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The Road

by tractor 

Posted: 27 June 2009
Word Count: 390
Summary: Jordan's Challenge

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We picked the kid up just after midnight. He was sitting by the road, resting against a telegraph pole.

'John, he's somebody’s son. Let's give him a lift,' Marsha said.

I don't usually take detours. Get to your destination, do the business and get back home to a cold beer. Still, we were probably his only chance of getting to safety before dawn.

I slowed the old blue Volvo. 'Where you headed, son?'

'Somewhere where there are people.'

'We’re trying for Jackson. That suit?'

He nodded and minute later he was snug in the back seat, next to the equipment.

'Coffee?' Marsha asked.

'Thanks. Easy on the milk.’

'Tired?' she asked, filling one of the screw-on thermos cups with Java. 'Nothing stopping you shutting your eyes for a spell. We aren't great conversationalists.'

The car lights picked up the brush holding back the desert on either side of the blacktop. Occasionally, the cold eyes of a lizard or coyote were caught in the beam unti they scuttled off.

We were still a good few hours from our destination, driving through a small town, when the kid began coughing. He couldn’t stop.

'Pull over, John.'

We sat him on the sidewalk. In the cold night air, his breath rasped out in little clouds. The sodium streetlights lit the shivers running through his body, the sweat on his brow.

'Nothing to drink for a while I expect,' Marsha said.

The kid nodded and began coughing again.

'He needs help, John.'

I looked up and down the street. The little houses were dark, the good citizens asleep in their beds. No insomniacs here.

A copper plate caught my eye.

'There's a Dr Henry lives here. He should be used to late night calls.'

The Doc came straight to the bell.

'I'm not a medical man,' he kept saying as we walked to the car. 'My PhD is in Creative Writing.'

The guy was confused, half asleep.

'What’s all this stuff?' he asked, nodding at the equipment on the back seat.

One whack with the blackjack put him out. I shoved in the needles and attached the tubes.

At first the kid was too weak to come to the car, so Marsha fed him by mouth.

Shared by three of us it was a pretty light supper. We'd find more food on the road.

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Comments by other Members

tusker at 16:48 on 27 June 2009  Report this post
I enjoyed this, Mark.

Very weird and they seemed such nice folk too.

It takes 2 vampires to know one.


Forbes at 17:45 on 27 June 2009  Report this post
Hi Mark

Why did he cough after drinking the coffee?

And where had the kid gone that he couldn't get to the car to feed?

Nice smooth style and the clues about the couple are all there when you look. I didn't pick up that he was a vampire -how did they know?

Well done for an unexpected one though.


tractor at 18:34 on 27 June 2009  Report this post
Hi Jennifer & Avis,

thanks for commenting.

The kid isn't choking due to the coffee, he's dehydrated from lack of blood. That's the reason he's unable to go to the car, until Marsha feeds him a little of the red stuff.

How do the couple know the youth is one of them? Good question. I suppose if we recognise a live person from a hundred yards, the undead have a similar way of identifying their own.



GraemeR at 19:41 on 27 June 2009  Report this post
Hi Mark

I liked this alot - reminded me of the classic vampire flick Near Dark in some respects. I especially liked the misdirection - you dont realise that they are vamps until the end, but once you spot this, the clues throughout the rest are plain to see

Nice work

Jordan789 at 16:22 on 28 June 2009  Report this post
Hey Mark,

Thanks for joining the contest this week. I like this a good amount but I'll admit I didn't pick up on a lot of the subtleties (that they were vampires) until I read tusker's response. I knew that something was amiss. At first I thought, like w/ The Road, we were in a post-apocalyptic world and the characters were regular old humans. When they attacked the writer I was mostly confused, and still didn't immediately guess that they were vampires.

I'm curious how the story might change if we know they are all vampires from the onset.

Thanks for the read!


Findy at 02:36 on 29 June 2009  Report this post
Hi Mark

Great descriptions, I loved this line,

The sodium streetlights lit the shivers running through his body, the sweat on his brow.

Lovely. I didn't get it at first, then I read the comments.

Chilling last line


Jubbly at 10:29 on 29 June 2009  Report this post
I also liked this though I think you do need to clarify the recognition of the boy as one of them. Very creepy and humanitarian if that's the right word at the same time. Have you seen 'Let the Right One In'? A wonderful human take on vampires, great stuff.


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