The sky just opened up; one moment it was blue and cloudless, the next rain came down like a curtain. A bolt of lightning blinded him. Steven’s eyes readjusted, but he still couldn’t see much past the hood. Another lightning bolt illuminated her just in time. He stood on the brakes, otherwise he would have run her down for sure.
She didn’t wait for an invitation, but pulled open the door and slid onto the seat beside him, dripping wet and soaked to the skin.
“Hi!” she said.
“Uh, hi.” He glanced at her as she attempted to wring out her dark, brown hair. Her t-shirt clung to her. It was obvious her breasts were unencumbered.
As if reading his thoughts, she offered a self-conscious smile. “I suppose trying to hide my pokies would be a futile gesture.”
“Um.” She thrust out her chest, her nipples prominent through the clingy wet material.
“Ah, um, yeah.” He adjusted his gaze so he looked straight ahead.
“Sorry, I don’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable. Thanks for picking me up.”
“Uh, that’s okay, really. I just didn’t expect to pick up a hitchhiker, never mind a … a …”
“Girl? Well, I don’t normally thumb rides, but this storm came up so fast, and that lightning was hitting pretty close. No place to hide. I’m glad you came along. Do you have a towel or something?”
“Sorry, I don’t.”
“That’s okay. I’ll be getting off just a little up the road.”
“Isn’t this …”
“Isn’t this what?”
“Well, I’ve only lived around here a short time, but the old-timers like to pull my chain. Isn’t this the road where people claim to have picked up a beautiful girl hitchhiker, only to have her get out and run toward an old, dilapidated house and vanish?”
“Yup, that’s me.”
“I just bought the house you’re talking about.”
“You … you what?”
She laughed out loud, but it was a sweet, playful laugh. “Hey, instead of you worrying about ghost girls, I should be worried about you. How do I know you’re not some insane killer or rapist?”
“I … I … well, I’d never do anything …”
She laughed again. “I know that. Hey, my stop is coming up. Right by that old gate.”
He slowed the car. The rain had let up. He stopped by the gate, which leaned off its hinge. A forlorn house was set back at the end of a long drive.
“Thanks.” She stepped out, then leaned inside. “Did the old-timers tell you that the ghost always invites the driver inside?”
“Yup, and that she even does a little striptease to lure him to … who knows what awful fate?”
“I … I …”
She winked. “Maybe I’ll run into you in town.”
She closed the door, then sashayed up the dark drive. He hadn’t realized how long and sculpted her legs were. She slipped her shorts down and let them fall to her ankles. She didn’t wear panties either. She turned and winked again before she lifted her t-shirt over her head and let it fall by her shorts. Finally she blew a kiss and beckoned him to follow her.
The skies opened again and the wind whipped the rain into a curtain. He lost sight of her, then she was gone.
The next morning was bright and fresh; the air clean, invigorating.
He took a seat at the counter of the local cafe and listed to the regulars talk about the previous night’s storm and how it compared to all the storms of their memory.
“I think I saw her,” he blurted, and their conversation ceased. “I mean, I did see her.”
“See who, son?” one they called Chester asked.
“That hitchhiker girl … that ghost, or whatever she’s supposed to be. She was in my car. I let her off at that house you guys talk about.”
“Don’t say?” Another old relic nodded. “Well, it sure was the kind of night for it.”
“Well, you’re still here,” Chester chuckled. “I guess you didn’t follow her.”
The others nodded and chuckled along with Chester.
“But … she was so … pretty.”
“Yup. The devil takes a pleasing shape, that’s for sure,” added old Jesse.
The old men then resumed their talk about the weather, interrupted by bits of homely gossip.
Steven left some bills on the counter and went outside, took a deep breath and returned to his car. The vehicle headed off as if it had a mind of its own. He had to drive along that road again.
It was different in daylight. Vast fields and low hills flanked the roadway. He wasn’t at all sure where he had picked up the girl. Then he saw the gate and stood on his brakes. He stepped out and peered down the long drive, but there was no house.
“What the …?”
He nearly jumped out of his bones. It was her voice. He spun around.
“Gee, little jumpy aren’t you?”
“It … It’s you!”
“Well, yeah. You were expecting a ghost or something?”
He stood back and took in the sight of her, his gaze traveling down and then up. She wore work boots and cargo shorts, with a checkered top tied just below her breasts and barely containing them. He long dark hair fell over one shoulder in a ponytail. She wore a hard hat.
“Oh, that old shack. I just had it torn down and bulldozed today. I’m building a new one. I’m staying in a trailer for the time being until we get the new one up.”
“You … You’re … wow …”
“Well, thank you.”
“I, I just … I thought …”
She laughed. That same wonderful laugh.
“C’mon, follow me. The guys are finishing up for the day. I’ll make us some tea.”
“Sure … okay … tea …” He followed her, his eyes rolling along with her hips.
She stepped passed the gate, but something kept him from following, as if the air itself formed an invisible wall.
“What the …?”
She turned, screamed. “Oh, no! You’re a ghost.”
A force dragged him back to his car.
Her voice faded in the distance, “Next time follow me …”
* * * * *
The rain came down in sheets. A lightning bolt revealed her; he stood on the brakes. She jumped in without an invitation. Damn she was soaked, and pretty … so pretty.
The déjà vu was overpowering. She told him to let her off at the gate. He stopped and got out with her.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she said, a nascent smile forming.
“I don’t know. But if I … I know if I don’t follow you … I’m doomed.”
“Well, gee, mister. I’ve heard some lines from guys in my time, but that’s one for the ages. Okay.”
She slid her shorts down and lifted her t-shirt over her head and let it fall. “Get my things, will you?”
She giggled and took off in a run toward the creepy old house. He scooped up her clothes and took off after her, her buns a bright beacon that he kept in sight for dear life.
© 2015 Robert Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.