I’ve always hated the idea of driving at night. It’s always been a “thing” with me. You know when passing cars would fly by in the opposite direction and blind you with their bright headlamps? I absolutely hate that. I guess you can call it a “pet peeve.”
One night, I think it was the last week of September, the temperature was cooling down and I remember turning the heat on in the car. My wife was in the passenger seat and she had her phone out reading emails. We had had dinner at my parents’ and the dinner ran late. Just as I suspected, my wife drank a little too much to drive, so the responsibility fell to me.
“You know I hate driving at night,” I said.
“I’m sorry darling, I had just a bit too much to drive,” she said. “I mean, unless, you’d rather me drive right now.”
I gripped the steering wheel in frustration.
“No, no,” I said. “I can do it.”
I focused on driving down the narrow stretch of road that connected the local streets with the highway. It wasn’t an onramp — it was too long to be an onramp. It was surrounded by a heavy forest with small mechanical shops scattered around the road.
We drove in silence for another minute or two, until I decided to turn the radio on. I leaned over to switch it on when my wife stopped me.
“Wait,” she said.
“I’d like to listen to some music,” I said, gruffly.
“No, no, I don’t feel so well. I’d like some quiet…for now…”
I sighed. “Have it your way,” I said.
She lightly touched my arm. “Thank you,” she mouthed.
I peered over at her. A chill ran down my back. My wife looked like all of the blood had been drained from her face.
“Are you alright?” I asked her.
She weakly waved her hand, as if to brush off the question.
“I’m going to pull over,” I said. “I’m pulling over now.”
She closed her eyes and exhaled.
“Does your stomach hurt? Do you feel like throwing up?” I asked her.
She shook her head no. “I just…I just feel really weak.”
I put the car in park and opened the driver’s side door. The crisp air rushed into the car. My wife moaned, as if in severe pain.
“I’ll call 9-1-1,” I said.
“No, no, I don’t need an ambulance,” she said. “I just need to get home.”
“Are you sure?”
She didn’t answer. I got out of the car and hurried over to her side.
“Maggie, hey, Maggie,” I said, as I buckled her seatbelt. “Let’s get you out of the car.”
She didn’t resist as I helped her out of the car.
“Let me sit, let me sit,” she whispered.
I gently sat her down on the gravel and sat down next to her.
“It feels like all my strength’s been sucked out of me,” she said, quietly. “Have you ever felt that way?”
“Once,” I said. “That was when I was getting an operation and the doctor…” I trailed off.
Right before our eyes, there was a dark figure crouching beyond the darkness of the forest, watching us. Fear traveled down my back and into my limbs. Without saying anything, I grabbed my wife around the shoulders and threw her back into the passenger’s seat.
“W-w-what are you doing?” she shouted, as I shoved her legs into the vehicle and slammed the door. I ran over to the driver’s side and quickly looked over at where the figure was standing.
It was gone. It had moved. Suddenly, a piercing, metallic smell filled my nostrils. I gagged and retched, closing the driver’s door, to not let any of the smell into the car.
Then, I heard Maggie’s voice from just beyond the woods.
“Let me go!”
“W-w-hat are you doing? Let me go!”
I peered into the car to see Maggie looking out at the forest.
“I need to get home!” her voice cried out from the darkness.
I quickly opened the door and started the ignition.
“Did you hear that?” Maggie whispered.
I nodded and accelerated out of the median.
We drove the rest of the way in silence. At home, once it looked like she had gained some of her strength back, I said I heard her voice out in the woods.
“That wasn’t me. I was in the car,” she said.
“I know…” I said.
She bit her lower lip. “Did you see it too?” she asked.
“That…thing. That figure. It was crouching down, watching us.”
“I saw it. I smelled something weird, too.”
Maggie nodded and closed her eyes.
“I smelled it too. The metal.”
We haven’t gone down that road since. I found out a short time ago that bikers used to gather within the forest, and that there was some devil-worshiping going on. When I mentioned this to my parents, they said they didn’t really know the history of the area too well, except that they’ve heard that stretch of road referred to as “Devil’s Corridor,” and thought that it only meant the big trucks that would occasionally blaze down the road, spewing heavy smoke…but it seems that the origin is far more sinister than it lets on.