A Car In The Woods; Chapter Two
It was a nice day for a drive.
Doris was still giddy, breaking in her new Ford Falcon. It was a far cry from the family sedan that her father, grudgingly, had allowed her to occasionally drive while she was living at home. He always acquiesced. She went away for college, their ties fraying further. After graduating Doris dove into working with a local theater company. It didn’t pay much, but that really wasn’t an issue for her.
Her grandmother, Beverly, left her a nice trust fund that partially kicked in at 21, fully at 25. Her father ruthlessly oversaw the trust. The allotted monthly allowance allowed Doris her own small apartment, with enough left for food and other incidentals. But not for what she desired. She wanted her own car. To move around freely, not needing a favor from anyone. He initially refused. Doris was fed up; it took some brutal persuasion with her father to change that. A ruthless haggling session soon followed. Her father swore he was done with her.
Doris didn’t care. She owned a car!
The day she set out was cloud free, the sun’s rays beaming brightly along the countryside she was passing through. Her scarf kept her long brunette hair in place, letting the wind whip through open windows. Doris had no firm destination in mind beyond “go north.” The new interstate road was an easy choice; it wandered up and around, passing through towns both large and small. Close to three hours into her expedition, Doris saw a sign for a town she had never heard of. The road to it veered off to the left from the interstate.
Doris pulled over to the side of the road, the Falcon purring as it idled. “Go adventuring, or stay on the interstate” she murmured to herself. Looking at the car’s dashboard, Doris noticed that she’d need gas sooner than she had thought. Her stomach’s grumbling sealed the deal. Checking for traffic, Doris put her left arm out to signal she’d be making a left back onto the road. The arm stayed that way as Doris made a left onto Outlook Road.
Twenty-odd minutes later, Doris nosed the Falcon into a spot in front of the Outlook Diner. She had already filled the Falcon’s tank at the station on the edge of the town. Putting the car into Park, Doris pulled up the emergency brake and turned off the engine. The pings of the engine cooling down sounded at her back as she entered the diner.
The waitress behind the counter pointed to the overhead letter board menu and told her to sit anywhere she’d like; she’d be over to take her order in a jiffy. A couple of booths were available, as well as some of the counter seats. Doris walked to the back corner booth, sitting, so she had a view of the entire Diner. The waitress soon glided over with a steaming pot of coffee, reciting the day’s soup and special.
It wasn’t a hard choice for Doris. First, she declined the coffee. Then she ordered her usual.
“I’ll have a grilled cheese with tomato, please. Oh, and a Chocolate Malted.”
The waitress wrote it down, nodded, and melted away behind the counter.
Doris arranged, then rearranged, the silverware that had already been set. She was reading the placemat, every now and then glancing around, taking notice of the various people, their clothing, and catching bits of conversations around her. The food and drink shortly arrived. Doris took a long sip of her malted, closed her eyes slightly as the taste hit her tongue, and she let out a very satisfied “Ah!”
A laugh came from the counter area near her. Doris looked over, and her cheeks went pink. She had noticed him on one of her glances: young, around her age, she guessed; cute, by what she saw of his profile; clean white shirt and JEANS; but it was his hair that held her at first. She didn’t know anyone who still wore a Ducktail unless it was in the movies or on TV.
It didn’t matter. She felt it looked good on him.
Doris started to turn away, cheeks blooming red at that point when he walked over.
“Hey, sorry, wasn’t tryin’ to embarrass you. Just thought your ‘Ah’ and the look on your face was really cute.” Once he realized Doris wasn’t going to speak, he added: “Mind if I join you? I’m Al, by the way.”
Al stuck out his hand. Doris lightly returned his strong grasp and nodded for him to sit. Doris fidgeted a little, finally telling him her name. Questions followed, back and forth, the where and whys, a conversation blooming about all the sorts of things that revolved around two young people attracted to the other.
Doris never touched her grilled cheese with tomato. The malted was drained dry. Al had dared her to steal something from the table; they had progressed that far. She complied.
Offering to play tour guide, Al showed her all of the two places that were of any interest in Outlook. “But,” he said with a wink, “there’s this area…”
Nestled in a grove of trees way off the road, the car engine was cold, but the interior of the Falcon was anything but as the sun started to let the evening sky approach. The talking and laughing slowly turned to light kisses, gentle hugs, the stroking of hair. Al didn’t want his DT messed with, which only made Doris go in for the attack.
Which led to deeper kissing, some fondling on her part, then his. Doris’s heart was pumping fast. It matched the level she felt during her last altercation with her father. Her hands were moving along his arms, behind his neck, traveling down his back. She bit his lip. Tongues met.
Then Al, whose right hand had been on her breast, moved down to her leg and slowly caressed her skin, from knee to thigh, to…
Doris pushed Al away, hard enough that the window handle and armrest were crushing his side and ribs. She yelled “DADDY NO!” while he yelped in pain as he was being pushed into the side of the door. Panting, the two of them eyed each other. Al tried to slide closer to her, only to receive the same treatment. A string of uncomplimentary words left his mouth.
Doris hauled back and broke his nose.
He was on her in a flash, slapping her hands away, slapping her face. Doris’s dress tore as she tried to again push him away, exposing just a glimpse of the swell of her left breast. Her head thumped against the car door, leaving her prone on the bench seat. Al tugged her down further. Doris’s skirt rode up her thighs. They struggled against the other.
Al knocked her left hand away. Doris had been trying to scratch him, again. Her hand landed on her pocketbook. She reached in, fumbled around, not knowing what…then, she remembered.
He dared her.
Doris grabbed the diner’s knife and fork, moving them so that the pointy ends were turned towards Al, and as her panties were pulled off, she struck.
Again. And again.
The seats were slippery enough, making it easy for Doris to pull Al out of the car. She left him on the ground, backed up the Falcon, and wobbly drove the car forward.
Except, it was full dark, and she didn’t have the presence of mind to turn on the headlights. Cutting through the trees at 45 mph, the Falcon met a large Basswood head on.
The car was dead when she came to. Grabbing her bag, she staggered out of the Falcon, blood from a head cut running down to meet Al’s blood on her dress. She was just moving, moving, moving…
Until the silence of the woods gave way to a bone-numbing clicking sound.
The next night, two teenagers were heading to Make Out Point. They did what they went to do, started to drive off when the headlights caught the wreck of the Falcon. They both looked: no one was there, but there was blood inside. A lot of it.
The Sheriff and his deputies found nothing, again. Asking around, the waitress told them about the pretty girl and Al. She never mentioned that the silverware was missing from the table.
Sheriff John had had it. Nine people missing, presumed dead, in the last year and a half.
He was going to take early retirement after the weekend.
He never made it.
There was a car in the woods.