help he needed. It’s hard not to get pissed off thinking about it.

Months passed by and life went on and seemed to get back to a normal rhythm and before we knew it it was the New Year’s Eve. I met my husband while I was at work. I was a waitress in a bar and Dan was at a party. We hit it off immediately, he took me out on our first date the next day. He was slightly hungover after the festivities but I knew within the first minute that I’d be spending the rest of my life with him.

I even introduced him to Amy, my daughter. Her daddy had died in a car accident five years ago and while she was shy around strangers she just seemed to like John instantly. Well 2 weeks from our first date he got down on one knee and popped the question. That weekend he moved in with me and Amy and Mom and I thought I couldn’t have been happier. We were soon married and then that’s when the weird stuff started to happen. 

I came home from work one day and my husband was as white as a ghost. I asked what was wrong and he sheepishly tells me that things around the house had been moved. I thought he was joking and said something like, Oh, did Mom get out of bed before 11am this morning? He didn’t laugh.

That night I woke up suddenly and could hear what seemed like a party going on in the living room downstairs. The alarm clock read 3.33am. My mom had left during the day to visit her sister two towns over, nobody else was there with us, even my daughter who was at a sleepover. I’d thought we’d have been in for a night of romance and wine (but Dan was still a bit freaked out.)

I couldn’t make out what was being said in the room below us, but there were voices for sure. I was too scared to even move. Whoever was down there, I certainly didn’t want them, or him, or it to know that there were people sleeping above them. I prayed it was just burglars looking to steal something to sell for dope and and they’d leave quickly. It seemed like it went on for hours, but when I looked again at the bedside clock, it read 3.38, only five minutes had passed. What was happening?

The next morning I got up and went to work like I always did. During the whole drive I was just going over the previous night in my head, wondering about what had happened and what it could have been. Nothing was stolen, the room was as we left it and there’s no way it was a dream. I couldn’t have imagined it, just couldn’t have. 

I finished work and collected Amy from school. We had dinner, I helped her with her homework, Dan played some tea party, dolly stuff with her and when she went to bed we watched some TV. I told John about my experience from the night before. He said he’d not heard anything but confided in me that he thought the house must be haunted. 

“Stuff has been moved around now for a while” he said “and I’d always just thought it was your Mom, y’know, her house her rules kind of thing and thought nothing of it, but then it was stuff I knew she wouldn’t move, like how books were arranged on shelves, what way the potted plants faced and things like that”. We sat in silence for the rest of the night, but we held hands until we went to bed.

During the night I was awoken by Dan kicking and struggling in the bed. He seemed like he was trying to scream and was moving like he was wrestling something. I was so scared and I couldn’t make out if he was dreaming or what was going on. It was incredibly dark and I couldn’t see very well. I tried to turn on my bedside light and it didn’t work. I jumped out of bed and turn on the ceiling light and it wouldn’t go on either. The only light I could use was the flashlight on my phone.

Finally Dan starts screaming my name and tells me he’s been trying to wake me up for ages and he’d been screaming my name. Just then I saw Amy was standing in the doorway and she was petrified with fear. When she saw me she let out a scream ‘Tom!’ she shouted ‘Leave Dan alone!’

Creepy Ghost Stories

We darted out of the room, put on our coats and ran to the car. That night we stayed in a local motel, the night clerk gave us a funny look as we checked in, us all wearing our pyjamas but we weren’t in the mood to tell him what we were running from.

Dan told us he’d been awoken during the night and something had seized him and he’d been trying to fight it off. He said it was almost impossible, whatever he was fighting was invisible. I asked Amy why had she shouted ‘Tom!’ She had barely said a word since we ran out of the house and was still as white as a ghost. “Because he was fighting with Dan, I could see Tom on top of Dan, couldn’t you?”

The next day I couldn’t go to work, I called in sick. My boss wasn’t happy and accused me of lying so I changed tact and said, I’m sorry Geoff, it’s Tom’s birthday today and I just can’t face the world”. At that he said, sorry, he understood and wished me well for the day.

I called Mom and told her what had happened, she got her sister to bring her to our crumby hotel. That night she and I returned home, leaving Dan and Amy in the hotel.

We sat around for a while, we didn’t really know what we were aiming to do. I decided to make some tea and my Mom went for a shower. After 20 minutes or so I thought she was taking a little too long so I went to get her. The shower was running but she wasn’t in there, she was sitting on her bed, naked, soaking wet, with her back to me. I called her but got no answer.

I walked closer and saw over her shoulder that she was holding a photo of Tom. I touched her on the shoulder and she jerked quickly. ‘What am I doing here’? She asked, “last thing I remember I was getting into the shower…..I think, I think I heard Tom’s voice…”

That night neither of us got much sleep, but nothing happened. The next morning my mother had an idea 

“It must be that Tom has returned and that he’s trying to protect you ‘You remember how he was always jealous and protective when you got a new boyfriend. God, you’ve picked some losers over the years honey and he was always there to help pick up the pieces when your relationships went to shit’

“Dan’s a great man, I said “Amy loves him and all of you guys have accepted him, I love him, if it is Tom he should be able to see that…

“Maybe he doesn’t see it, maybe you need to tell him.” she said

….But How?

We wait until nightfall, it just didn’t seem right to do it during the day. We turned off the lights and set up in the living room. ‘Cover all the mirrors’ my mom said ‘it’s an Irish tradition, to make it easier for the spirits to travel.’ I did as I was told, other than having a pretty common Irish surname, this was the first time I could remember us ever doing anything because it was Irish other than drinking green beer on St Patrick’s Day. We lit however many candles we could find and waited.

Not too long after we both felt a chill in the room and some of the flames flickered. Yes, it could have been a draught, but I certainly felt a shiver go down my spine. I wasted no time.

Tom, Tom if that’s you please give us a sign. A photo of Dan and I taken on our wedding day flew across the room and smashed into the fireplace. Mom and I both screamed.

“Tom, please, Dan is a good man, I love you Tom and I miss you. You were a loving and caring brother and son and we all miss you dearly. You will always have a special place in all our hearts. Dan isn’t here to replace you. I love him and he loves me and Amy too and my heart is big enough to love you all. I wish you weren’t dead Tom, I wish you’d gotten your life in order and life had been kinder to you but please don’t take out any anger you have on Dan and me. You’re really scaring me and Mom and Amy.

Creepy Ghost Stories

Silence

Then, on the mantelpiece above the fire, Mom’s waterford crystal vase began to, it’s difficult to explain, it kind of started to vibrate….then more intensely until finally it flew off the mantelpiece and smashed against the opposite wall.

Mom stood up now….Tom Dwyer, you listen to me bucko. I’m your god-damn mother. I loved you Tom and I miss you every single day and god-damn it you broke my heart, we tried our best to help you and though we’re poor we always loved you and cared for you and you were my baby boy, I miss you so much”. She started to cry.

But Tom, you have to listen to your sister, Dan is not the bad guy here, you’re scaring all of us and he’s a good man who loves your sister and your niece and even an old, cranky bitch like me

Please Tom, I said, let us live in peace. We’ll always love you and for as long as any of us are alive your memory will be too.

The flames flickered and the room felt warmer all of a sudden. If it was Tom, he was gone.

 

This podcast originally appeared here