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The Thing in the Back Seat

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Jack checked the time again. 11:30 PM. His eyes felt heavy, all he wanted to do was sleep but the traffic he was currently in wouldn’t let him lie down and close his eyes for at least another 3 hours.

“About 150 more miles,” he said to no one in particular. He sighed before taking another sip of some pop he had picked up at a gas station a while back. He recoiled. It had already gone flat.

He decided to focus on the road again. A four-lane highway moving at the speed of molasses. He couldn’t believe his luck, if he had just taken a plane he could have been at home with his wife, sleeping. The thought of sleep only made him more tired. He sighed again. “I need something to entertain myself,” he thought aloud. “Falling asleep at the wheel would not be in my best interest.”

As he pressed the power button, the sound of the 80s filled the vehicle. He bit down a little on his cigarette and smiled as he hummed along to the tune. He almost forgot about his current situation. Almost. “Oh come on,” he yelled. The traffic had reached a complete standstill. It didn’t look like he was going anywhere anytime soon.

“What the hell is causing all this traffic,” he said as he slouched in his seat, taking the cigarette out of his mouth to replace it with a new one. “At least I have…” the music was suddenly replaced with silence. That was the last straw. He slammed his fist on the dashboard while letting out a swear. “Of all the time for it to stop working why did it have to be now,” he sighed, putting his palm to his forehead.

It was just him and the other cars now. He gazed at the vehicles around him. He watched the people inside, thinking to himself that everyone around him was in the same position he was in. He chuckled. As he looked from car to car he thought he saw something in one of his mirrors, movement? No it couldn’t have been. Jack was really paranoid about that kinda stuff. There couldn’t possibly be anyone in his car with him, he always checked everywhere for unwanted passengers before he left anywhere. He was just tired.

Traffic moved forward slightly before coming to a stop again. Jack pulled out his cellphone. No new messages. He slouched even farther, his foot still planted firmly onto the break. The fatigue was really getting to him, and if he didn’t find something to entertain him quick, he was going to fall asleep. He started thinking to himself about various things, but then, he saw it again.

This time for sure, in the interior mirror, he saw something move. He watched the mirror intently. There was a black mass moving up and down, slowly. Something was in the backseat of his car, but in the current light he couldn’t see it in its entirety. He was frozen in fear; he didn’t take his eyes off that mirror. He was too afraid to turn around, what if it found out he knew it was there. Did it want to harm him? Thoughts rushed through his head until he heard a sound that made him jump. Honking.

Traffic had moved forward again, in fact, it seemed to be moving at a pretty steady pace now. He pressed down on the gas, he looked back every so often to check on… it. As he drove he got a better look at it. It definitely wasn’t human. It was about five feet long, and covered in dense black matted down fur. He think he saw an arm or a leg on it, but he wasn’t sure. It hadn’t moved from its position at all. Was it asleep?

Jack had to think of some way to escape it. If it wished to harm him at all he would need to get away before that could happen. He could take the next exit and stop at a gas station or something. Run out of his vehicle, get inside and call the police. Yeah, that’s what he would do.

He gripped the steering wheel harder as he switched lanes. It was about a mile until the next exit. As he checked on his unwanted guest in the mirror, he saw something odd. Two white glowing disks lay in the middle of the black mass of hair.

Were those eyes? Jack thought. The thing moved a little. Jack held his breath. Had it noticed that he was looking? He focused on the road. Not much farther until he was off the highway and to safety. He occasionally glanced in the mirror time and time again. The thing was moving about in the back seat. Not anywhere in particular. It was like this was its first time moving and it was still getting used to it.

Jack turned. Finally he was off the highway. He sighed. He could see a town in the distance. The bright sign of a Seven Eleven met his gaze. He pushed down on the gas pedal. As he did so the thing in the back shot up. Jack gasped. A dark tendril emerged from the dark mass. It slowly moved from the back towards where he was sitting. He screamed, he couldn’t help it. He pushed harder on the gas.

He swerved into the Seven Eleven parking lot and leaped out of his vehicle. He nearly tripped on the sidewalk surrounding the small building. He looked back, a dark tendril smashed through his window, and the beast seemed to glide out effortlessly. He burst through the door. A woman at the counter greeted him but he just ran. He threw open another door and found himself in a bathroom.

He fell onto his knees in exhaustion. He crawled into a stall and vomited into a toilet. He tried to stand, but was too exhausted. Was he safe? He didn’t know. He sat for what seemed like hours, trying to regain his strength. He couldn’t think straight and was tired and afraid.

He struggled to his feet, and stretched. He was about to open the door, when he noticed something. It was quiet, very quiet. He knew he saw at least one other person besides the woman at the counter on his way in. Something was wrong. He slowly pushed open the door. Looking around he didn’t see a single other person in the entire building.

“H-hello?” he stuttered due to fear. He approached the window. He could see the silhouette of his car about 10 to 15 feet in front of him. As he peered, he saw something he wish he hadn’t. There was another silhouette by his car. No, there were multiple. His fears were realized when dozens of pairs of eyes appeared in front of him. He screamed and fell on his back and began crawling backward. The window smashed as hundreds of black tendrils filled the small room. Darkness crowded his vision as he breathed his last.

On June 13th, 2011, Jack Goodrich vanished without a trace. He was last seen leaving a business meeting far from his hometown. The only clue to his location was his truck which was left abandoned in front of a Seven Eleven. The only peculiarities being a smashed window and a few stray black hairs laying in the back seat. The search for Jack is still ongoing to this day.

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