Hitchhiking in the States was a dicey occupation at the best of times.
It was much safer and saner to the north in Canada.
I always travelled that corridor if possible, but sometimes
I had to dip down into the States.
This is the story of one such encounter...
I was returning to Nova Scotia after visiting friends in Connecticut.
I was extra vigilant on the eastern seaboard of the US.
The trip had gone well enough. I was just north of Boston
and feeling like I could begin to let down my guard a bit
as I dealt with the New England locals.
As I waited by the side of the road, I was happy to see a Volkswagen
pull over. Thankfully, there was a smiling woman behind the wheel
I asked her where she was going and she answered with a cryptic
"Where are YOU going?"
"North...but quite a ways north."
It was a bit of an odd exchange
but I thanked her and got in.
We made a bit of small talk as we travelled north.
After an hour or so, I asked where she was headed.
She gave a vague answer once more. "Oh...as far as you're going."
I was unsettled...something was not right.
She had no luggage. She had to be a local. I tried to hide my discomfort..
She looked and acted so normal, but something was off.
My concern was about to turn to alarm...
I asked her about herself and she began to tell me that she
had recently been released from a mental hospital.
She had been suicidal much of her life.
As she talked, she seemed to drift and get lost in her story.
I watched as her face shifted a little and her tone went flat.
I was in trouble.
I began to gauge the possibility of jumping from the car and doing
a tuck and roll to the side of the road. It wouldn't be easy at that speed.
We passed through a couple of small towns.
I asked her each time to stop so I could use a restroom but she ignored me
and kept driving beyond the towns and into the woods.
Her jaw tightened slightly.
I felt she needed someone to talk to...most people do...
asked her more about herself. She'd had a hard childhood...
she was a damaged soul. She had attempted suicide many times
and had been hospitalized multiple times.
It was hard to believe, looking at her...
She was a very young looking woman, trim and attractive.
"How old do you think I am?", she suddenly asked as though reading
my mind. Before I could answer, she said "I'm 63!"
I was shocked. She struck me as being about 30 years old.
She looked amazingly young, but crazy as could be.
That's a long time to suffer...
I had never encountered anyone quite like her.
She talked on now in a sad monotone voice...
What she said next sent chills through me.
She had planned to take her life again...that day, in fact.
She had to put an end to her pain.
But she feared that no one would take notice of her death.
So, in her twisted mind, she felt that to make sure that her death
would not go unnoticed or be easily forgotten, that she should
take someone out with her.
I began to realize that I was that someone!
I froze. I was in the presence of evil.
The cramped car filled with the energy of it.
Miraculously...for me...words came to mind...a concept...a way out.
I found myself moving past the fear somehow.
I grinned broadly at her and then I started to laugh!
In moments, I was doubled over with laughter.
She looked at me with a flash of indignation.
Laughing heartily, tears gathering in my eyes, I pounded my knee,
unable to contain myself!
I didn't know how it came upon me, but I was suddenly
a really good actress!
I could feel the tension breaking up. I laughed hysterically.
When I could catch my breath,I told her that I hoped she wasn't
thinking of taking me out with her!
Laughing still more, I told her that I would be the most ridiculous
choice of victim. I was alone in this world..no family...few friends
and no one, but no one, in the world knew, much less cared where I was.
She had chosen a complete NOBODY!
Her attempt would be wasted again! I laughed again, completely amused
at the whole idea.
She suddenly swerved off the road and took a path into the woods.
The laughter stopped. Things took a serious turn again.
The Volkswagen bumped hard along the road. She didn't slow down.
I couldn't jump and run without her pursuing me.
We were too far away from houses, towns, people. I was trapped.
She raced ahead and then stopped abruptly, shut off the ignition
and got out without a word.
She walked off, shedding clothes as she walked. Soon she was naked.
I saw the perfect body of a very young woman...knowing that within
was a horribly tortured mind.
I had a fleeting sense, that this 63 year old woman was unnaturally
preserved by those tormenting spirits...for their own evil sport.
I watched as she approached a small lake. She walked to the shore
and dove in.
We were separate now. I could not determine what was taking place.
But she simply took a swim. She emerged from the water, picked up her clothes again and dressed as she returned to the car.
Not a word was spoken.
She drove back to the highway and turned north again.
I sat there, mystified by her behavior...
We drove on through the woods, farther and farther from civilization.
Suddenly she stopped in the middle of nowhere and let me out-
again without a word.
Then she turned her car around and headed south.
It was over...