Short Story
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                          The Hitchhiker
                                                  By David Tyson


  John Sanders was driving late at night.  It was a rainy evening.  He felt like
he had been driving forever.  He was traveling from Las Vegas to Reno on a
business trip.  His wipers on his windshield squeaked with every movement it
made.  He could not drown out his boredom with the radio since there were no
stations he could pick up.  He tried to hum a tune he sang to his daughter but
he could not remember it exactly.  He tried to hum again, “Do-ra-way, do-ra-
way, do-ra-way, dee-dum-diddly-do.”

  John smiled a little because the tune always made his two year old daughter
laugh.  However, John was saddened.  He had just kissed her goodbye and
could not remember much about what she looked like.  He shook his head and
vowed this would be his last business trip so he could spend more time with his
daughter.

  John looked up and saw a sign which read that the town of Goldfield was
fifteen miles away.  Even though it was a small town, he enjoyed the change of
scenery from the desert landscape.  As he drove the rain started to dwindle a
little.  He was happy because he did not like to drive in any kind of weather.  
He always felt nervous about it.

  Finally John reached Goldfield and like most small towns there was not much
activity going on.  He drove along Highway 95 very slowly because he also
knew small town cops liked to give tickets to anyone going a little over the
speed limit.  John checked his gas gauge as he passed a small filling station.  
The gas was still at the full level.  He was surprised his car had great gas
mileage.

  John drove slowly and was passing a grand stone two story courthouse.  He
was amazed of the old building in the town.  As he slowly passed the
courthouse and turned forward and saw a young girl in the road.  He slammed
on his brakes and stared at the girl.  She was very pale and had black around
her eyes.  She was dressed in a white dress.  Her hair was black and long.  
She had an emotionless expression on her face.

  The girl dressed in white slowly came to the driver side door and knocked on
the window.  John was hesitant to roll down the window but he did.  The girl
spoke very softly, “Hello sir.  I need to get to Tonopah.  It is the next town
over.  Can you give me a ride?”

  John thought against giving her a ride.  She looked very sickly and thought
she just came from her own funeral.  The rain became heavier.  John replied,
“Ok young lady get in.”

  The young girl’s face expression did not change as she slowly walked over
to the passenger side door.  She got in the car and turned her head, “Thank
you.  My name is Amber.”

  John looked at her and asked, “What were you doing in the middle of the
highway?  I know this town has hardly any traffic but I almost hit you.”

  Amber stared blankly at John, “I am sorry.  I didn’t see you.”

  John shook his head, “Be more careful.”

  Amber nodded, “Yes sir I will.”

  John said, “By the way my name is John Sanders and it is nice to meet you
Amber.”

  Amber replied, “Nice to meet you John.”

  John put his car back into drive and started down the road.  The rain started
to pour down and it made John even more nervous.  He looked to his right and
saw The Goldfield Hotel.  Amber said, “Are we past that hotel yet?  That place
always scares me.”

  John replied, “We just did pass it.  What is wrong with that hotel?  It looks
peaceful to me.”

  Amber shivered, “Strange things happen there.  I saw a ghost there once.”

  John laughed, “I don’t believe in ghosts.  Never have and never will.”

  Amber shrugged her shoulders, “I have seen some strange things in my life
living here in Goldfield, especially after my car wreck last year.”

  John looked at Amber.  He started to get a bad vibe from her.  He said, “You
were in a car wreck?”

  Amber stared at John with no emotion on her face.  She replied, “Yes it was
a bad wreck also.  I will show you the spot when we get there.  It is right before
we get to Tonopah.”

  As the car left Goldfield, John saw that Tonopah was twenty-six miles away.  
John stated to get real nervous.  He did not like Amber.  She sent cold chills
up his back.  John started to hum again, “Do-ra-way, do-ra-way, do-ra-way,
dee-dum-diddly-do.”

  Amber had her eyes halfway closed.  She asked, “What is that little tune you
are singing?”

  John smiled, “It is a song I sing to my little daughter.  It calms her down.”

  Amber replied, “Does it work?”

  John thought and said, “Yes it does actually.”

  Amber laughed, “Maybe I should try it when I am nervous.  I know I get
nervous a lot.”

  John started to drive faster.  He did not want to be in the car with the girl
anymore.  He thought she was creepy.  To break the silence he asked, “What
do you have to be nervous about?  You are so young.”

  Amber looked like she was zoning in and out.  John starred at her and asked
again.  She then snapped out of it and replied, “I don’t know.  I have not been
the same since the wreck.  I have never felt right since then.  It is like I don’t
even exist.”

  John did not know how it felt after a wreck as he never got into one.  For all
the driving he has done in his life he was surprised he did not get into a
wreck.  For miles, John and Amber sat in the car silently.  John was hoping to
get to Tonopah fast to not be around her anymore.  Amber then started to
sing John’s tune, “Do-ra-way, do-ra-way, do-ra-way, dee-dum-diddly-do.”

  John asked, “Are you getting nervous?”

  Amber replied, “Yes I am.  We are about five miles from Tonopah.  Soon we
will be at the spot where I was in my wreck.  I think when they found me, I was
actually dead.”

  John started to get scared.  He did not believe this girl was right.  He asked
softly, “What do you mean you were dead?”

  Amber started into John’s eyes. He skin turned paler and her eyes were
darker, “I believe I always have been dead since then. I never felt right. I still
don’t feel right.”

  John was about to say something when Amber interrupted, “We are getting
close now to the spot where I died.  It is just a few more feet.”

  John started to scream.  Amber also started to scream.  Her eyes were rolled
into the back of hr head.  John slammed on the brakes and pulled to the side
of the road.  Amber looked shocked and yelled, “Dude what are you doing?  
Why are you freaking out?  We are not even to Tonopah yet.”

  John was confused, “You just said you died and your eyes got all weird
looking.”

  Amber laughed, “Yes I did die but the paramedics revived me.  My eyes got
weird because I took a bad shot of heroin before you picked me up.  I am still
feeling it.”

  John replied, “What you are drugged out?”

  Amber started to giggle like a two year old, “Yeah man.  Like what dude did
you think I was a ghost or something?  I thought you did not believe in ghosts?”

  John was embarrassed, “You just freaked me out.  Let’s just get you to
Tonopah.”

  Amber stated to giggle again, “Ok.  Just drop me off at the high school off
the highway here.”

  John drove faster.  He did think she was a ghost.  He felt very foolish.  After
a few minutes he reached Tonopah and saw the high school.  He pulled over
and dropped off Amber.  John saw a party going on for the school.  He did not
say goodbye to Amber and just sped away.

  Amber walked to a group of people and started to dance.  She saw a cop
patrolling the party and started to get nervous.  She knew she probably looked
sickly and pale from that bad heroin she used.  She started to hum John’s
tune, “Do-ra-way, do-ra-way, do-ra-way, dee-dum-diddly-do.”

  A young girl turned to Amber and said, “Excuse me where did you hear that
tune?”

  Amber replied, “Oh that man that just dropped me off taught it to me.  I think
his name was John Sanders or something like that.”

  The young girl was shocked, “My dad used to sing that to me when I was two
years old.  His name was John Sanders.  He died in a car wreck also when I
was two years old.  In fact it was fifteen years ago tonight he got into his
wreck.  My family moved here from Las Vegas after he died.”

  Amber turned around and saw the taillights of John Sander’s car disappear
on the highway.  John continued to drive that night.  He drove until he reached
the small town of Mina where he crashed his car because he could not see in
the pouring rain.  It was the fifteenth time he relived his crash that killed him.