Jason watched the leaves scatter from his windshield, his mind absent. Minutes passed before he pushed a cassette mix tape into the radio. The deafening volume ripped through the speakers. He sped along the dark empty road, his silence ill at ease against the loud music.
Taking a last swig of stale beer, he threw his fifth empty bottle to the back of the truck. Irresponsibility is one of the top perks of being alone; his body was already broken and wrecked at 32. He looked into the mirror and saw a dishevelled man, face flushed red from a night of drinks. He had not always been this way. He had not always been alone.
Jason cleared his throat and breathed hard. If only he hadn’t…
Refusing to let the memory flow, he punched the storage compartment. His brute force threatened to leave a permanent dent, but something else caught his eye. The headlights blinked as it shone upon a shadowy figure.
What the bloody hell is that?
Drinking and fatigue misted his sight. The oddly shaped creature looked like neither man nor animal. He could not figure what it was, but he knew it was alive. His temple throbbed with an uneven rhythm, desperately calling for a stop to his aimless drive.
The car screeched to a stop. Empty glass bottles clanked in the back.
Jason fell to the front and hit the steering wheel, sounding the echoing horn. The crash rose above his music and hit him hard. The shadow crashed into his windshield as it caved in. Spinning off the surface, her clothes drag along a track of dark maroon. She landed with a violent thud onto the gravelly road.
Woken by the jolt, Jason’s mind grew lucid. The humanoid had started to take shape in his chaotic mind. He could see what it was. He could see what he had done.
Jason remembered his unkind moments spoiling for a fight and how his belligerent self never left even during his most sober moments. But murder? It was not something that he had courage for, nor in his blood. If he had killed someone, there is a price to pay.
But if he hadn’t…
Turning down the volume of his radio, he got down the truck, hoping for the best and fearing the worst. The woman was still. Jason got closer. His heart committed a dozen beats, fighting to keep its place within his ribs.
First, he saw the pool of blood. Then, he sicked by the roadside as he finally saw whom he had knocked over. Skin hung from her face and her eyes threatened to burst. He turned back and looked at the woman again. Her feet were mangled and blood flowed from between her legs. Her hands were clutched onto her stomach and he could see now under the streetlights. His breathing overtook the silence of the night.
She was… pregnant.
He had killed an unborn child.
Jason moved to the roadside again but this time he could not sick away the gut-wrenching feeling. Never in his life has he found himself more alone and afraid. A rightful birth was lost, because of what he did. His trembling legs barely carried him as he walked away and slid into the dim-lit truck. The weight of lost lives was heavier than his thirty-two years of worthless existence.
He punched the radio as it cowered and shushed. He sat, trying to collect his frantic thoughts in the stillness of the night.
Then, the stillness was gone. The chilly air grew warmer. It was as though there was someone, or something else with him. He had never been a receptive man, but he could feel its presence.
It breathed down his clammy neck and whispered words he could not understand. He could hear it grinding its teeth with rhythm that found pace with his heartbeat. He could not find it, but even within the dark blind spot of the streetlights, he well knew it was near. Its anger was untold, yet it intensely hovered in the air.
He knew exactly what it was. A ghost of the dead woman rose in his mind again as his tears began to obscure what little he had of his vision. His guilt had bore the unborn, and the unborn was here.
Jason felt it plunge its tiny fingers into his eyes which sunk quite quick into the deep sockets. It pulled out and one remained so it could see. He screamed as it reached for his face again. The invisible hand of his road kill tugged at his tongue, then teeth. His blood blended with snot and tears.
His victim manifested in the form of pure vengeance. Anger and vengeance was but a thread thinly snapped, like the tendon in Jason’s cheek. It gnawed with blunt forceful teeth. Those rotting teeth, he imagined with what is left of his consciousness.
He breathed and thought his last. This was it, my redemption for my wrongdoings.
He felt the living illusion plunge its hands into his stomach, fulfilling his well-deserved punishment with one final blow.
Pieces of flesh clung onto the windows, some sliding off with the rain that had begun to pour. Thick, warm blood dripped from the dingy truck ceiling.
“He was…” the young cop hesitated before continuing in a whisper, “Murdered. We have a missing man from the scene of the crime.”
“Not murder. Drugs,” an older man barked from the back of the car as he shook his head, holding up an empty bottle and a used syringe in his gloved hands.
“He did that… to himself?”
The trunk slammed shut with impatience.
“Seems that way.”
The rookie moved his eyes away from the windshield towards the paramedics. On their stretcher laid the sole survivor, shivering in fear and crying. Not over pain, but her lost child. He took one last look at what was left of the man in the seat, then threw a white cloth over the body, and it immediately turned red.