It took Sunny five miles to realize she'd seriously messed up this time. Her fingers clenching on the wheel, she ignored the woman sitting beside her and her increasingly crazy talk, praying inwardly that a town would soon appear in the distance.
Sunny had been driving with no specific goal in mind, happy with the world, the sun shining, the air dry. She had enough money for gas, meatless tacos for lunch and a motel room for that night. She'd been in a great mood, so when she'd noticed the car parked haphazardly on the side of the road and the woman bent over beside it, she'd automatically stopped to offer her help.
The woman, Mary she'd said her name was, had looked normal. Sure, her clothes were a little dirty, her hair matted with sweat. But hey, Sunny would have been in a state too if her car had died on her. Hmm, all right, not really. She'd probably have declared she needed to walk anyway to burn off all those highway tacos she'd been eating. Anyhow, that wasn't the issue at hand.
No, the problem was that Mary was clearly unstable.
A hissing sound echoed inside the car. Sunny looked to her right, and her eyes widened. "What the hell?" she gasped.
Mary's eyes had turned a weird color. It was almost as if her face had changed somehow too, as if her bones were too big for her skin.
"Are you okay?" Sunny heard herself ask.
The woman stared back at her. She didn't respond. She didn't even try to appear...normal. The car hit gravel, and Sunny swerved it back onto the road, breathing heavily when she realized she'd been so caught up with Mary's weird trance-like state she'd nearly gotten them into an accident.
"Stop the car."
I will not look at her. I will not...
"Don't worry," Sunny said, her forced joyous tone making her ears ache. "I'm sure the town isn't far."
"Stop the car."
"Really, we'll be fine. I'm sure there'll be a garage open and you can--"
"I said, stop the car!" Fingers grabbed Sunny's right hand and tugged so hard she could feel her skin break. She bit back a sob, fighting to keep control of the car, but nails started digging into her, the scent of blood soon permeating the small enclosed space.
"What are you doing?" she yelled.
One look at her neighbor and she knew she faced certain death if she stopped the car and let Mary get to her.
Sunny had no idea what the creature was, but she wasn't human. She couldn't be. Her features were grotesque, but that wasn't the worst of it. No, the sharp teeth were.
"Mmm, blood," Mary said, her voice sounding garbled. An enormous tongue slid out to lick her stretched lips, as if she was already imagining eating Sunny.
Sunny knew she only had a few vital seconds. She stared through the windshield and spotted a few straggly trees. One turn of the wheel was all it took for the car to change course. Hoping her seatbelt and airbag would work, she closed her eyes and prayed.
If it didn't work, at least, she'd get to see her parents again. That was the last thought she had before the car smashed headfirst into a tree.