This week’s flash fiction challenge is to write about Hell in some way. This idea immediately came to me.It’s my idea of a hell anyways! You can tell me if you agree! I didn’t think this would end up being a horror story of sorts, but how can it not, I guess, if it’s about hell?
Hope you enjoy the story. I had fun writing it! 🙂
That sign. It should have been my first clue. I thought it was strange, and funny, more than anything. I ignored my gut, like I usually do, which always ends up getting me into trouble. Scratch that, the sign should’ve been my second clue. The first should’ve been my stupid GPS. I felt like throwing it out the window. I should have, just so I didn’t have to hear it anymore, that irritating nasal woman’s voice telling at me over and over to turn left in 200 meters. At first I ignored her, and just kept driving. Every exit, she said the same thing. In 200 meters, turn left. But that wasn’t where I wanted to go. I knew where I wanted to go! I tried to turn it off, but for some reason it wasn’t shutting down, and her voice kept piping up shrilly every few minutes as a new exist sign appeared in the distance. For the first minute or two, it was amusing. After she had been telling me for 20 minutes to turn left in 200 meters, I couldn’t take it anymore and took the exit just to shut her up. I knew I was nowhere near my destination, and I hadn’t even really been paying attention to the signs of wherever it was that I had turned off towards, because her directions were driving me bonkers. ‘In 200 meters turn left. Recalculating. Turn left at the next exit. Recalculating.’ Recalculating, my ass. I drove on. A moment later, her voice, which I will hear forever in my nightmares piped up once more, like an ice pick to my brain. ‘In 200 meters, turn left.’
“Okay, that’s it!” I yanked the wheel hard and turned off. Once I finally listened to her, she quietened. The silence was like a balm to my frayed nerves. She had me so on edge, I hadn’t even noticed where I was turning into. I just knew the minute I turned off that I had never been here before.
It was then that I saw the sign, a few hundred meters down the road, as it came to a fork. Do I turn left? Or right? I looked at the GPS I had thrown onto the passenger seat for help, almost hoping to hear her voice again tell me what to do. Silence. It was pitch black. 2am. The roads were dead. So I just sat at the intersection, thinking. My headlights lit up a large sign that sat straight ahead, no more left than right. It was no help. Welcome to The End, was all it said. Someone had added in shaky spray painted letters ‘of the line’. That was what made me laugh. Maybe it was because it was late, and I was tired and just wanted to get my navigators high-pitched, frustratingly calm voice out of my head, but I found it extremely funny. Welcome To the End of the Line. Clever.
I picked up the GPS and stared blearily at the screen. I shook it. “Come on!” I said irritably. “I’ve turned left, now where do you want me to go?” Silence.
I sighed and threw the device back on the empty seat beside me. I looked left. The road was narrow, empty and tree-lined on both sides. There was no light besides the my headlights, which didn’t reach very far into the darkness. I looked right and saw an almost identical narrow stretch of road, empty of any traffic, and lined with tall, trees that seemed to thicken as they disappeared into the darkness that my headlights didn’t penetrate. Well that didn’t help, and she didn’t seem to be in a helpful mood. So I did what I thought best. I stuck a hand in a pocket and pulled out some lint, a crumpled receipt for some gas, a coffee and a jumbo snickers bar that I’d inhaled about 50 miles back, and a couple pieces of change. I picked up a nickel, tossed it into the air and snatched it back again. “Heads right, tails left,” I said to no one. It’s one of those things you’re wired to say out loud even if there’s no one around to tell it to. I plopped it onto the back of my hand. I glanced in the rearview. There was no one behind me. I was all alone in the middle of god knows where. I closed my eyes and realized I was holding my breath. I slowly lifted my hand up and was greeted not with a stark profile, but an image of what looked like some kind of farm house. Tails.
“Dammit!” I whispered, yet I jumped at my own voice. I didn’t realize just how much I had wanted the other option, how much I wanted to see another person, even if it was just the relief of a face on a coin. Suddenly I felt very alone, and very lost. But I had to go somewhere, and it was somewhere.
I didn’t even bother signalling as I swung my car in the now familiar direction. Thin wispy birches moved past me like tall ghosts standing like sentries. I couldn’t see any lights anywhere that would indicate any form of civilization, not even a lone farm house. I could feel my eyes getting heavy, but I forced them open, focusing on something white in the distance. I put my foot down a bit heavier, anxious to find out where I was and perhaps how far away I was from my destination. Gypsy, my nickname for my GPS, was still silent. I was just a lone dot on a single line on the screen.
Suddenly a scream burst out of me. There was a second sign that said Welcome To The End, but ‘The End’ was scored out, and painted above was ‘Hell’. Next to it was the white sign I had seen. In large black letters it said: In 200 Meters Turn Left.