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Last Hope of the Roadkill by DeAnna Knippling

Last Hope of the Roadkill

by DeAnna Knippling
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Page 1

You would have thought that it would have happened in New Mexico that we saw the aliens. But no. Marge, who is that other lady who just got hauled off in the ambulance, is my boss, and she and I were driving up to a food safety conference at a Marriott just off the Interstate in Denver. I guess her health insurance card might be in her purse, which is out in a snowbank someplace if you want it. You’ll know it’s hers if it’s got rhinestones on it.

The only reason I’m along is so I could drive. Marge slept most of the time or stared at her phone, which suited me just fine while I was driving, but then she wouldn’t let me sleep when it was her turn to drive. She said I had to keep her awake. I was so tired I dozed off a second, and she fell right asleep right after that. Luckily I felt the car swerve and grabbed the wheel till she woke up enough to pull over and yell at me. That’s just how things go with her, you just have to accept it. Anyways I haven’t had much sleep, and I’ll be glad when the next ambulance comes. I don’t think I’m hurt too bad, but I probably shouldn’t drive, officer. I’m shook up and I’m tired and I should stay off the road.

It all started maybe an hour, hour and a half ago. Marge was snoring again. The road in front of me was gray; everything else was pretty much pitch black. Once in a while a fleck of white went by in the ditch when I passed a snowbank. Sometimes I’d see a deer or a raccoon in the ditch. I drove with my low beams on. I can’t stand to hit an animal.

About a million truckers were passing me. A lot of them drive all night. The wind was blowing steady and tugging my car to the left; every time a trucker passed me, the wind pulled me hard left. I thought for sure a couple of times my little Toyota was going to get sucked right under the wheels.

It was right after a convoy of semis passed me that I first saw it.

The heater was on full blast, and I could smell something starting to overheat, and I was fussing with the controls when a bright light passed overhead. At first I thought it was a helicopter. There’s so much military around our part of New Mexico that that’s the first thing you think when you see something, it’s some kind of aircraft they’re testing.

Then something bumped under the tires, something bigger than a dead squirrel or a raccoon, and I started to tear up, thinking I’d hit a dog or a deer or a coyote. I looked into the rear view mirror to see what it was. I was already starting to slow down.

When I saw it, it looked like a kid.

I slammed on the breaks. Good thing Marge had her seatbelt on at that point, or she woulda gone flying through the window. As it was her arms and legs shot straight out, and her one arm punched me right in the face. I don’t think she was awake. Anyway, she hit me and without thinking I turned my whole body from her, including the steering wheel. We went down in the ditch like nobody’s business. We were up and over the median and onto the other side of the highway just like that, and thank God there was nobody coming just at that second or they woulda squashed us, just like a grasshopper going splat on the windshield. Like I said I was tired. We shoulda stopped for the night. I know that.

The car ran straight into the barbed wire across the road. Later when I was backing up the car, I noticed that we hadn’t broken a single wire, but I ended up snapping it anyway because it had got caught between the side mirror and the door, and by that point I didn’t much care what happened to the fence. But right after we crashed I didn’t notice that. I just sat there with my hands on the steering wheel and Marge still swinging her fists around but not really awake. I felt a good bruise coming up on my cheek.

I hit a kid, I hit a kid, I kept thinking over and over. I peeled my hands off the steering wheel, one finger at a time, and shoved the door into the barbed-wire fence.

As soon as the dome light came on, Marge started screaming at the top of her lungs. I thought about staying with her to see if she was all right, but no, I had to go see about that kid.

I climbed out in a patch of waist-high weeds, then ran across the highway. A couple of truckers zoomed past me, both of them shaking up a layer of snowmelt off the road as they went past. The further north we’d gone, the more snow there was, of course. I picked my way along, shaking and stumbling every time a semi passed me. I could hear Marge still yelling her head off in the car. I honestly don’t think she was awake at that point.

Every time a semi drove by, it lit up that body. It had rolled over onto the shoulder. I suppose you might have thought it was a dead deer, if you weren’t really looking.

I got up even to it, waited until the road was clear, and ran across.

It was hard, I’ll tell you that. I was still thinking I hit a kid, I hit a kid. My legs were shaking. I felt like, excuse my French, I felt like I was going to shit myself. I was crying hard. That cold wind snatched the tears right off my face as soon as they came out my eyes. My face was covered in boogers.


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About the Author

DeAnna Knippling

DeAnna Knippling is a freelance writer and editor in Colorado Springs. Her first book, Choose Your Doom: Zombie Apocalypse was released in November 2010 by Doom Press. She has recently published in Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Silverthought Online, Crossed Genres and Nil Desperandum. She was also honorable mention in Best Horror of the Year, Volume 3.

Story Discussion

Stories by DeAnna Knippling

The Person Who Puts Down the Keys by DeAnna Knippling

The Person Who Puts Down the Keys

FTL pilots were a rare breed. They traveled the galaxy faster than light. Faster than it was possible to go. Strange things happened to them. They changed.

People who signed up were people with a death wish, or people with long-term ambitions. The desire to see one era disappear and be replaced by something else. At first, he’d thought he was one of the second kind.

What will Tom actually find when he returns? Find out in this new story by DeAnna Knippling.

Read More

Related Stories

The Person Who Puts Down the Keys by DeAnna Knippling

The Person Who Puts Down the Keys

FTL pilots were a rare breed. They traveled the galaxy faster than light. Faster than it was possible to go. Strange things happened to them. They changed.

People who signed up were people with a death wish, or people with long-term ambitions. The desire to see one era disappear and be replaced by something else. At first, he’d thought he was one of the second kind.

What will Tom actually find when he returns? Find out in this new story by DeAnna Knippling.

Read More
The Wilson Boys and the Ship From Space

The Wilson Boys and the Ship From Space

Their Dad was Quentin Wilson, world famous detective. They hadn’t seen him all day, but that wasn’t unusual. The last few months he hadn’t been spending much time at home. The boys had left word with his answering service…

Dad had not gotten into many scrapes until about a year ago. Since then he seemed to be chloroformed and bound and gagged an awful lot…

Can the Wilson Boys solve the mystery without the full help of their detective dad? Find out in this new story by Pete Wood

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Finger Food by Gary Ives

Finger Food

My second day outta stir had gone down so smooth, like greased tracks smooth. The Social Services lady, Mrs. Nixon, had liked me. I could sense it. Twenty-two years at Attica was equivalent to a Ph.D. in reading emotions. Yeah twenty-two years served on a life sentence. Me, I’d gone down hard for offing a shitbag Puerto Rican who’d burned me for two kilos. I played up to the near-sighted old hen.

“Yes ma’am, whatever it takes, ma’am. All I want, really… what I need… is employment. I understand that’s the key, Mrs. Nixon. You get me a jay… oh… bee, job, and I swear by the Holy Bible ain’t no way Tony Spallano is ever gonna go back to them bad old ways. No ma’am.”

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Hitler Skin Deep by David Wright

Hitler Skin Deep

The spastic movements of the dermal layer, which would have been merely a twitch to ordinary humans, was much more to someone of Morgan’s unique genetic make-up. Morgan was able to manipulate surface muscles, change skin tone and even burst surface skin cells to create spontaneous bleeding, a phenomenon which has been commonly documented and which is referred to as “the wounds of Christ” when it occurs on the palms and feet. You’d think that a freak of nature such as he was would be locked up and exploited or probed for science. But the truth of the matter was, after people saw his act a few times, they forgot about him. So there were derma-morphs. Big deal. I heard that he spent some time traveling with a bearded lady in a two-bit circus, hooked up with Buffalo Bill’s Rodeo as the “man-beast”, and performed on-stage transformations in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as the understudy of Lon Chaney (who was also a derma-morph). But just before the war, the stories stopped and the great Morgan Globus vanished into obscurity, or so we thought.

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