Blood Alley A Short Story
It was midnight, the moon was full and the black top was empty except for the Semi truck barreling south on Hwy 27 toward Miami, Florida. The only noise was the sound of the wheels whining on the blacktop, the soft squawk of the CB radio and the local Country and Western radio station playing a song about lies and lost loves.
The driver was a forty something redneck who drove out of Georgia. His name was Robert Haines, but everyone called him Bubba. He was a fast driving, dip spitting, boot wearing overweight wheel holder. He had been married and divorced more times than he could count. His ex-wives all told him they could not take his being gone twenty nine days out of the month. Plus, they all knew he strayed while he was on the road. They had the cell phone bills to prove it.
This full moon night Bubba Haines was running behind schedule. He had a layover in South Georgia. It had to do with his latest relationship gone south. She had tossed all of his possessions on the front lawn after he had come home smelling of beer and women’s perfume. Bubba had to find a place to store his stuff until he could get back to Georgia. That was why he was running behind. So his mind was not on the road as much as it was on finding him a place to hang his hat when he got back to Georgia.
“Damn women.” He said out loud. “They aren’t worth nothing. They just don’t understand a man’s needs. I gave them all my money and a place to live what more could they want.”
With the last thought he put the pedal to the metal and began cruising south at a comfortable speed of 85 MPH on Hwy 27 better known as Blood Alley. As he cruised along lost in thought and still cussing the bitch out for making him fall behind, he saw a pair of red eyes in the middle of the road. Bubba started slowing down using his Jake brakes and pushing his foot brake and clutch thru the transmission. The semi slid to a halt with white smoke pouring out from under the wheels. The truck came to rest about twenty feet from the very large grey looking dog like animal. It glared at him for a full minute and then loped off to his right into the trees along the road. In the glare of the large truck headlights, the animal appeared to be a very large ugly dog. He had pointed ears, two fairly long canine teeth, one on each side of his long pointed snout. Red Salvia dripped from these teeth like glittering blood red rubies on a chain. This creature had a long shaggy dark grey colored coat. His tail was almost as long as his slim body. His paws looked like the size of small saucers.
Bubba watched as the creature disappeared into the trees and wondered what kind of dog would be in this part of the country that looked like he did. Bubba crossed his arms over the steering wheel and looked out his bug ridden windshield into the night.
Bubba knew he was tired. He had been driving way past the ten hour legal limit. He had only stopped to gas up and relieve his bladder. He had not even stopped to eat. He had grabbed junk food and eaten as he drove. Bubba had to be in Miami at five o’clock the next morning. The load had to be dropped or he was out of a job.
As Bubba continued to look out the windshield he thought his exhaustion had finally caught up with him. He rubbed his tired red eyes and looked again.
“What the hell?” He asked out loud to the darkness.
Bubba put his truck engine in idle, his headlights on bright, opened his truck door and climbed out of the rig. He slowly walked toward the thing that was lying in the middle of the highway.
As he walked in front of the truck, the thing was bathed in shadows. Bubba was blocking the light from the driver’s side headlight. To Bubba the thing resembled a very large buck.
“Man, this thing must be a twelve point.” He said to no one. “I have to see if there is enough of the head to save and mount.”
As Bubba neared the thing in the road, something did not seem quite right. There appeared to be something missing. He just could not figure what it was. The part of his brain that controlled the thought process was still seeing buck, the part that controlled his eyes was seeing something that only had two legs.
Bubba took off his baseball cap and scratched his head as he got closer to the thing in the road. When he had almost reached the dead thing he started putting his cap back on his head while his brain kicked in his gag reflexes. Bubba proceeded to throw up all over the road. The smell was something out of a very bad horror movie. The dark puddle of what looked and smelled like blood covered most of both lanes of the two lane road. The body was ripped, shredded and mangled like it had been attacked by a savage beast.
The body had been taken down by its throat, and then the stomach had been ripped open with what looked like teeth. Bubba had finally reached the thing in the road and could tell it was not an animal. But when he saw the face he promptly threw up on it until he had dry heaves.
The face of what was left of the thing in the road at one time had been human. Not only had it been human but it had been a very large man. Bubba could see the eyes which were still open and the fear in them, even in death. He saw the bulging triceps and what was left of the lower arms. This person would not have gone down with out a fight.
When Bubba finally recovered from his latest fit of losing his junk food, he said, “Damn. I wonder what got a hold of this dude. And why was he on this road this time of night and where is his vehicle?”
Bubba looked south of the body and about thirty yards down was another semi. The lights shinning were just the small red parking lights. Bubba had missed seeing them when he saw the creature in the middle of the road.
Bubba ran back to his truck and opened to door to get back in and raise someone on his CB. He had tried using his cell phone but could not get a signal.
“Breaker 19, he said into the mike. Breaker, Breaker 19. I have an emergency on Hwy 27 about five miles past mile marker 230. There is a dead trucker in the middle of the road with his insides hanging out of his body. I need someone here now. How about it, anybody out there?”
A disembodied voice finally came back over the CB. “Hey, good buddy, this is Smoky Joe, come back.”
“Hey, Smokey Joe, this is Traveling Jack, I was cruising south on Blood Alley and I almost ran over a big dog in the road, he was chewing on something. When I got out of the rig and looked I saw it was another trucker. Can you get the Florida Highway Patrol down here? This guy is a mess. I have no idea who he is. His rig is on the side of the road about thirty yards down.”
“10-4, I will get them on the horn right now. I am about fifteen minutes behind you. Stay put help is on the way.”
“Roger, out.” Bubba said as he signed off.
Bubba sat in his truck and looked at the body still lying in the road. He wondered what or who could have killed that driver with such savagery. He had been driving for many years and he knew how tough the drivers were. They did not go down easy. Bubba lay his head back against his seat and closed his eyes. He knew he would have to stay right here until law enforcement arrived. Now he would really be late. His boss was not going to be happy. But he figured better to piss off his boss than be charged with leaving the scene of a crime.
Bubba didn’t know how long he slept. In fact he did not even realize he had fallen asleep. His eyes jerked open by the banging on the top of his truck. It sounded like someone or something was trying to rip off the roof of his cab. The bang, bang, bang was like a hammer pounding his head. Without thinking Bubba snatched open the door of the cab.
“What the hell is going on?” He yelled at the top of the cab. “Who ever you are get the hell off my truck.”
Those were the last words Bubba Haines remembered speaking. The last sight he remembered seeing were two red eyes. The next thing Bubba knew someone was shining a light in his eyes and saying, “Just relax, we are going to get you taken care of.”
“What do you mean get me taken care of? I‘m fine.”
With those words Bubba tried to sit up and found he had been placed on a stretcher. When his eyes focused he saw an EMT standing over him. There was an IV inserted in his right arm with fluid dripping into his veins.
“What the hell is going on?” Bubba asked again.
Just then a man in uniform walked up to Bubba.
“We pulled up behind your rig right before you were going to be dog food.” The officer said.
“Bubba said, “What?”
The officer said, “Yeah, when we arrived we saw this huge dog trying to rip your head off. My partner and I fired off a couple of rounds, the bastard looked at us as if he was going to run right through us and then he took off into that grove of trees to the right.”
Bubba felt his head. It seemed to be still intact, but there were several bite marks that would need stitches.
The officer said, “Are you the one that found the body?”
Bubba replied as he was still making sure his major body parts were still intact. “Yep, that was me. The only reason I didn’t run over it was because there was a giant dog standing over it. This dog was the largest dog I have ever seen. It looked like it had blood red eyes. As soon as the truck lights hit it, it ran off into that same grove of trees.”
The cop said, “It looks like this thing may have killed the other guy. I guess you were going to be dessert.”
Bubba was carted off to the local hospital and the cops cleaned up the scene. The crime lab picked up what was left of the first body. They impounded the truck to check for evidence. When the truck was analyzed the crime lab could not believe what they found. They tested it again and again. Still the evidence remained the same. The hairs found on the top of the truck were gray in color, course, and not like anything else they had ever tested. It was not human, but yet not quite animal. The DNA did not match any thing known to even those who had been doing crime scenes for years. The police went back out to the place where the body was first found. There was no evidence. Bubba was released from the hospital and was finally allowed to get his truck out of impound. The crime scene boys had taken evidence from his truck too. The load had been released earlier and another driver had taken it on to Miami.
The driver who had told Bubba he would be there at the scene in about fifteen minutes the night of the crime, never showed up. However, his truck was found several days later about fifteen miles up the road on hwy 27. He was no where to be found. It was like he just left the rig parked in the middle of the road. The only leads were the same evidence that was found on the first two trucks. The cops were baffled. They had never had a crime like this before. Not only were they baffled, they were at a loss. They went back to the crime scene time after time. They took the blood hounds and they went crazy at the scene, but when they were turned loose into the trees, they never came back. They lost several good dogs that way.
Bubba took his rig back to Georgia several days later. He had to dead head because there was no load going back. When he got back to his terminal, his boss told him there was another load going back to Miami.
“After the last time, do you want the load?” The boss asked.
“Man, I have to. The last few days has just about killed me money wise. I don’t believe in ghosts and I don’t believe it was something that can’t be explained. I will take the load.” Bubba said, as he walked to the office to get his manifest.
That night Bubba left again headed to Miami. Once again it was at night that he pulled out of the terminal headed south. Bubba took the same route as the last time. Bubba knew it was the fastest route. This time Bubba took his Smith and Wesson semi automatic. He was determined to stop what ever it was that tried to keep him from getting his load delivered.
The tires whined, the CB squawked, the radio played cheating songs on his favorite Country and Western Station. Bubba only stopped for fuel and the restroom. He was not going to be denied. Not this time.
As Bubba approached the same mile marker where he had last seen the creature, he started looking all around him. The moon was still full and the silver light that emulated from it danced off the blacktop. Bubba did not see any signs of bodies in the road or large grey four legged creatures with teeth that were in need of dental surgery, at least not on that stretch of road. But thirty miles down the road was another story.
As Bubba crossed a single lane bridge over a canal, he saw, what appeared a very large gray dog in the middle of the road. When the headlights hit the dog’s face, it stared in defiance at the semi. Then it bounded off into the trees to the right of the truck. Bubba’s truck lumbered over the bridge and continued to Miami. Bubba sat back and began to enjoy the trip. He was about three hours out and he knew he was going to make his destination in plenty of time to get a few hours of shut eye.
Life was good again. While he was in Georgia, he and his latest honey had patched things up. When she saw the bandages on his arm, she took him back.
Bubba laughed to himself, “Maybe I should wear bandages all the time. That would keep her around.”
Humming along with the radio, Bubba felt right with his world. That was before he saw the semi sitting in the middle of the dark highway.
Bubba sensed something in the road before he saw it. Again he used his jack brakes to slow the truck down. When he finally got stopped he was just inches from the rear of the truck.
“Damn, not again.” He said to the darkness. “This is really pissing me off.”
Bubba grabbed his gun, opened his door and stepped out. “Hello, any one out there?” He asked as he stepped to the ground. “Hello. I said is anyone out there?”
Nothing but silence greeted him. Bubba slowly approached the front of the semi in front of his semi. As he walked down the side of the trailer he looked underneath it. He saw nothing. As he got to the back of the tractor part, he stopped.
Hanging out the driver’s side door was the driver. That is what was left. His head was mangled beyond recognition. His left arm was dangling from his shoulder by a very small piece of skin. His left leg was completely gone. There was a pool of blood large enough to almost swim in. Bubba went stone still. His eyes could not tear themselves away from the horrific sight. He wanted to vomit, scream and run all at the same time. But his brain couldn’t get his body to cooperate. It was as if the two entities had lost all communication with each other.
“Feet, start running.” Bubba said out loud. But they would not move. He groped on the side of his belt for his cell phone. It wasn’t there. He felt all along his waist. No phone. Panic became his best friend. The smith and Wesson he held in his right hand fell to the ground with a clatter. His teeth chattered and his bodily functions took on a life of their own. Bubba’s skin became cold and clammy. His heart pounded, his pulse raced, but yet his body still would not move. His mind kept saying “Run, fool run.” His body stood frozen.
Bubba had no idea how long he stood in that one spot looking at what remained of a person. He had no idea he had soiled himself until he smelled the order. That was what jarred his brain and body to talk to each other.
“Oh, Shit.” He exclaimed. “What the hell is going on? Who or what is doing this?”
Of course there were no answers. As Bubba’s body began its slow return to normalcy, he forced himself to walk back to his truck for clean clothes. He opened the small side door next to the driver door to retrieve his duffle bag. He took out a clean pair of jeans, socks and underwear. He also found the roll of toilet tissue he had put in the compartment for emergencies.
He thought to himself, “If there ever was one, this is it.”
Bubba stripped down, cleaned himself up and walked to the edge of the road and started to toss his soiled jeans and underwear in the trees. He was not about to take them with him. That was when he saw the eyes.
Bubba had picked up the Smith and Wesson before he had walked back to his truck. He had stuck it in the waistband of his pants. He reached for it now. Bubba pulled back the slide and slid a hollow point bullet into the chamber. He had the gun set on single shot instead of repeat. He fired into the area where he saw the eyes. He heard what sounded like a human scream and the eyes disappeared. Bubba froze with his gun still raised and both hands on the end of the handle.
“What was that?” He said out loud. “Surely, there is no one in those trees. It is not possible.”
Bubba started to fire again but he didn’t see anything. He turned and walked back to the truck. He walked the truck like he was doing a pre- trip inspection to make sure nothing had been disturbed. He got in the truck and found his cell phone. No signal. He got on his CB and once again tried to reach another driver. Dead silence. The other truck was in the lane he needed the north bound was empty. Bubba put the truck in reverse and backed up enough so he could go around. He figured he would call it in once he got down the road. Bubba heard a thump.
“Now what?” He said to the darkness. Bubba didn’t get out of the truck, he just put it in gear and put the pedal to the floor. He flew past the dead man and the other truck and never looked back.
Ten miles down the long dark road, Bubba came to a short order diner. The yellow neon light flashed off and on. The name of the diner was Grey Wolf. Bubba thought that was odd, as he had been to many mom and pop diners in his lifetime as a truck driver, they were usually named after the owners. Bubba parked the big rig and climbed down from his truck. He still could not get a signal on his cell or his CB. He figured maybe there was a phone inside he could use to call the authorities.
Bubba walked into the diner and sat at the counter. There were only a couple of customers in the diner which Bubba thought was odd, since he had not seen any cars in the lot. Bubba sat down next to a weathered old man at the counter. His hair was snow white, his face was full of wrinkles and had the look of deep brown leather. His hands were calloused and his fingernails were of dirt. He had what appeared to be tobacco spittle in the corners of his mouth. He held a lit cigarette between the first two fingers of his left hand. They were brownish yellow with tobacco stains. His teeth were long and yellow from years of smoking and dipping.
Bubba pulled a menu from its holder and looked at it. The waitress behind the counter said, “Coffee?”
Bubba nodded without looking up. She waited with pencil in hand to take his order. Bubba said, “What’s good?”
The waitress and the old man laughed at the same time. Bubba looked up and said, “Okay, what’s the joke?”
The waitress said, “How about a plate of homemade Bar-B-Que? It is the special of the day. We only serve it during full moons. It makes the sauce better.”
Bubba put down the menu and said, “Bar-B –Que it is.” Then he took a sip of his coffee.
The old man was staring at Bubba, so to be friendly Bubba struck up a conversation with him.
He said, “I was just on Blood Alley making a run to Miami. I saw a big rig in the middle of the road with a dead driver sitting in the driver’s seat. He was not just dead he was mutilated. I need a phone to call the authorities.”
The old man laughed a coarse sour laugh. His yellowed teeth struck a cord in Bubba’s memory as he said, “Boy, you ain’t going to get no phone signal here. There are no phones. This is scared land.”
Bubba looked puzzled. “You mean like Indian land?” He asked still watching the old man with funny colored eyes.
“You could say that.” The old man replied as he picked up his fork with his large dirty hands and stuck a bit of bar be que in his mouth.
Bubba watched the man eat. Something wasn’t quite right. He still could not put his finger on it. The old man appeared to be just another old man from the swamps of Florida. But there was something different.
Bubba said, “How come they never put phone lines here?”
The old man said, “Well, boy, it is a long story. But the short version is one time they tried, but the linemen kept disappearing. The cops could never find out why. They finally put it off on the gator population.” The old man laughed again. “It weren’t gators.”
Bubba’s plate of food was put in front of him. It looked good and smelled even better. He picked his fork up to eat.
The old man looked at him intently and said, “Boy when you eat that you will never want to eat anything else again. Trust me.” Then the old man laughed so hard he had a coughing fit.
Bubba asked as he pushed a forkful of meat into his mouth, “Why is that?”
The old man said, “You will see.” Then he looked at the woman behind the counter and winked. She smiled. Bubba could see her yellow stained teeth with the longer fang like eye teeth on each side of her mouth. Bubba still could not put the memory together. Something kept nagging at the back of his mind. He kept eating and enjoying it. The old man was right this stuff was the best bar b que he had ever eaten.
The old man slapped Bubba on the back and said, “Well, boy how do you like it.? Pretty good stuff, huh?”
Bubba nodded his mouth still full. As he swallowed he said, “I still have to get that trucker seen about. I can’t leave him and his rig out there on the road.”
The old man said with his eyes now in slits, “Boy, it has already been taken care of. Now you don’t fret about it. The truck has been moved and the trucker has been disposed of.”
Bubba looked at the old man with surprise. “How so, I just told you about it not more than twenty minutes ago? Who is taking care of it, and how is he being taken care of?”
Again the old man looked at the woman they both smiled, their yellow teeth shining in the neon lights of the diner.
The old man said, “All things in good time, my boy. All things in good time. Just enjoy your supper. Let it settle on your stomach and then I will show you.”
By this time Bubba knew he could no more not finish eating than he could not drive for a living. It was like the food owned him. He could not get enough. When he had finished his first plate of food, he asked the woman if he could possibly have another. She nodded and went to the kitchen to replenish his plate.
The old man nodded, “Yep, this one was going to be good.”
The woman brought the plate back and set it in front of Bubba. He didn’t even bother with a fork, he picked the meat up with his hands and shoved it in his mouth. The more he ate the fast he ate and the more he became ravenous. Bubba was at a loss. He didn’t know what was happening to him. He couldn’t get full. When the second plate was empty, the woman didn’t bother asking she just brought him another. Bubba stopped even trying to drink his coffee, he just ate and ate and ate.
Then he heard the sound. The howl. It was a long mournful howl. Bubba lifted his head from the plate, he had food dripping from his mouth and his fingers. His eyes were wide and his ears had become super sensitive. He could hear sounds miles away. He heard the mosquitoes in the swamp, the gators grunting and the calling of the nocturnal animals to each other in the dark. But most of all his sense of smell had grown to astronomical proportions. He could smell a female.
The old man and the woman saw this change in Bubba. They continued to look at each other and to Bubba. They saw him sniff the air. The saw his eyes change to the red they each had in their own eyes. They saw him wolf down the plates of food like a ravenous dog. They saw him sense the female.
The old man said to the woman, “Yep, it was a good choice.”
She nodded and smiled, “It sure was. Now she won’t be grieving herself to death over the other one.”
Bubba, with his mouth full said, “What female and what other one?”
The old man grinned and the woman said, “The female is our daughter and the other one was her mate. You killed him up the road with your truck.”
Bubba stopped eating in midstride and looked at the woman. “How did you know I hit something?”
The woman said, “She told us.”
Bubba said, “She who and how did she know?”
The woman said, “She is our daughter and she knew because she was in the grove of trees and she saw it all.”
The old man laughed. “Boy, you just got your new mate tonight.”
Bubba looked at the old man and said, “I did what?” Then he sniffed the air again. He could smell her. He wanted her.
The old man said, “Yep, your new mate. You see boy, around these parts when a mate is killed the survivor picks a new one. Her mate was killed and she picked you. She said she liked how you handled yourself. She said that you were not afraid of anything. She knew you and her would make great pups.”
Bubba looked at the old man and then the woman. “What do you mean, pups? Don’t you mean children? And I don’t even know who this woman is?”
The woman laughed out loud then. “Boy, yes you do, you have been smelling her for a while now. You know exactly who she is and you want her, too.”
Bubba stopped shoveling food in his mouth. The remains of the last handful dripped down the sides of his mouth like blood. He didn’t bother to wipe his mouth or hands with the napkin which lay next to the plate. He used the back of his hand. Something was not right. The hand he used to wipe his mouth felt funny. He looked at it in surprise. The hand had more hair on the back of it than he had previously remembered.
The old man laughed a belly laugh that sounded more like a howl.
“Boy”, he said, “You have just been made one of us. That was the restitution for killing the girl’s mate.”
Bubba looked at the old man in horror. “What the hell do you mean?” He almost shrieked. “I am now one of you?”
The woman behind the counter said, “That bar b que you just wolfed down, it was her mate. You have taken on his soul. Welcome home, son.” Then the woman threw back her head and howled loudly.
The old man followed suite. The diner suddenly filled with dark grey dog like creatures. The males swarmed Bubba and sniffed him. It was a rite of acceptance into the pack. Bubba tried to get away, but every time he moved the wolves came closer. The old man growled and got between Bubba and the pack, he bared his yellow teeth and dared the males to come any closer.
The door flung itself open and in walked the most beautiful light grey female Bubba had ever seen. Her eyes were blood red, her coat the color of light granite. Her snout small and elegant, yet long. Her teeth had not yet started turning the dull yellow of the rest of the pack.
The woman behind the counter stretched her grey paw and said, “Daughter, your mate.”
The young female walked to Bubba and looked in his eyes. She saw something, it was the soul of the one he had killed. The young female bit Bubba on his nose and then licked the blood. She smiled then turned and walked toward the door.
Bubba was at a loss for words, but yet he had this insatiable desire to follow the female. The old man sensed this and made the pack move.
“She belongs to him, now.” The old man said to the rest of the pack. “Don’t hinder this union. I command it.”
The pack backed off. They parted as if they were the red sea.
The woman behind the counter said. “Go, she is waiting. She will show you what to do.”
Bubba looked at the old man and the old woman. He looked at his hands they were now covered in dark grey course hair. He felt the need to howl. The old man knew this.
He said, “Go on boy, howl, hunt and mate. Your new life has begun.”
Bubba lopped out the door and the young female was waiting. She led and he followed. They traveled fifteen miles up Blood Alley. The night had a full moon.
There was a semi tooling down the two lane black top. The driver was cussing his latest ex-wife, dipping Coppenhagen and listening the lying and cheating songs on the local country and western station. He saw the thing in the road. He started using his jake bracks to slow down. It looked like a very large dog with red eyes.
copywrite @2007 Yvonne Mason