Here’s a rather extended writer’s prompt: Bob’s Road
My truck bumps it’s way down “Bob’s Road.”
I know Gabby’s scared. Her gaze darts around – out the windshield, the passenger window, the driver’s window – repeat. It’s all I can do to stifle my grin. My “cheesy-ass grin” she calls it. She’d know something’s up if I gave away that smile.
“It’s so dark.” Gabby tucks her hair behind her ear.
“There’s no moon tonight. It’s perfect for seeing the Milky Way.”
“I know, but. . . still. You have a flashlight right?”
“Actually, I forgot it. I didn’t mean to, I set it on the counter and, well, it stayed there. Sorry.”
She glances out the windows again.
I open the back door and collect the blanket. Then pat my pocket, feel the hard little bump, it’s there safe and sound. Satisfied, I walk around the truck. “Come on.”
“I can barely see you.”
“I know, but look up.”
She pauses. “Wow, Danny. I’ve never seen so many stars.”
I glance up at the sparkling sky. Then spread out the blanket. “Here. Lie down.” I take Gabby’s hand and guide her to lie beside me. She rests her head on my shoulder, turns slightly inward so her hand is on my chest, her fingers intertwined through the buttons of my shirt, she strokes my chest hair. How I wish I could purr. I wrap my arm around her shoulders and hug her close.
Tonight’s the night. I’ve made sure it’s a night she’ll never forget.
I love her approval. “That’s a crazy number of stars.”
Gabby’s body stiffens. “Did you hear that?”
I grin. “Hear what?”
“Shh.” She sits up.
“What?” I whisper, sitting up beside her.
“There it is again!”
“What do you hear?” Although, I really can hear it.
“It sounds like scraping on the road. There it is again. . . again.” She grips my bicep. “It’s getting closer. Let’s get in the truck.”
I look over my shoulder. “I hear it now.” Being in the dark, the scraping footsteps, suddenly feels like a bad idea. My stomach clenches. “In the truck. Yeah, that’s a good idea.”
We stand up, I grab the blanket and the dragging steps get closer. Great job guys, maybe a little too good. My heart is racing. I put my arm around Gabby and guide her the few steps to the truck. I open the door, the interior light flicks on, and she climbs in.
The light doesn’t reach down the road. I can’t see the guys from the glare. I slam the door closed and the light snuffs out.
“There’s shadows.” Her voice is muffled on the other side of the glass, but I can see her silhouetted fingers point out the front window.
I glance in the same direction. Yes, shadows, of three people dragging their feet, arms hanging limp by their sides–walking towards us.
“Danny!” She screams.
The shadows are in front of the truck, arms reaching out. I race around the box to the driver’s door. I grip the handle and a hand clamps onto my forearm.
“DANNYYYYYY!” Gabby screams my name over and over inside the truck. “Get in the truck! Danny! Get in the truck!”
Thumping on metal, I hear the guys banging their arms on the hood.
I’m freaking out and I’m the one that set this up. These are my friends. I told them to do this!
The hand on my arm squeezes and I scream — high and loud. I yank the hand off and reach again for the driver’s door. A hand lands on my shoulder, a moaning growls in my ear. Then clacking of teeth rattling together.
Damn the movies and my imagination.
I swear, yank the handle and the door opens. Both Gabby’s screams and interior light escape into the blackness. “Watch out!”
I turn around. The zombie, looking very much like Kevin, stretches his arms out for me.
“Get in!” Gabby grabs my shoulders and pulls on my jacket. My brain says it’s Kevin, but my adrenaline rushes and my heart pounds. I told him to dress up. Why am I scared? What is wrong with me?
Kevin charges me, reaching for my chest as I scramble backwards onto the driver’s seat.
Gabby yanking me in. “Close the door!”
Kevin is in the door, in the truck, gnashing his teeth, blood on his face. Lose skin. Missing flesh.“
I can’t,” I yell.
I’m shrieking. Gabby’s shrieking.
I push on his shoulders. He growls. Eyes playing straight into mine. It is Kevin. He is in there.
Gabby screams again and as I push the zombie out of the truck, I throw a glance over my shoulder. Chad and Wilson are up against her window, clawing at the glass. Biting their teeth together. Chad’s drool drips down her window.
They look so real. I shove Kevin again, but he shoves back. He grabs my shirt, rips it open, and the buttons fly off.
“What the hell? What the hell?” I scramble back across the seat, but he lunges into the truck and lands on top of me. Gabby hammer punches his shoulders to get him off. Kevin buries his face into my chest. I scream and scream and — phffffffft.
Zombie Kevin gives me a sherbert. For a few seconds everything freezes. Dead silence.
Laughter starts outside Gabby’s window. Kevin looks up, his makeup smeared, my chest hair covered in fake blood and bits of fallen rubber flesh. Kevin laughs. “This was awesome, man. You played along amazingly.”
My laugh comes out as a high pitched wheeze. Played along. “Yeah, you guys did, did, uh, great.” My heart pounds, adrenaline courses, limbs vibrate.
Gabby looks from Kevin to me, out her window at Chad and Wilson. Then back at me. “You did this?” Mascara streaks her wet cheeks.
I give her my cheesy grin. “Surprise?”
“I hate you.” She crosses her arms. “Take me home.”
“Don’t you ‘honey’ me, Danny. I can’t believe you did this.”
Kevin backs out of the truck. “Operation Scare Tactic complete.”
I turn to Gabby. “At this point, we should all be laughing right now.”
Gabby turns her back to me. “Take me home. Now.”
“This was supposed to be a night you’ll remember forever.”
“Oh, I’ll never forget it. I nearly peed my pants! For what? A joke? Very funny, Danny.”
She nearly peed? “Really?”
“Sorry.” I reach into my pocket, no longer sure this is the right time, but it was next on my agenda and I tend to run on auto-pilot. “Hey Gabby?”
“What?” Her chin tips up, I can imagine the eye roll that goes along with it.
“Look at me,” I say it as softly as I can, aiming for romantic.
She huffs out a breath, looks over her shoulder and glares at me.
I hold up the ring. “Will you marry me?”