The Phantom Stranger | By: Casey Ponciano | | Category: Short Story - Horror Bookmark and Share

The Phantom Stranger

“I love you August,” I said to my girlfriend as I held her in my arms. She meant the world to me. I loved being with her, and I hated when I had to go home. I wished I was with her all through the night, but it was Sunday and I had to work the next day. The week had gone too fast for me.
“I love you too, Donavon,” she replied. And I know I meant the world to her.
Then I took a step back away from her. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said as I lifted my left hand and placed it on her right cheek on her face. She felt so soft. Then I moved my hand under her chin. I lifted her chin and kissed her slowly. Then we gave each other a long hug. Her hair smelled beautiful. Then we let go of each other and we looked into each other’s eyes. Her eyes were gorgeous dark-black. I loved them.
“Okay. Be careful going home,” she said.
“I will, baby.” Then I walked away. “Make sure everything is locked up before you go to sleep,” I yelled at her.
“I will,” she replied. A week ago, there was a murder in New Deal, which was another small town south of Abernathy. It was a ten minutes away from Abernathy. The murder incident consisted of a man, raping and killing a woman with a knife. He slit her throat and she bled to death. He had also taken some things from the house so the police assumed that it was a burglar who decided to do more than just steal. The police found the woman already dead when they got there. The man escaped and no one knew where he was hiding out. I didn’t feel good leaving August by herself, but I needed to get some sleep. I always ensured her to make sure the doors were locked.
I walked toward my truck and I stopped at the driver’s door. I turned around and looked at August. She was standing in the doorway, waiting for me to get in the truck safely. From a distance, she was very beautiful in her white nightgown. I wished I hadn’t gone, but I had to. I stepped in the truck and turned on the ignition. As I took off through 1st street, I waved at August. She waved back and then entered her house. She then turned off the front porch light. I continued driving away from her house. I loved her.
The night felt great. There wasn’t any bad weather and the night was cool. I lowered down the windows on my truck. But I only lowered them halfway, because the night was already cool enough and I didn’t want to be cold in my truck because of the speed driving. As I drove out of the town’s limits, I reached farm road 597. 1st street was connected to this farm road and it took me straight to my house. August lived in the town of Abernathy and I lived fifteen minutes away from her and the town. August and I lived there all of our lives. We grew up together as best friends and attended Abernathy school. We both graduated together, but throughout our lives in school, we never dated until three years ago. We were just afraid of what might happen if we did date each other. But whoever thought best friends would make great lovers. Now we were thinking of taking the next step. Getting married. I was trying my best to get her a ring, but the job I was employed at, wasn’t enough. Six dollars an hour was not cutting it. It was time for me to look for another job. That’s what I thought of doing the next day.
As I drove down 597, I thought about August and I. The thought about us being married and together was great. Sometimes we’d talk about how the wedding would be and how our lives would be living together. We both loved the idea. We loved the idea of spending the rest of our lives together.
As I continued to drive down 597, I noticed the moon outside in the upper left corner of the windshield. It was a half moon and a yellow dark color, and every once in awhile the clouds covered it, making it look very foggy. I looked toward the front of the truck and observed the road I was driving through. I could see all the rabbits that hopped on the side of the road as they scattered for cover because they were scared of the headlights. I drove with caution because some of the rabbits would blindly jump in the middle of the street and they’d become road kills, and I did not want to do that to any of them. Bugs splattered on my windshield. That was one bad thing about living in the country. If bugs splattered on your windshield that meant you had to wash your vehicle the next day. I reached for my cellular telephone in my left pocket and I took it out. I always had my phone in hand just in case of an accident or if August tried to call me. Her parents were out of town for the month. And with that killer on the loose, I didn’t want anything happening to August. I drove with my left hand and held the cellular phone with my right hand. I looked at the yellow lines in the middle of the road and the white lines on the shoulders of the road. Then I observed the signs by the road and the reflectors. I always wondered what the reflectors were for. When I was a little kid, my father told me they were suppose to guide you and let you know where the shoulders of the road ended.
Suddenly I had strange feeling, like someone was watching me. I looked at the middle rearview mirror and made sure that no one was in the backseat. No one was. Then I kept looking left and right on the shoulder of the road making sure that no one was there. There was no one. I came up to a stop sign where another road intersected with 597. As I stopped because of the sign, I locked all the doors. I always thought about some crazy killer jumping in my truck at a stop sign in the night. It was just some weird feeling I had. But I only made a quick stop. I thought it was ridiculous to have a stop sign out here. It’s not like anyone would actually stop for this stop sign out here. Then I kept on driving. But I still had that strange feeling. I became very uncomfortable. Then I heard a tapping sound. I listened closely for the sound, but I couldn’t find the source of the tapping. It became louder and faster. I tried to ignore the sound, so I just continued looking straight through 597. But I couldn’t ignore it any longer. It was getting to me. I didn’t know where it was coming from. I slowed down for awhile to concentrate on the sound’s source. I heard the sound more from my left ear then my right ear. I looked beside me. My eyes widened, as I became shocked at what I saw. The tapping was coming from the glowing finger of a ghost phantom tapping on my window. I looked at the glowing finger and my eyes came quickly face to face with its glowing ghostly face. I became frighten as I saw it’s disfigured face. On its right check, it had a chunk of flesh torn out and the tip of the nose was not there. The phantom was crying and the tear-dropped eyes on its face were ringed with black, as if someone punched it. I knew it was a female because the sound of the weeping. I felt goose bumps over my body and the hairs on my arms and back of my head stuck up. The long hair it had, moved in the air like snakes swimming in the water as it flew beside me. Its mouth started moving, and I heard it say my name.
“Donavan—,” it said in a high pitch tone, but I didn’t want to hear the rest of it, so I raised the windows. I pressed the gas pedal to go faster. I looked at the speedometer and notice I was already hitting 75. As I moved faster, the phantom moved with me. I was now hitting 90, and phantom was still beside me. I couldn’t lose it. I heard the tapping on the driver’s window, beside me. I wanted to ignore it, but I felt like it was the only sound in the world. Once in awhile, as I drove with speed, I’d look beside me and I saw the phantom still looking at me with it’s mouth moving trying to tell me something as it tapped on my window. I wanted to get off of 597. I was getting so scared that I was swirling side to side when I was driving. And the phantom kept tapping on my window.
I looked at the speedometer and I was hitting 100. The tapping stopped and I looked beside me to see if the phantom was still by my window. It wasn’t. I felt relieved. But it didn’t slow down my speed. I wanted to get home.
I finally reached my house. As I drove into the driveway, I observed all around the truck, making sure the phantom wasn’t there, especially the driver’s window. It wasn’t there. As I opened the driver’s door, I made sure nothing was behind it. There wasn’t anything. I stepped out of the truck, slowly, prepared for anything. All of a sudden, I heard a terrible scream. It was very loud and my ears couldn’t stand the sound. I saw the cracking of the rearview window on the driver’s door. Then the scream turned into a terrifying shriek. The shriek was of horror and I placed my hands over ears, but I still heard it. It reminded me of someone being tortured. Then the shrieking turned into someone weeping. I looked up in front of me and I saw where the weeping was coming from. It was the phantom. It was floating in front of me. The driver’s door was between the phantom and me. The windows were still raised, but I was face to face with the phantom. Even with the disfiguration I knew the face from some where. But I couldn’t remember where. It continued crying and screaming of torture shrieks. Then it became quiet and just stared at me. I tried to run, but my feet would not move.
“Move stupid,” I told myself. Finally I did. I jumped back into the truck and I closed the door. The phantom flew up. I turned the ignition in the truck, but the truck wouldn’t start. I looked for the phantom, but I couldn’t see her. I tried turning the ignition again for the last time and the truck still did not start. I pushed my head forward and lightly tapped my forehead on the steering wheel. Maybe the phantom was gone, I thought to myself. But, then I heard the weeping again. I didn’t want to raise my head. I felt the crying coming from the front of me. I knew that if I raised my head, I would be face to face with the phantom. But I did it anyway. And the phantom was there. Then the phantom flew towards me. She went through the windshield and through me. I sighed when she flew through me, waiting for my body to hurt. I thought ghosts and phantoms were there to hurt you, but she didn’t. As she went through my body, she gave me a feeling of coldness, like it was wintertime, but only for a second. I also heard the phantom whisper, “Donavan, please, help me.” I felt relieved for awhile because she didn’t hurt me, but I knew she would be back. And if she wasn’t there to hurt me, then what was she there for.
The phantom did come back. She stopped in front of the windshield and just stood there floating, weeping, and whispering “Donavan, please, help me”, with her hands outward. The phantom wept a few more tears, whispered one last time, “Help me”, and then she vanished. As she did, I then remembered the face of the phantom. Even through its injured face, I recognized her. She was Miss Knox. She was August’s neighbor. I picked up the cellular phone and called August because I wanted to tell her about the incident that just happened. I dialed her number, and she answered.
“What are you doing calling this late?” she asked sarcastically.
“Nothing baby. I just wanted to see if you were alright,” I said.
“I fine. Why---,” and then the phone went dead.
“August. August,” I repeated, but no one answered. I thought that maybe I was calling from a bad location, so I hung up the phone and redialed the number. This time an automatic voice operator came up. It said the phone has been disconnected or was no longer in service. I decided to go to August’s house and tell her the experience I had. At the same time I had an urge that I should call the police for Miss Knox. I just had a bad feeling about her. Besides, the ghost did say to help her. So I called the police. I made up a lie and told them that I saw a strange man on the corner house of Ave. H and 1st street. They said they were on their way. I turned on the ignition on my truck and this time it started. Then I drove to August’s house.
When I arrived, I felt relieved to see that the police officers were already at Miss Knox’s house. My feeling and the experience I had could have been wrong, but I would need to see that myself. I parked the truck and got off and walked to August’s house. Her porch light was on and the door was opened. Maybe I was right about Miss Knox but I wish I wasn’t.
As I walked toward August’s house, I heard someone crying. I recognized the weeping from before. It was from the phantom. Was Miss Knox dead? I turned around to see where the crying was coming from. It was Miss Knox and she was alive. She was walking out of her house with an officer escorting her. She looked pretty bad. Her eyes had rings of black around them and she had a cut on her right cheek. She walked toward me.
“Thank you, Donavan,” she said as she smiled at me and gave me a hug. I nodded my head and smiled at her as a ‘you’re welcome’ gesture. Then her smile turned into a frown. She grabbed my hand and burst into tears. “I’m so sorry,” she said. I just looked at her with curiosity. I didn’t know what she meant by that?
Then, right behind Miss Knox, were more officers and they were holding someone in handcuffs. It was male, about 6’0 feet, and he had long brown hair. He had a beard and he looked around his early forty’s. He terrified me with the look on his face. He was smiling, but with a destructive smile. Then he stared at me.
“I know you,” he said as he pointed at me and he started laughing. I never met him in my entire life. But what scared me the most was the way he laughed. It was devilish. I turned around and continued toward August’s front door. All of a sudden an officer rushed out of the front door and stopped me.
“Can I help you sir?” he asked.
“I came to see my girlfriend. I’m the one that reported the strange man fifteen minutes ago for next door,” I said.
“Oh,” he said.
“I want to see August,” I said.
“Well, uh, you can’t right now, sir.” I didn’t like the sound of his voice. He talked with a voice of unsureness. As if something was wrong.
“Where’s August?” I asked.
“Sir—,” but I cut him off, bumped shoulders with him, and ran into August’s house.
As I entered August’s house, I heard the officer say behind me, “Sir don’t go in there.” But it was too late. I didn’t listen and I should have. I was not prepared for what I saw. My heart felt crushed, my soul felt taken, and my life felt dead. There laid the lifeless body of August in her living room. The love of my life was gone. She laid there with her throat slit and her face and arms beaten. Her nightgown was up to her waist as if she was raped. And on her right hand, she held a picture of her and me. I yelled and I cried out loud. There was a trail of blood from the phone by the front door, to the living room where she laid. I fell on my knees and yelled out loud, “No.” I made my hands in a fist and brought them up in front of me and cried “Why?” hoping that maybe God or someone would answer me. I felt like I no longer had a reason to live. So many dreams I had with her were now gone. The love of my life, was no longer part of my life.
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