The cop vomited when he turned on his flashlight and looked inside the Lexus. When he gained his composure, he called his Sergeant.
“Sarge, you ain’t gonna believe this. I stopped a car that was speeding and weaving on Highway 35. I figured a DUI. But when I looked inside, I saw a freakin’ headless body in the driver’s seat with its hands on the steering wheel--as if it was driving the car. It was wearing a cop’s uniform. And if that ain’t weird enough, there’s a decapitated head in the passenger seat. I swear the damn thing smirked at me.”
“Forget it, Walsh.”
“Whadda ya mean?”
“Just walk away from it.”
“I don’t get it. This is the weirdest thing I ever saw. An obvious crime, and you want me to walk away? Shouldn’t I at least call a towing service?”
“You won’t have to. And if you did, they’d only laugh at you.”
“Sergeant Harding,” said Walsh, “I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but I don’t think this is the time to joke around. There’s a dead cop in the car's driver seat. He’s been decapitated. Besides our department, and the FBI, it sounds like something Homeland Security might be very interested in.”
“Walsh, under normal circumstances, I’d dispatch a whole bunch of patrol cars and detectives to the scene. But take my word for it, I’d only be wasting my time. Just get back into your patrol car and move on. It’s the Highway 35 Monster. It shows up every five years. Didn’t anybody ever tell you about it when you joined the force?”
“No. You mean it’s some kind of ghost?”
“That’s what some call it. By the way, how long have you been there?”
“About five minutes."
“Better leave right away. Wait. Look inside again to check the cop’s badge number. Then get the hell outta there. Once you leave, call in the number to me. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll get in your car and floor it.”
Walsh went back to the Lexus and checked the badge.
He jumped when a voice said, “You could have asked me for my badge number. I would’ve told you.”
“Who said that?” Walsh asked with a shaky voice.
“Me,” said the head. “Why don’t you get in the car and join us for a nice little drive to the cemetery.”
Walsh never ran so fast. Within seconds his car was doing 80.
Trembling all over, he kept saying to himself, “It didn’t happen….it didn’t happen…it didn’t happen.”
Then he remembered the Sergeant wanted the body’s badge number. He called and gave it.
“That badge used to belong to Bill Jones,” said Harding. “He disappeared five years ago. I’ll tell the Captain you found his, uh, body--or whatever it was. He'll understand. He believes in ghosts. Good thing you got out of there when you did.”
“The legend says if you stay long enough or answer any questions the head asks, you end up headless and driving the car five years from now. Did the head ask you any questions?”
“It said, 'Why don’t you get in the car and join us for a nice little drive to the cemetery.'”
“Hmm. I wonder what it asked Bill Jones. He musta stopped the same car five years ago when he disappeared. I guess he was dumb enough to answer.”
“Are there any other legends I should know about that you guys forgot to tell me when I joined the force?”
“Yeah. There’s one more. But it’s so off-the-wall and horrible, I don’t even want to mention it,” said Harding.
Walsh had such terrifying dreams that night and for weeks afterward, he was unable to perform his duties properly. He kept seeing his headless body in the Lexus, driving down Highway 35. Even worse, he saw himself talking to his decapitated head on the seat next to him. Visits to the police psychiatrist didn’t help.
Two months later, he resigned. Soon afterward, the nightmares stopped, and his anxieties dissipated.
But now he faced another problem: the economic turndown made jobs extremely difficult to find. Desperate to put beans on the table, Walsh felt extremely lucky to find a job selling balloons at the zoo. He couldn’t understand why hundreds of people hadn’t lined up to get the job, especially since it paid twenty dollars an hour plus commissions.
But then nobody ever told him the legend about the balloon seller and the ghost of the escaped gorilla.
Copyright: © 2009 Michael A. Kechula
Copyright: © 2009 Michael A. Kechula
----------------------------------Michael A. Kechula is a retired tech writer. His fiction has won first place in eight contests and placed in seven others. He’s also won Editor’s Choice awards four times. His stories have been published by 114 magazines and 30 anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, India, Scotland, and US. He’s authored a book of flash and micro-fiction stories: “A Full Deck of Zombies--61 Speculative Fiction Tales.” eBook available at http://www.booksforabuck.com/ and http://www.fictionwise.com/ Paperback available at http://www.amazon.com/.