The crisp autumn air is keeping me awake as I drive through the Appalachian Mountains. Bright colors of red, orange and yellow alert my eyes as the sun pierces through the tall tree tops. Winding roads cause tricks upon my vision as I see only past the curves that drop down deep into the gorge edged between two peaks. My imagination runs morbid as it takes me off the side of the edge plunging me to a near death. I wonder would anyone notice that I ran off the road. I also pondered whether I would be missed? Would my family rush to my bedside at the hospital to pray for a quick recovery? If I were to die on this cold autumn day, how would I be remembered? Would someone take my passion to help others and honor me with a scholarship in my name?
I snap myself out of this dooming thought as I notice the fog from the mountains becoming thick making my vision tougher. Startled by a semi truck that almost ran over the rear of my car I slowed down long enough that I was able to pull over to a lookout point allowing the truck to pass me. Taking in the beauty of the rich colors peaking through the fog refreshed my mind and back onto the winding roads I followed.
Slowly I approached the semi truck that had passed me earlier and I noticed a small flap. The opening reminded me of a deep freezer lid. As the truck hit the bumps in the road the door bounced making a clacking noise which definitely kept me awake. My concentration became focused on the opening and then suddenly a face appeared in hole and then disappeared. Taken back by what I had seen, I gasped for air and looked around to see that the fog was lifting from the meandering roads but the sun was beginning to drop beyond the tree lines. Once again my attention was brought to the opening of the truck back door as an arm reached out as if trying to grab onto life or reach for help. The face of a woman appeared quickly as her mouth formed the words, “help”. Her face bared bruises and a large gap across her forehead.
Reaching for my cell phone I fumbled picking it up to dial for emergency assistance. After dialing the lonely three numbers I hear a single beep. Looking down at my connection I discern that I was in a dead spot, no service.
Feared by the sight I began honking my car horn to alarm the truck driver that he needed to pull over. The driver either was ignoring me or just didn’t hear the sound of my calling. A head of the twisting road there was a path where I could pull alongside the truck. As I began pulling up to side of the truck I rolled down the window of the passenger side but was greeted with the barrel of a pistol pointing back at me. In panic I pushed my foot on the accelerator just as the sound of my rear window cracks I feel that the bullet embeds itself into the back of my chair missing penetrating into my skin by inches.
Looking into my rearview window with the hopes of only seeing the colors of fall following me I see the truck approaching my bumper. A nudge in the wrong direction would send me over the mountain side. I notice a billboard for the next exit with a gas station. Pulling into the exit I did not appreciate that was the longest two miles that I have ever driven. I was able to gain enough speed to bring myself ahead of the truck but seeing in my rearview mirror he was still following me. Racing into the gas station, I put my car in park and ran leaving the car with the keys inside. The cashier of the gas station felt my anxiety as I started to explain what I had seen as I pointed out the front window of the store.
The cashier grabbed his gun and went out to my car with me. When we approached my car and I pointed in the direction of where the truck should be pulling into the lot, the attendant asked me, “Where did you say the gun shot at you?” A look of confusion was embedded on his face as I looked back at my car away from the road I no longer saw a busted window where the gun had pierced. I frantically opened my passenger door to feel for where the bullet had encased itself into my back seat; however there was no hole to be found.
I looked away towards the road anticipating the semi truck to arrive. The time had elapsed at least fifteen minutes and the truck should have already arrived. Sweat dripping from my brow, I wiped my forehead and turned around.
“Isn’t it a beautiful fall sunset? The colors from the leaves are so hypnotizing. I hear some amazing stories from drivers traveling through these mountains” the cashier smiles and walks back into the store picking back up his tasks for the day.