A Darker Shade of Fear - Part II


Here - watch THIS!
May 24, 2001
The car was gaining speed but his foot wasn’t on the accelerator. The headlights cast long, white spears of light into the fog as the car sped wildly up the hill, nearly out of control – its driver trying desperately to slow the vehicle. 50… 60… 75… 90 mph and yet the car was still gaining speed. The woman in the seat next to him screamed his name in anger then in fear as she realized that he had absolutely no control of the car.

Telephone poles whizzed by in blurs, nearly lost in the murky vapor, only gray glimpses could be seen. He stood on the brakes but to no avail. The top of the hill was now only a scant half-mile away and he could see the glare of approaching headlights, illuminating the mist as if some offensively new, white sunrise was approaching. The car swerved violently as he reached through the steering wheel and tried to shut off the ignition - but the key only broke off in his hand. Horrified at topping the hill at nearly 100 mph, the driver and his hysterical passenger could only hold on.

The hilltop was now nearly upon them.

Suddenly, the approaching car topped the hill right in front of them, half of its shape into their lane. Screaming and cursing, beads of sweat pouring from his forehead, the driver swerved valiantly in an attempt to miss the car now barely 50 feet in front of him…

Both drivers narrowly missed each other, two hubcaps careening wildly off deeply, diving wheels, the squall of rubber on damp pavement actually sounding like more of a hiss as his car now topped the rise at nearly 105 mph.

The woman had her hands dug deeply into his right bicep, the nails sharp and painful, her grip wet with perspiration and terror, her voice stuck in her throat in a long, pitiful scream.

Then, the crest of the hill quickly passed beneath them and they hurtled on out into the darkness. The road dropped sharply below, away from Hell's ride, the motor revving and surging in an ugly yet helpless voice, banging against the rev limiter and causing an eerie ‘vrooooom-VROOM, vroooom-VROOM’ sound – over and over and over and - then

- it died.

Oddly, the only sound to be heard was silence, save for the wind passing over this plane with no wings…. Then, the nose of the car slowly began to tilt downward, it’s headlights vainly trying to illuminate an unseen road far below. And so, the driver along with his now silent partner in certain death, began their fall. In the corner of her eye, she saw a map float off the console – a map of Massachusetts that she could make out in the weird way it floated at her eye level. Had it not been for their seat belts, the driver and passenger would now be one with that map, floating, waiting for the impact about to come….

The falling car picked up speed now, the driver still holding a death grip on the wheel, the nose now plummeting straight in towards the tarmac. Closer… closer… the wind noise was now near deafening as it whistled a death dirge to their dying ears…

How he wished he had been a better husband. How she wished she had done more of what was right. Funny, isn’t it? Funny how when you finally know that your miserable, flimsy life is about to end – it's so unfairly ironic how you NOW know what you should have done…

Their screams filled their throats but no one heard them, just like the noise a tree falling in an empty forest makes that no one ever hears. Even though they knew they were floating, in just a nano-second the car would impact the pavement at over 90 mph – head-on – and their legs would be broken immediately from the inertia as they tried to brace themselves against the floorboard. Then, as the nose of the car was grotesquely crushed and driven back into the passenger compartment, their bodies would be torn free of the seat belts, their bones breaking and faces smashing into the metal/glass/plastic that was scant inches away. They had time to think of how painful it was going to be… maybe only for a moment, but still… it was going to hurt.

Or? Maybe they wouldn’t die immediately… maybe they would lay there with their broken bones and smashed faces and twisted limbs, drowning in their own blood, but still wishing they had done something a little different.

Falling. Crying for help.

Falling. Begging for another chance…

Falling. Knowing that the impact was imminent…

Screaming. Screaming. Screaming. Screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming…

He awoke sitting upright in his bed once more and screaming ”RUN!!!”.

Even though he was awake, the fear was still holding his terrified soul in its hands - and he was more afraid than ever before. Because just before he woke up; just before the car hit the pavement and end his dream-life, he saw IT again. That strange creature that always stalks him in his other dreams, the vile, contemptuous angry spirit with a hot, moist, stench-filled breath… the one that might lightly touch his leg in the dream just to let him know ‘ I’m still heeeeeere…’ or maybe exhale a warm breath upon his hand just before he could jerk it away, not ever seeing 'it', only knowing 'it' was there.


For him.

Terrified, he knew that somehow, 'it' wasn’t what it seemed.

Is it ever?

The sun was warm on Carl’s back as he leaned on the fender of his new Mach 1. Black and beautiful, he thought to himself. Having only bought the car a month ago with his money saved while in the Navy (and paying cash for it, thank you very much), it was the dream car he had always wanted. The Shaker hood was functional; the shifter light and firm; the seats comfortable and soft; and the sound – oh, that superb V-8 sound – coming from the exhaust was finer music to his ears than any of Beethoven’s symphonies. Even now, the car pulsed and throbbed, idling semi-quietly in the driveway of Carl’s country home, just down the road from Joe’s place. Carl took the quick route to home ownership – he bought the land and placed a well-built modular home on it, but spending almost as much on the garage as he did the house. In all fairness, the garage was a motorhead’s dream come true and almost as big as Joe’s.

Just then, he heard a familiar rumble approaching from the East - it was the sound of strong car being ran through its gears. As he squinted his eyes trying to shield them from the sun, he saw some glare dance off a long, sloping nose of an F-Body – Joe’s to be precise – an F-Body that was now slowing down. Carl grinned as Joe pulled his '97 SS up behind the Mach 1, revved the stroked mouse a couple of times before letting it idle a moment or two, then shutting it down.

Carl noticed a slightly different sound this time than before. Joe saw that look on his face and answered the unspoken question as he exited the car, closed the door (after making sure not to touch the paint with his bare hand) and stood their with his hands on his hips, neck deep in a well deserved 'Check-THIS-out' posture.

“It’s not the same motor you last saw in her, Carl. Look at this!”

Joe reached in through the open window and down by the kick panel on the driver’s side to pop the hood. Walking back around to the front as Carl ambled on over, Joe released the safety catch and slowly raised the hood.

As the light of day caught the engine compartment, Carl’s eyes saw some of the widest valve covers he had ever seen, with the name ‘Donovan 572’ boldly displayed in red print on the black paint. The twin throttle bodies were enormous, looking more like to lost thermos jugs attached to intake hoses that somehow miraculously snaked down the front/sides of the motor, disappearing somewhere below.

“Joe, you’ve got to be kidding! Talk about overkill! Isn’t this the same kind of set up Moss had in his toy-box at GM?”

Joe’s eyes twinkled.

“Well, it IS a little similar – but this is one step better.”

Carl waited for Joe to elaborate, knowing that Joe was dying to tell someone something.

“The difference here Carl, is that this one has more snort.”

Carl could only grin and shake his head as he peered beneath the hood at the elephant stomper, all the while thinking that this could indeed be a very wild ride. For some reason, the Modular 4.6 beneath the hood of his Mach 1 seemed like a go-kart mill more than a high performance motor when he looked at the ungodly valve cover width.
“Well Joe, I guess you’re right. Too much IS just about right…”, to which Joe just smiled and nodded in agreement.

Across town, in a dank, fetid smelling building that served as a garage of sorts, the driver of the Black Car was sleeping, the car waiting quietly and patiently off to one side, the hum of an old Kenmore fridge interrupting the silence as it cycled on and off, trying to keep the few beers and stale pizza cool. The Driver slept fitfully but no more so than usual, tossing here and there trying to find a comfortable spot that didn’t exist. Over on the other side of the room a naked woman with long, black hair slept on the couch, only her hips covered by an afghan her mom had made her before she headed to the Big City to be a model a lifetime ago. But this garage was her runway now although the applause was only in her mind...

They had met at the track one night a couple of years back, just before 9-11. They had been inseparable since, having endured the emotional upheaval of those horrifying events. Over and over they had sat and watched the replay of those shiny silver planes crossing an ocean-blue sky, filled with people like them – ordinary, everyday people with lives to live and dreams to strive for – and seeing those planes being steered straight into the sides of the World Trade Center Towers. Together they shuddered at the thought of those poor, helpless people who in their last moments saw the nose of the airliners heading straight at their floor, thinking surely to God that the planes would turn away.

But they didn’t and hell visited earth once more.

They saw the videos of the brave firefighters rushing to the scene, of the cops and EMS workers, the frightened citizens below… of the towers beginning to collapse in a huge, gray inverted mushroom cloud, knowing that thousands of innocent people were falling, tumbling, dying.

And they cried.

So now on this morning, as the dust speckles danced effortlessly in the sunbeams that were able to pierce the darkness within the garage, the two people slept. Dreams did not come this morning to them… at least not those kind of dreams. But on they slept…

“Good morning, Sally speaking. How may I help you?” she asked, cradling the phone on her shoulder as she shuffled some more of the never ending papers into a quasi-pile. She giggled and grinned, recognizing Dan’s voice, doing his best male-escort impersonation in her ear.

“Dan, you shouldn’t say those sorts of things! You never know who might be listening.”

“Yes, I am the owner but still – the secretary might hear you!”

“What?!!! I’ll be right there – THIS I have to see!”
Talk about being held on the edge of your seat. This is frikken great. You, my man, are a genious.
makes me think of a Gotham City, but where the underground is inhabited by motorheads and street racers....

wondering when a Supra or Skyline might make a appearance for a good challenge to the Dark Side ;)

Can't wait for Part 3. Keep up the Great work Raven. You Da man.