The car sputtered and shook as it came to an almost silent stop. The engine had gone silent as the horn beeped loudly through the dark night. The orange gas light blinked mockingly at the woman behind the wheel. It was making fun of her; she knew it was making fun of her. Grabbing the black cellular phone on the passenger seat, she looked at it with full intention of calling somebody to come help her.
“Oh, what the hell?!”
The “no service” sign was mocking her at the same exact time. The horn beeped loudly as she slammed her head against it once again. The day was out to get her in general. She had arrived at all her classes late, and her son was sick with the flu. The babysitter was able to watch him as she went to her late night classes. Giving a heavy sigh, she lifted her head off the wheel to look out the window. Drops of water pooled on the windshield as rain started to fall in a pitter-patter pattern. She didn’t quite understand the message that today was telling her.
“I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed this morning,” her voice came out in a forced whisper.
Deciding for the worst, she grabbed the umbrella from underneath her seat before stepping out of the car. Opening it quickly, the woman grabbed her keychain to push on a part of it to give light to the darkened world. The small, hand-held flashlight barely gave enough light to be able to walk to the trunk of the vehicle. She moved the flashlight around to try and figure out her surroundings. It really didn’t help though. The trees had gotten taller and scarier. The wind howled as the rain smacked against her umbrella. The leaves rustled when the wind blew. She was a bit creeped out by the woods.
Careful of her footing, she managed a path to the trunk. Fumbling with the keys, the woman had dropped them upon finding the engine key to open the trunk.
“Shit. God damn it,” were the words that spewed from her mouth as she reached to grab them.
A cold hand touched cold dirt, but the dirt seemed warm to her as it was cold to touch. Her tongue stuck out as she tried to find them around and underneath the car. It took some kind of quality controlled concentration, since she couldn’t see the keys. Hand met metal as she quickly picked them off the ground. Careful this time of around, she found the right key and opened the trunk with a pop. Using the keychain light, she searched around for the silver flashlight that she knew was in the trunk. She never went anywhere without it.
Quickly grabbing it, she turned the flashlight on to search through the back of the vehicle. Her neutral expression turned into a frown as she realized that the car lacked suitable getting stuck on a back road items. The blanket was not in the trunk as it normally was until she remembered that it had been washed, because her son had gotten sick on it. Though, she did manage to spot another jacket. Taking the extra jacket, she closed the trunk lid with a slam and quickly made her way back to the front of the car. Her feet slipped a few times due to the rain and mud, but she made it safely inside the slightly warm vehicle. After catching her breath from being cold, she threw the extra jacket over the one she was wearing. Sure, she may have looked like the Marshmallow State Puff Man, but she really didn’t care. Both coats kept her warm, so she planned on it being that way. After a few minutes, she decided to do something as boredom set in for her.
The cell phone was held quite high in the air. Well, at least as high as the 5’1” young woman could hold a cell phone in the air. She twirled her umbrella around as the phone still held no signal. The rain had let up; however, she could plainly see that it was quite dark at the moment. Honestly, she didn’t even need her clock to tell the time of day. A breath left her lips as she moved her arm to a neutral position. This was becoming annoying. Deciding to return to the car, she started to turn around when her shoe slipped in the mud.
Groaning, she sat straight before looking at the small hill she had tumbled down. Rubbing her lower back, she sighed before pulling her knees to her chest. The babysitter was probably wondering where she was and what to do with her son. She wanted to go home and see him. A tear slipped down her cheek as she heard her phone beep. Looking at it, she gasped. The phone found signal at the bottom of the hill. Dialing a number, she chanted for the person to pick up on the other line.
“Mom, I know that you’re awake! Answer the damn phone!” was her response to the answering machine. “Fine, whatever, I’m stuck on a back road due to having no fuel for my car. I need a ride home. Just … listen to my message, mom. Please. Please …”
She flipped her phone shut as she realized her words were falling on deaf ears. Her mother was never going to call her back or come pick her up. She never did anything like that. Ever since she could do things for herself, the young woman would wash the clothes, clean the house, and even work a part time job with high school work on top of everything else. Looking at the hill, she decided to climb back up it. Might as well stay by the car and hope somebody came past. Putting the cell phone in her muddy pocket, she began her ascent to the road. It didn’t have guard rails. She didn’t know why either. Quite a lot of accidents happened on this back road. Foot slipping, she tumbled again down it. More mud covered her. Time to try once more.
The extra jacket was lying over the seat of the car as she tried to keep herself warm. The watery mud was keeping her quite cold, and she didn’t want to get the seats caked in mud from the rest of her clothing. She was about to doze off into dreamland when lights flashed in her rearview mirror. Gold eyes blinked at the lights before she came to her senses. Somebody was behind her.
“Oh god,” she whispered. “Oh god. Oh god. Please let it be somebody coming to help me.”
She slouched in her seat, her pessimistic thoughts getting the better of her; she really didn’t want to be murdered on a back road in the middle of nowhere. A knock was heard on the window as she saw a pale fist knocking on it. Deciding against her better judgment, the woman opened the door to look at her potential savior. With the vehicle’s lights shining on her muddy, blue car, she noticed blue eyes at first. Blue eyes light in color were hard to miss.
“Are you alright?”
The question didn’t register in her mind. Somebody was here to help her? Why would some stranger pull over to help her? Didn’t they have anything better to do? Her thoughts were brought back to reality as a familiar fist tapped against her forehead gently. Blinking, she stared at them. Obviously noticing that their gender was male, she stuttered a cough before speaking, “I-I’m fine.”
He scratched the back of his neck as if in a nervous gesture. Looking around the area, he pointed to his vehicle in hoping she would look that way and ask. Of course, she didn’t.
“Would you like a ride to the gas station?”
“T-That’d be n-nice. I-Isn’t it in the d-direction that you j-just came?”
“No big deal. Besides, don’t you want to get home?”
“I don’t have a gas container.”
“I have one.”
She bit her lower lip as she contemplated the stranger’s offer to help her. He was willing to drive to the gas station, and he was willing to lend her his gas canister. She was suspicious of him. Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. He noticed and gave a small smile. He wanted to help her.
“Listen, I realize that this seems kind of … okay, really suspicious; however, I really am trying to help.”
She looked out her windshield then looked at the time. It was really late, and she had to get home for her son. Even with her suspicious thoughts, her options were null after this point. Looking at him, she smiled slightly before speaking, “I’m Marina.”