Runaway Short

 The sun shone across the open desert.  The sky lacking of clouds, pure blue color painted completely across the canvas.  The sun's rays beat down upon the hard pan, cracks webbing the surface.  It reflected off of the rock outcrops strewn across the barrens, setting them ablaze with hot light.  It shimmered off of the highway running through the wasteland straight as an arrow, causing heat waves to rise up from the asphalt as it cooked.  The increasing brightness of the suns power, as it rose, hardly gave notice to the red convertible tearing down the highway as it approached its apex.
     The red convertible streaked down the highway, a smear to the otherwise peaceful picture. Tires eating up the distance between nothing and nothing.  Dust on the sides of the highway puffing away from the car as it streamed past.  The yellow reflectors running down the middle of the road were a blur, turning into a solid line. 
     Frank sat in the drivers seat of the car, foot pressed down to the floor on the accelerator.  The wind from the speed slipped around the windshield and made crazy tangles with his hair.  The sun above was burning on his skin, but he didn't even notice.  He looked down at the speedometer the needle bouncing just after ninety.  He was disappointed that most cars now days were governed not to reach top speed.  This was the only time in his life he found himself caring about that, and  it might cost him his life.  
     He could hear no sounds other than the hum of the motor, this sounding pretty strained as it was, and the whoosh of the wind all around him.  The latter being so loud he couldn't here himself think, and that was good.  His eyes bounced from the speedometer to the rear-view, frantically searching for any sign of his mistake.  It was a good thing the highway was so straight here, he was not paying any real attention to the forward direction of the car, only caring about what was behind.  
     He had been driving on this highway since late last night.  He didn't know where he was going only that he had to go.  It wasn't a decision he made really, it was more of a gut reaction.  After what happened last night; and what did happen last night his brain complained, trying to make sense of it.  He shook his head trying to clear the confusion.  Julie had been there with him, and then, but no.  No, he wouldn't think about this, he couldn't risk it.  Sweat popped out on his brow, but not from the sweltering sun, the sweat came from the horror within him.  His hands started shaking then, making it hard to grip the wheel. His eyes flicked to the rear-view mirror again, staring intently at the constantly evaporating highway behind him.  

     There had to be a way for him to fix this, if he could just get to his colleagues, maybe Sam would know what went wrong and could help him to fix this, this...  He couldn't put a thought around it.  He never intended this to happen, how could he, it was like something from a nightmare.  He tried to rope his mind in and concentrate on normal things.  Things like driving, and the car, things that were founded in reality.  Because that was the key you see, always had to keep your mind clear. Always. Then his mind thought about Julie again and he clenched his eyes closed, trying to fight back tears.
     When he opened his eyes again he saw the road, passing under the car in a blur. There was a huge blue sign approaching ahead to his left that read, Las Vegas 100 miles.  Almost there, if he kept this pace he just might make it.  If he could talk to Sam he might be able to reverse this before it got too big to handle.  He tried again not to think about that, it was a constant battle.  If this thing got out of control it would be too much for anyone to stop.  He was so stupid, he thought, stupid and ashamed.  
     "Stupid, stupid, stupid," he cried out.  His voice muffled by the wind.  He slamed his hand against the steering wheel, and felt a tear creep up into his right eye and swim there, not quite falling out and running down his face.  
     "Frank," a voice as clear as day sounded in his head.
     His blood immediately went cold, shivers running up his spine despite the temperature being well over one-hundred.  This voice wasn't affected by the roaring sound of the wind, and it also didn't come from somewhere, it seemed to come from everywhere.  
     "Shit," he shouted, voice cracking like a adolescent boy.  "I am on the highway, I am driving, its noon, I am not hearing this!" The voice continued, quiet but clear, it sounded like it belonged to a small girl, one he knew all too well. 
     "Frank, why won't you play with me, don't you want to play?"  
     He tried his best to ignore the pleading voice.  No, no, no he kept thinking in his head.  He had to be strong, had to ignore the voice.  He tried to wrench on the radio, turning the dial as loud as it would go, but there was no music.  No sound at all, the radio was dead.  He slammed both his hands against the steering wheel shouting. 
     "No, no ,no, no way.  I am not listening,"  spittle flying from his lips as he repeated the words.
     Then there was silence.  A silence so deep and infinite that it chilled him even more. He could no longer hear the wind rushing by, no longer hear the hum of the convertibles motor.
     "Frank, stop being mean, don't be a baddie and play with me, I love you," the voice finished almost sounding sad.  
     "I love you too," he said, before he realized it.  He shook his head again trying to regain control, trying to forget all this, this, craziness.  He looked out down the road in front of him, nothing crazy.  Just the road and the barren scenery speeding past.  He turned his head briefly toward the drivers side of the car.  All he could see was the ground rushing by, a blur from the speed of the car.  Small little mounts of rocks flew by and he even saw a few cacti, off in the distance.  Everything normal there.
     He thought briefly that it was just his fatigue.  He had been driving since last night not stopping once he filled the convertibles tank up.  It could be he was just tired, surely it couldn't have accumulated that much power since last night.  He let out a long sigh and leaned back into the convertibles seat.  This was all just a hallucination, he would make it to his lab, he would make it in time to tell Sam about his horrible mistake.
     He barked a hesitant and weak laugh.  Trying to convince himself that everything was OK.  He blinked his eyes, the tear now leaking out and trailing down his face, and looked into the review mirror again. What he saw stopped his heart in his chest and caught the breath in his lungs.
     In the back seat of his red convertible sat a little girl.  She wore a red striped sun dress and her hair was pulled back behind her ears into two tight little pig tails.  She was smiling, the smile widening out just too far on either side of her face.  Her eyes were black, not just the pupil but the whole entire eye.  She sat there with her tiny hands folded into her lap, smiling that inhuman smile.  
     He was paralyzed with fear.  His hands gripped tighter on the steering wheel, he could feel the nails pressing into the palms of his hands around the thin wood wheel.  He didn't dare move, couldn't move.  All he could do was stare at the figure in the mirror.  He started to scream, wanted to, and then found he couldn't there was no air in his lungs to produce the noise.  His mouth hung openly on his face, and he felt his heart start to beat again. Thump, thump, thump, it thudding in his chest.  
     "Frank," the girl said, and although he could hear her, her mouth never moved from that hideous smile. "I wanted you to play with me, why are you so mean." Then the small girl's voice changed, the tender high pitched voice becoming mixed with a raspy deep voice.  It was almost as if the two voices were overlapping, one of the girl, whom he knew in the back seat, and one that sounded like the shrieking of a man gone insane.
     "I wanted you to love me, but you ran away," the voice continued, getting louder as it went.  "You said you loved me and I want to play."
     His mouth worked in a chewing motion, but no words were coming.  His eyes were still locked on the girl, no, the thing in the back seat.  Finally his voice returned to him, if only a little at first.
     "I... I... do love you," he stammered, his voice sounding weak in his own head.
     "I'm sorry, I am so sorry, Julie," he said.
     At this the little girls face twisted with rage, the smile widening even more wrapping around he cheeks and back toward her ears.  Then the girl opened her mouth.  Rows of sharp teeth filled the black maw.  Her mouth was opening so big it was actually splitting the skin on her face.  Larger and larger it grew, until that was all he could see, that black gaping mouth and those rows of teeth.
     "Too, bad Frank, you were a baddie, and baddies can't play anymore Momma says," the voice stated, returning to the innocent, clear, little girls voice that he knew so well.  "Baddies have to go to time out," the voice finished.

     He sat, in the car, staring at the disgusting representation of his daughter. Tears running down his cheeks freely now.  It was horrible, what he had done, and somewhere inside he felt he deserved this.  Sadness mixed with fear over came him, crushing the sanity he had left.  He closed his eyes.
     His hands started to slowly turn the wheel of the car, moving without command.  He found that he was paralyzed, legs and arms no longer under his control.  He tried to jerk his arms but it was no use.  The only movements were his arms shaking, moving the wheel.  Little by little the wheel favored the left, soon the wheels would take these directions and send him flying off the road.  
     He opened his wet eyes and screamed.
     "Julie daddy loves you!"  The pressure on his arms increased and the wheel favored a more to the left.  He looked in the review again and his daughter, no, that thing was gone.  He strained against the invisible force moving his arms.  He focused his eyes back on the road and saw the desolate wasteland sprawling out around him.  Not too far out he saw one of the rock formations to his left.  He thought for a minute he saw the little girl, which was not really a girl at all, perched there.  Then his strength gave out.
     "Daddy's a bad, bad, badie," the voice boomed.
     He jerked the wheel full tilt to the left with a strength that wasn't his own, causing the cars tires to screech and puff up smoke.  The car slid for a just a moment as if on ice, then flipped.  The only thought that settled in his mind those last few seconds was, what have I done?  

     The world went black.

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