The Crossroads

Matthew Donnellon

Photo by Ravi Patel on Unsplash

*A work of Fiction

It started that night like most other nights.

We were out a little too late on a country road.

There were four of us squeezed into the little car.

We were working on a school project and we were all just going to stay at Wendy’s house, but her stepfather came home drunk. Needless to say we needed to get out of there.

I said we could just stay at my folks’ place. They wouldn’t care once I explained to them in the morning.

The only problem was that I lived further away than every one so we out on a crappy gravel road at one in the morning.

Which wasn’t that big a deal. We were all country kids, driving a million miles to get anywhere was second nature to us.

It’s just we were deep in the forest and Jake’s brights didn’t work. So we were puttering along at twenty miles an hours so we didn’t broadside some buck out for a midnight stroll.

In fact, it was a member of the cervidae family’s fault why were weren’t just using my truck as it was currently sitting on my property completely useless after an early morning tussle with a deer the size of a small moose.

Such is country life.

We were all on deer patrol when Jake’s crappy little car started making funny noises just as we were leaving the trees.

A minute later, it was making even stranger noises and promptly sputtered and died not a hundred yards from the crossroad that marked the beginning of farm country. We were about 15 miles from anyone and twenty some miles from my home.

We jumped out and popped the hood trying to determine the cause of the little car’s untimely end.

But neither Jake nor I were good with engines.

Wendy took a look at it with Sam holding the light, politely telling us that the girls would be taking it from here, which we obliged.

I was content to stare up at the night sky, which was usually awash with every matter of astronomical body, but the clouds were rolling in so we only had the muted light of the moon to keep us company.

“Well,” Wendy announced, “I can’t find anything wrong with the car.”

“Really?” Jake asked.

“Yep. It just died.”

“That’s weird. I’ll have to call Danny tomorrow and see if he can tow it.”

“Should we start walking?” I asked.

“God it’s going to take forever isn’t it?” Wendy said.

“If we hurry, then we should make it before sunrise.”

“This is the worst night ever.”

“I think it got worse,” Jake said, “Does anyone have service. I just tried to text my mom so she’d see it in the morning.”

A quick check revealed that all our phones were useless, which wasn’t exactly uncommon for our area. It was weird though since they seemed to be working a minute ago.

“Is anyone else getting cold?” Sam asked.

We all shook our head but she was nearly shaking.

“Let’s get walking. It will warm you up,” I said.

We traveled along King’s Cross taking the northern road when something started feeling really wrong. I couldn’t explain it but I felt like we were being watched, which was strange as we were in the middle of nowhere.

“I feel weird,” Jake said.

“Me too.”

“I think there’s something ahead of us,” someone said.

Jake pulled a flashlight out and I immediately wish he hadn’t. There was a dark figure ahead.

“Um let’s go back and take another road,” I said.

“G-g-g-good idea,” Wendy stammered.

We turned back around thinking we’d take another road and just walk the extra miles or even head towards town. We quickly realized that the figure wasn’t alone. The other roads all had figures on them.

“What do we do?” Wendy asked.

“The car,” I yelled.

“It doesn’t run,” Sam said.

“I know but at least we can lock the doors. There’s nowhere else to go.”

We scrambled back to the abandoned automobile.

“Do you still have your shotgun in the trunk?” I asked Jake.

“No my mom made me take it out.”

The figures we getting closer, just shambling down the road.

We locked the doors manually, as the electronics didn’t seem to work.

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

As the first figure passed by, it was a man in dark clothes. He just kept walking, didn’t even notice us.

Several more passed. We were too scared to even breath.

They walked to the crossroads and just kind of stood there.

“What are they doing?” Wendy asked.

“How are we supposed to know?” Jake said.

Then they started back. For at least an hour they just wandered back and forth never getting too far from the crossroads.

“Oh god,” I said.

“What?” the three of them said in unison.

“I know what this is.”

“Well, talk,” Wendy nearly yelled.

“They used to bury people who committed suicide at crossroads.”

“Why would they do that?” Jake asked.

“It was a crime against God. You buried them at crossroads so they’re so would get confused and never find peace. They’d be stuck there forever.”

“So you’re saying we’re looking at the ghosts of a bunch of guys that offed themselves?” Jake asked.

“Yeah. I mean I’d put it nicer than that.”

“Will they hurt us?”

“I have no idea,” I said.

“I doubt restless spirits are super kind,” Sam said.

“Well they’ve just been walking and haven’t done anything yet,” Wendy said, “What if we just try to leave?”

“Why don’t we just stay here till morning?” Jake said.

“Shhh!” I said.

One of the spirits were looking at us. Sam was right, he did not look kind. Slowly, the spirit turned and continued on his way.

“Oh god I can’t do this all night,” Wendy said and opened the door to get out.

“Look,” one of the spirits said, “She’s here to take us home.”

There were a chorus of “Home.” And the spirits started toward the car.

Wendy dove back in and locked the door. Quickly they surrounded the vehicle. There were at least two dozen of them all staring into the car. I’d never been so scared.

We thought we were safe.

Then they started yelling.

“Take us home!”

“Take us home!”

Next, they started pound on the windows and doors.

“What are we going to do?” someone shouted.

I couldn’t even tell who was talking anymore.

Everyone was screaming and crying.

Finally, Wendy’s window broke and several arms reached through and grabbed her.

She screamed and they pulled her out. She was surrounded and we were too scared to move.

We just sat there until sunrise and they disappeared. Suddenly the car started and we sped to my house.

My parents called the police to look for Wendy. The sheriffs office called in search and rescue. But we never saw her again. No one believes us either. Everyone just thinks she wandered off into the woods.

I started to think it was a dream.

Until years later, I was driving up with my wife to visit my parents. It was dark on the old roads until I saw something flash in the headlights.

My wife thought it was a deer, but I had just seen Wendy and I never went down that road again.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI

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