Short Stories

Urban Folktale 1

So, I don’t have a lot of time this week – you might have noticed that, by now – so let me just tell you something quick. Brisk and unedited, but just to bring something to your attention:

Every culture has its mythos, be it youkai or fair folk or otherwise supernatural entities. Tapirs that devour dreams. Horses that drown. Such stories have been adrift in society for centuries, barely changed- what a thought! Who said humans would so advance while these creatures remain the same? Consider this story I tell you now, of a young man on a highway through the dead of Massachusetts. Nondescript. Unremarkable. A tad unlucky – his car has broken down at 1 am.

The new moon notably does not shine in the sky, as the phase is a misnomer and ought to be called ‘no moon’ instead.  His phone is dying. He has learned, this night, that an hour of flashlight function drains the battery like no other, and on such a dark, moonless night, light is more precious than water. In his fear, he doesn’t think to save it.

He has thought to seek help, of course. He has tried, but his phone yields not even a flicker of service, even though he’s walked fifteen minutes in every direction. He can’t roam much further than that before the dread drenches through his skin. It’s a quiet night on that road, without even a whisper of wind. There’s not much for such a fellow to do, stranded on land with a dying phone. Perhaps, he will curl up cold in his car and wait until morning. Surely someone will pass through by then.

Just then, the rumble of an engine buzzes through the air, raising the fine hairs along the back of this young man’s neck. The faint smell of exhaust carries over, and suddenly there, down the road that led to nothing but more darkness, twin lights spill across the pavement, bright enough to blind him. They don’t come any closer.

The driver could be an axe murderer, the young man tells himself. However, the driver could just as well be an ex-murderer, and he is just desperate enough to deal with an acquitted criminal for a ride back to civilization. Heart swelling, with useless phone in hand, the young man darts towards the headlights.

Say, have you heard of angler fish?


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