Random Acts of Kindness

This is a short story based on the picture below, found here: http://nighthag.hubpages.com/hub/Creative-writing-exerices-and-writing-prompts-for-the-fiction-writer writing prompt 2

I feel like this is a familiar trope, but stick with me to the end and tell me your thoughts.

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I’m not the type to pick up the stranded on the side of the road. We’ve all heard the stories. In this day and age there are no more nice people or random acts of kindness. I’m not really sure what got into me when I stopped for the kid.

Rural Ohio isn’t a great place for a car to break down. Chances are a heard of cows would stroll past before a car. As I drove down state route 55 in the quiet early morning, hours before the sun would come up, the rain dumped down in buckets. The type of rain that renders wipers useless so you have to lean forward and squint just to stay on the road. Luckily, I slowed down to take a blind turn when I spotted her. She waved me down with a flashlight in one hand and the other held up like I was a cop. The bright yellow slicker she wore did little to stop the rain from soaking her to the core.

“Do you have a phone I can borrow?” She yelled through the downpour after I rolled down the window.

“Yeah, come in and get out of the rain.”

She shook her head and stepped back. I couldn’t blame her, she was a young woman and I was an old guy in a semi. I know what people thought about truckers.

“I don’t want my phone to get wet, kid.”

We stared at each other at an impasse. Rain continued to beat down. Even in the dark I could see her skin was smooth and fair, her eyes were thin slits with blacked out pupils and dark, rain soaked hair came down past her perky little breasts. I must have lingered on the later because she wrapped her coat tighter around herself. I’m not a pervert, but I’m still a man.

“Can you maybe just call a tow truck for me?”

“You gotta number?”

“No, I was just going to look up one on your phone.”

“Sweetheart, I barely have a cell phone I don’t have all the fancy bells and whistles.”

Rain pooled and drained down her hood and flowed onto the fat, navy green messenger bag strapped across her body.

“What about 411?” she asked.

“Who? Does that cost money?”

I was really beginning to regret my decision. What the hell was this girl doing out here this late anyway? I swear to God If I find out she died twenty years ago or some crap, I’m was gonna be really freaking ticked.

“I’m not sure. I don’t really have any other options.”

It was then I noticed her swollen belly, not in the “I had too much for supper” sort of way, more like the “I didn’t listen to my mom when she said all boys wanted one thing” sort of way.

“Ah, shit. What are you like eighteen?”

She didn’t answer but subconsciously put a hand to her stomach.

“I’m not sure what to tell you kid. I got stops to make and every second wasted is money.”

She gnawed on her lip and I could practically smell the rubber burning as her wheels turned.

“How close is the nearest gas station?”

“Thirty miles, I don’t recommend hoofing it, not in your condition. Not in this weather.”

She didn’t say anything, but looked back to her little broke down car. I couldn’t see much because these back roads didn’t have street lamps like the city, but I could see a small amount of smoke fading into the night from her engine.

“You know anything about cars?”

“Nope, and I don’t like getting rained on.”

She fiddled with the strap of her bag and pulled it closer.

“Listen, kid. Either get in or don’t. I can tell you I’m not going to hurt you, but you are just going to have to trust me.”

Why kind of man would take advantage of knocked up kid anyway? I must have looked worse than I thought. Through a break in the storm, when just the rain banged away her stomach grumbled almost as loud the thunder just had. Her face twisted with pain.

“I even have food,” I sounded like a creep, luring young girls into my cab. I took out the sleeve of crackers from the glovebox. I shouldn’t have cared. I should have just kept driving, but deep down we are all humans and we have to look out for each other.

After casting one last glance back to her car, she opened my passenger door. I wanted to extend a hand to help her up but I didn’t want her to think I was trying anything funny. Something told me she had seen her fair share of hard knocks lately.

“Thanks.” Her right hand stayed in her pocket, I imagined on some sort of pepper spray or weapon. She was pressed as close to the door as possible.

“Don’t worry Kid, I’m not gonna touch ya. We’ll get you to the gas station and you’ll be on your way.”

She nodded and stared out the window. Her stomach rumbled loudly again and she wrapped her free arm around herself.

“Here.” I held up the snack but she just turned her head away. Her face held a greenish tinge the dim glow of the cab lighting.

“You okay?”

She nodded, but I wasn’t convinced.

We drove about five more minutes before she made a faint moaning noise. A lot of first-timers get jostled around a bit and her condition probably amplified it.

“You need me to pull over?” her stomach gurgled as she nodded again.

The heavy semi took a minute to roll to a stop, but she was out before then. Her heaves were covered by the hiss of the brakes locking into place, but at least it wasn’t pouring anymore. I looked away, I could barely handle the sounds. She went at it a while, a lot longer than I thought a little thing like that could. There was a lot of build up too, like when a cat works up a hair ball.

After a moment, she stumbled back to the truck.

“Sorry about the bumps, we will be there soon-” Something caught my attention where she had just been standing. I peered over her shoulder as she pulled herself back in. Not that I wanted to examine the contents of her stomach but I spotted something out of place.  The gelatinous mound was dark and slippery and the sheer quantity caused it to slip slowly down the angled ditch, like a snail crawling away. Intermixed with the heavy liquid were chunks of bright white. Familiar looking as they were I couldn’t  place them.

Her stomach growled again. “I’m very hungry.”

She pulled back her hood and I was surprised to see she was actually a blonde because her ends had looked so much darker in the rain. Except it wasn’t the rain that made her hair dark. It was something else. The same substance that stained her tee-shirt underneath and the same substance she just threw up.

I realized what the white chunks were, it seemed so clear as she crawled toward me. They were bones.

I scooted back against the door. Without her jacket I could see now her stomach didn’t pop out anymore, it caved in and rumbled a lot louder.

“I’m sorry about this. I’m just very hungry.”

The kid’s mouth opened revealing about two rows too many of sharp, tiny teeth. Just when I didn’t think she couldn’t open any further, her jaw unhinged itself with a loud crack. It hung at an unnatural angle and suddenly my insides felt like coming up.  Her slitted eyes curved upward towards her temples and her lids blinked like a camera shutter. Her pale, young skin transformed into taut, greasy film like over cooked turkey.  Her tongue slid out of the cavern that was her mouth, a flicking, split snake’s tongue. The forked end danced across her teeth as a mucusy strand of drool spilled over the edge of her lips.

She lunged at me. I clenched my eyes shut and braced for impact.

Good thing I was always prepared.

I squinted one eye open. Her face hung an inch from mine, frozen and confused. The spear I kept hidden in the crack between my seat and the center console had entered through her now very empty gut, traveled up her chest and exited through the bottom jaw, making a brief and bloody appearance before disappearing again into her skull.

Her eyes fluttered a moment before rolling to the back of her head.

Of course it was pouring out again as I dragged her body around to the back of the truck. The rain made her slick so I had to step on her face to pull my spear back out. Her empty eyes watched me. Knowing she wouldn’t mind, I wiped off my weapon on her jacket.

The metal back door squealed open and a puff of fog rolled out as the refrigerated air mixed with the humid summer. I tossed her body on top of the others. They stacked neatly like the daily catch at fish market, and started to smell that way too.

“No good deed goes unpunished.” I told myself as the truck lurched forward, eager to make the next appointment.

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