Did you know, every fifteen minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic collision? I didn't. But, there's something more to the stupidity of drinking and driving... something absolutely beautiful up until that last terrifying moment. I'm a witness to that.
It was around my high school years. Ahh, high school. Gotta love it: the fun, the parties, the cars, and especially… the chicks. I wasn’t so into it before, since I was raised as one of those “straight-edge” kids who actually do well in school and study too hard to party it up. But, finally, it was my senior year, and I didn’t need to try as hard anymore. My parents trusted me enough, since I’ve always been their perfect little son from the day I was born, and finally unhooked their protective leash to let me mess around for a little bit. Well, not after they gave me the long talks about drugs, sex, and alcohol beforehand in which I had to grit my teeth and patiently sit through. Did I listen? Not at all. But they didn’t have to know that, did they?
That year, my buddy Alex invited me to one of his biggest events of the semester. He grew up in a wealthy family, and because he was so wealthy, he had a mansion. I remember when we were little I used to walk around that gigantic house with him while he showed me all the secret passage ways. I don’t even know how we became such good friends in the first place; we met each other at a park, and it just happened, I guess. Anyway, Alex hosted most of his parties whenever his parents had their over-sea business trips, which was often. That’s probably why he was one of the most popular guys on campus. Now that I was “free,” so to speak, I could finally make up for all the invites I had to turn down before. After school that Friday, Alex took me home with him to help set up before everyone arrived.
“God, man, I’m so happy you can actually come! I’ve dreamed of this day for the longest time,” he said with a laugh.
“I know, right? It’s kind of ridiculous,” I replied sheepishly.
“You know there’s gonna be alcohol and weed there, right?”
“Of course. Don’t all parties?” I droned sarcastically with a smile.
“I’m just sayin’. I know how your parents are…” he replied carefully.
“Thanks anyways. I’ll have you to look after me if I get totally wasted.” I chuckled a little at my hypothetical situation, but Alex’s face looked worried.
“Of course I would, man. But I know you haven’t really got drunk or anything before, and many first-timers in this area overdo it sometimes.” He paused as we turned into his driveway and put the car in park. Then, he turned to me and looked into my eyes. “You know I’ve been the drunken one a lot of the times, right? So you would believe me. Stop everything and go home if you spot the Lady of the Not-So-Sober; otherwise, you’re in terrible danger.”
“Lady of the…- is this like a creepy legend from those hardcore parties or something?” I asked.
“Kind of. But this one is legit, I swear on my life. She manipulates her body to how the person desires to see her. You’ll want to be with her, hang around her, have a good time… you know. Almost like a love at first sight kind of thing. After a while, she leads you to do something dangerous. She plays with your mind and makes you do horrible things when you don’t even realize it… all just to impress her.” He went silent for a while with a distant, sad look on his face. “People died because of her, man. Suicides, murders... everything.”
“Ummm, okay?” I say, chuckling nervously from the strangeness of it all. I would have brushed it off as some stupid high school story if Alex hadn’t been sounding so serious while giving me this look of absolute terror. It was just a story, right? I cringed from his gaze. The movement must have snapped him out of his trance because he began to get out of the car. “W-Wait!”
“Yeah?” Alex asked, leaning on the top of the door frame as he stuck his head into the car again.
“How do you know it’s her? How can you tell?”
He answered creepily as he slowly strung out each set of words, “You just won’t be able to resist her.” Alex kept his face serious and chills crawled up my back. I was actually kind of scared of what would go down at the party, being the naïve teenager I was. That was until my friend started snickering. Damn, I’d totally forgot how good his acting skills were. Alex finally lost it and fell into a fit of laughter. “Dude! Your face! It was totally priceless. Your eyes got so big!”
“Hey! That’s not funny!” I said, smiling with embarrassment as I jumped out of the car and chased him up to the house.
Everyone showed up around six or eight. Many came and went as they pleased, but even so, the mansion was filled to capacity. Almost the whole senior class was partying it up. Some of our other friends came to join us, who also invited their own friends to come along. The music was blaring, the alcohol flowing, the food being munched, the party games being played. Hot girls either danced on coffee tables or totally ate the faces off guys and other girls in the depths of the house. The numerous bedrooms were starting to fill up with people. And me? Well, I got a hold of a beer when Alex and I first stepped though the door. Many hours later, I was in the middle of a large couch surrounded by tons of chicks; I was too wasted to even count.
I think it was around midnight when the final group of people poured into the house that night. That’s when I saw her, the perfect girl. She had long brown flowing hair, sun-kissed skin, a body like a super model in a magazine. And her eyes were the most unique blue I had ever seen. After a while of staring, I’d realized she was looking right at me. Startled, I bolted up and stumbled right over to her. The barely sober part my mind screamed, “What the hell are you doing? You look like an idiot!” I guess I didn’t care though.
“Welcome to the party… of the year!” I managed though drunken lips. “How about I get you a drink, huh?”
The girl smiled at me and chuckled, “Thanks.”
“Right this way…?” I asked slowly, waiting for some identification.
“Lina. My name is Lina.”
“Felix. Nice to make your acquaintance,” I bowed clumsily, making her giggle again before clobbering towards the kitchen with her.
We ended up keeping each other’s company for the rest of the night. She told me about her favorite things, which ended up being almost all of my favorite things. We also laughed at each other’s jokes and flirted here and there. I found out she was new in the area and wanted to look around the neighborhood; I told her I could be her guide. It began getting smoky in the rooms from the druggies, so I suggested we drive around the neighborhood to get some fresh air and explore the area for her.
“Alex, can I borrow the car?” I asked him after I dragged Lina around the house with me to search for him. We found him in a room reserved for a large wooden pool table. Apparently, people were placing bets on the champion who won the game of poke-the-ball-with-a-stick. I never really go the concept of the game growing up. Alex looked up at me.
“Where’re you going?”
“Just around the neighborhood,” I replied with the calmest and straightest face I could manage at the time.
Alex started at me for a while before asking, “Are you drunk?”
“Nope.” I could hear Lina trying to suppress some of her ringing laughter.
“Are you sure?”
“Positively not drunk. Scouts honor,” I said, holding up my right hand and crossing my fingers behind my back with the other.
He stared at me, and then looked over my shoulder to smile at someone who had probably just arrived behind me. Alex dug into his pocket and tossed me the keys. “Don’t get anything on the seats, man,” he said with a wink and a grin.
I caught the key ring clumsily on my chest before leaping out of the room pulling Lina by the hand. “Thanks, bro!”
We cruised down the various roads of the neighborhood, windows down, music loud, but not deafening. My head started buzzing a little from the start of a major headache. Looking over next to me, Lina was gazing out the car and weaving her hand through the passing air.
“Have you ever imagined you’re driving somewhere beautiful?” Lina asked suddenly, reaching over for a moment to turn the music down, “Like a forest or through the ocean or something?”
“Uh, no, not really…” I replied. “Why?”
“You should try it,” Lina closed her eyes. “Drive along a beach. Feel the cold, salty wind hitting you in the face, and the beating sun on your back. Skim your feet though the lukewarm water. Listen to the wave’s crash, and let yourself go…”
Her voice was soothing like a spell. It passed thickly though my mind as I soaked up each and every word. My headache began to fade. I actually wanted to close my eyes, to look away from the grey cement road and see the beautiful beach she described. Her voice kept flowing with vivid descriptions: of the water that reminded me of her eyes, the dolphins that leapt to greet the sun, and the clouds that passed which made it look like God painted the sky. Then…I did see it. It was beautiful. It was better than every beach in the world combined together. I increased my speed, and I was flying across the sand, then the water. Birds sped past me, squawking to each other. I laughed, and Lina laughed with me. I was happy and alive and breathing. Nothing could stop me. I felt truly and utterly free at that moment.
Suddenly, there was a loud bang and a sickening crack; we both lurched, coming to a stop. “Must’ve hit a stupid seagull,” I mumbled. My eyes fluttered open to a dark, splattered liquid on my cracked front windshield. I was back on the road a few blocks away from Alex’s mansion. “Wh-Wha…?” I asked, confused. I looked next to me to see Lina, who was surprisingly still perfect in every way, except the smile she gave me was different from the ones before. Chills prickled at my back. My voice wavered again as her smile grew bigger and wider, sharp teeth flashing and morphing. Her skin paled, and she lost some of her hair. Fingernails grew to ragged claws. Gleaming razors protruded from her mouth which by that time had almost split her head in half. The Lady.
The creature’s face pulled back and snake eyes pierced my soul; those same beautiful eyes I now grow to fear. It cackled with a voice that felt like nails on chalkboard that grew louder as she crept towards me. I screamed and backed up against the car door, unable to find the handle. One of her long claws grasped my thigh before an eerie smoke filled the car, and it disappeared from sight. I coughed through the poison, tears filling and flowing out of my blinking eyes as I looked towards the front of the car. It was just a bad dream. Just a bad dream. But the pinpricks of her claws through my jeans still lingered. The gas settled and I tried to focus on the splatter on my window again. A bright light from outside turned on, and the liquid turned a deep red. I shuddered, “Shit.”
I opened my door slowly, breathing heavily as I looked at the ground beneath me so I could safely place my feet down. A fresh flow of what I finally recognized as blood appeared near my foot, and I jumped away. Failing to keep my balance, my body met concrete, and my head burst with pain. I groaned before looking up ahead of me to spot another body that lay on the ground with me a ways away. His clothes looked really familiar, but my mind was too fuzzy to remember correctly. I thought he was just a passed out drunk at the time, not noticing before that he was the source of the trail of blood. Crawling on my hands and knees, I made my way towards him. “Hey, man, wake up,” I called to him. He didn’t move. I eventually got close enough to touch him. Why couldn’t I recognize him? “Hey!” I tried again, turning him over, “Wake uh-…”
I stared long and hard at the bloody face I uncovered, not being able to finish my sentence. I was in a horrible nightmare then, or so I thought. “No. No no no!” I pinched myself, smacked myself hard in the face. Nothing. It was all real. Everything was real. I looked down at my hands to see more red. Tears flooded my eyes again quickly as I cried long and hard, hugging the body of my best friend. Alex. The familiar clothes and face were clear as crystal. People at the party said he went looking for me and that he was very worried. He had assumed I was going to have some fun with the chicks that were smiling and standing behind me when I asked for the car. No one had seen or ever heard of Lina.
Part of me died when the paramedics came and pronounced him dead; the rest of me was filled with sadness. I became depressed, and after I did my time in a torturous jailcell, I locked myself away in my bedroom everyday. My family didn’t trust me anymore, and I’m pretty sure they were on the edge of disowning me since I ruined the family name. I never went back to school, knowing all the judgmental glares would haunt me for the rest of my life. Guilt was tearing me apart, and it still is. I can’t stop thinking about his pale, bloodied face. I can’t sleep, and if I do I have nightmares about that creature, the crash, and all that blood; then I wake up with a pounding headache. I can’t look into mirrors anymore without fear of meeting a certain pair of piercing blue eyes. I hear the scratchy, demonic laugh constantly. Even now, no matter what I do to cover my ears, it's always there. My life is wrong. It’s all turned upside down, and I can’t do anything about it. I wish I had listened to them, my parents. Then, I wouldn’t have even taken a sip of alcohol. Then, I wouldn’t have met that creature and taken it for a drive. Then, Alex wouldn’t be dead, and my life would be perfect like before. I couldn’t do anything about it then, and I can’t do anything about it now. Sorry doesn’t bring people back to life. No matter how many times I say it, it doesn’t change anything. Alex is dead, and that horrible, taunting laugh will continue to torture me until the day I die.
So that, Doctor, is why I'm here. Now do you have anymore questions to ask me, or can I go back to my room?