Chanice squinted at the trees, her pounding head pushing her vision in and out of focus. Her late night drive had taken a sudden turn from the highway to the desolate darkness of the woods off the shoulder. Despite feeling lucky to be alive, she couldn’t help but feel a looming danger remaining. It wasn’t the shock of the accident, or the fact she knew her hazard lights weren’t visible from the road. Something was scurrying around her vehicle.
From her automotive prison she had only caught glimpses of it. It was humanoid in shape and moved too quickly for her concussed brain to make sense of it, and it seemed to cautiously avoid the glow of her one remaining headlight. She could hear it trying to get in, rocking the car as it tested the walls of her confinement. Last she heard it, it had crawled under the car.
A tree pinned the driver’s side, and a hill seemed to block the passenger. With the seatbelt acting as a vice against her chest and her phone lost somewhere in the void that was the floor, she could only silently hope whatever was out there would lose interest and leave her alone.
Chanice looked in the rear-view mirror, to the lights of the highway. If she could just make it there, maybe she could flag down someone to help. Her arm was broken, and she suspected a broken rib, but if she could just get out of the car, she thought she would stand a chance.
Just as she was about to give up, she found a shred of hope above: the sunroof. She was small enough to fit through, and even as beat up as she was sure she could climb out.
Weak and shaking, she managed to unbuckle and shrug off the deflated airbag.
There was no noise, nothing in the view of the headlight.
Quietly she reached for the sunroof cover, and slid it open.
A face was pressed against the glass above, eyes wild and menacing. Its skin was gritty and the color of bark, lips peeled back, eyelids gone. When she screamed it opened its mouth, chattering dull, too-long teeth. She jolted back to her seat, the chatter so loud she could hear it through the glass.
When she looked ahead, she froze.
There was a silhouette with a rock the size of a melon hefted above its head, ready to swing at her only remaining headlight.
It never occurred to her that there had been more than one.