Posted in Feature Short Story

The Highway of Regret

It wasn’t a good time to speak up. Maddie knew he was capable of just about anything, but she didn’t care anymore. The fear left her body, and consequence became a stranger. Two hours later, her feet  are burning and she’s walking down the highway with just the shirt on her back. She now feels her timing could have been better. The sun was going to set soon and she was a long way from home. She hadn’t eaten in hours, and she’s thirsty. Out of desperation, she stuck out her thumb to hitch hike. Cars zoom by, and Maddie gets worried that no one will stop, but someone finally pulled over.

It was an old lady. Maddie felt it was safe to get in.

The lady smiled. “Hi. This has to be the craziest thing I’ve ever done. Do you drive?”

Maddie leans down and looks through the passenger window. “Yes. I can drive.”

“God has answered my prayers. I didn’t know how I was going to make it on this long road. Can you drive while I take a nap?”

“Sure, if you are comfortable with that.”

“I don’t have a choice. I’m exhausted and I need to be in Pennsylvania tonight.”

Maddie smiled. “We can get there in three hours.”

The lady pats her neck with a handkerchief.  “Good.”

“I’m sorry, but do you have any food or water?”

“Oh yes! Yes. Check the trunk. I have water bottles in a cooler and I made chicken salad sandwiches for the road.”

“Thanks so much!” Maddie goes to the trunk and grabs two water bottles and a sandwich.

The old lady slides to the passenger side of the old car. Maddie walks to the driver’s side and gets in and drives. The old lady is fast asleep. Maddie is listening to the radio and drinking her water. An hour later, she hears the sounds of police sirens and she moves over to the far right lane. The police move over behind her. Maddie pulls over and stops the car. One of the police officers walk up to her side of the car.

Maddie taps the old lady on the shoulder.  “Uh. Excuse me Miss. The police…”

The officer knocks on the window hard. Maddie is startled and finds the button to wind the window down.

The officer give Maddie a serious look. “Is this your car Miss?”

“No. It’s hers. I’ve been trying to wake her up.”

“Who is she?”

“Uh. I don’t know.”

The other officer reaches through the open passenger window and checks the old lady’s pulse.

He shakes his head. “She’s dead.”

Maddie’s heart sunk.