* co-written by L. Uncapher *
The girl in the SUV watched her friend walk into his apartment, and then she slowly drove away.
Tanya waited impatiently for the SUV to move far enough ahead for her to pull into the street behind it. “Yeah, yeah,” she muttered. “Make sure he gets into his house. Is he gonna blow up if you just drive, for Pete’s sake?” She had had a really long day, and she just wanted to get home. Was that so much to ask?
She came to the next intersection and reluctantly stopped her car. Seriously, why were there so many stop-signs on this street? I want to go home, people! She glanced both ways and pulled out into the intersection; she would have gone faster, but the stupid SUV was still driving as though it were afraid to get anywhere. “Move it, lady!” Tanya barked, scowling. “Why does everything have to be so difficult?”
The car jolted suddenly, startling her. “What the hell?” she asked, not knowing if she should be angry or alarmed. Had someone hit her? She looked all around her. The only car – the only sign of life, really – was the SUV ahead of her. The car jolted again, and this time she heard a thump that definitely came from behind her.
“What’s going on!” She pulled the car over to the curb and stopped. Had she hit someone? She hadn’t seen anyone. Had a dog or something run out from a house? “Don’t tell me I hit an animal!” she begged, opening the door and stepping into the street. She walked to the back of the car.
Nothing was there.
Bending down, she looked under the car. Still nothing.
Frowning in bewilderment, Tanya scanned the neighbourhood – no cars, no pedestrians, nothing. If it had been an animal, it must have run away. Not knowing what else to do, she climbed back into the car and drove on.
At the next intersection, she heard the thump again, and the car jolted so violently that she swerved a little bit.
“What the hell?” she cried. She quickly parked and jumped out, running to the back of the car. Nothing seemed to have hit it or landed on it; no one was in sight. She felt like crying. “I don’t understand,” she complained, blinking back tears. It had been a really long day. “I just want to go home.”
Thump-thump! She leapt back from the car. The sound had come from the trunk.
How could anything be in the trunk? It must be some animal, she thought. But how could it get in there?
Not knowing if it was a good idea or a bad idea, she pulled the lever that opened the trunk. It opened a few inches. She watched warily for a moment, waiting for something to burst out of it, but nothing happened. If it’s an animal, she thought. Then it’s been trapped in there for hours. It must be scared to death.
She crept tentatively to the back of the car and lifted the trunk lid. If it was a cat, it would probably scratch her to pieces.
The trunk-lid slid upward, and she inclined her head just enough to see inside.
It was empty.
More baffled than before, Tanya stepped closer to the car and leaned into the trunk. Even in the back, which was shrouded in shadows, there was no sign that anything had ever been in the trunk. She stared at the empty space. Then what made that ungodly noise?
Out of the shadows of the trunk sprang a large, coiling black arm. Before she could take a breath to scream, it grabbed Tanya and pulled her into the trunk.
The car jolted and thumped for a few seconds. Then, as though pushed by an unseen hand, the trunk lid closed with a click.