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Snippet of Tales to Terrify: Harrison Demchick, Tailgating

From Audio: Tales to Terrify 433 Harrison Demchick

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Duration: 06:10
Henry and his wife argue over a stupid purchase he'd made, but are shocked to see their daughter in the backseat of the car in front of them, even though she sits right behind them.
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Henry and his wife argue over a stupid purchase he'd made, but are shocked to see their daughter in the backseat of the car in front of them, even though she sits right behind them. Was that really her? Or just another little girl wearing pigtails and a visible owl necklace? Then he notices the license plate number and recognizes the back bumper, it's his car?
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and the car jolted a yard shy of the silver car in front of them, Henry instinctively spun around again, where Tyra now faced him. Confusion in the slate blue eyes should inherited from her mother, but she seemed otherwise unfazed. And after a moment turned back toward the rear window, Ernie continued to sleep, a line of pale white drool marking his chin. Henry turned his eyes forward again. He looked at the silver car, moving swiftly. Several yards ahead, he saw Tyra staring through the window back at him. This took a moment to register the familiarity of the face and the back window of the other car. The roundness of the eyes, the bend of the ears, the pigtails one sitting upon the small ledge before the window and the other dropping behind the seats, the owl pendant dangling from her neck. Henry looked over his shoulder toward the back seat of their car. They're tyrus at looking at the back window, one ponytail sitting on the ledge, the other dropping toward her lower back. He turned again to the car in front of them. The girl in the car stared at him. Henry stared at her it's Tyra, Henry said. What said Rebecca. A little lightly in the car, Henry said, pointing out past the windshield. Rebecca followed his finger to the car in front of them. The girl watched impassively as the evening sunlight reflected silver orange off the frame of the car, shadows moved behind her in the front seat. She does look like Tyra, said Rebecca. No, it's Tyra, Henry said. It's come on, Henry. The license plate. What? Look at the license plate. She did Look at the license plate visible now that their car had fallen farther behind the other Maryland tags 50370 Q last securely to the tale of what looked to be their own little silver Mazda. That's that's a mistake, said Rebecca. She peered out the window, squinting in the sunlight. It's the light, A trick of the light. The five is probably in eight, Tyra said Henry loudly. The girl in the car ahead of them turned toward the front seat. What? Said Tyra. Behind them, Henry stared at the bob of brown hair in front of him, the nodded pigtails falling against the seat. Back in the changing light, he could see also in the other car, the outline of a little head bouncing like a bobblehead in time with the bumps on the road. Beyond that, there were only shadows. But there was something in the way they moved in the awkward tilt of the one on the right, on the particular hunt of the shoulder of the one on the left, like when he saw her once, years ago, through the window of her third story apartment. As the sun cast her on the phone, she cradled beneath her ear and near perfect silhouette. He shut his eyes tightly. What? Said Tyra again behind him? Nothing, said Henry. What? Nothing. I said It's nothing, said Henry, spinning in his seat. As he said it, he saw her eyes go wide, and for a moment they held him before she turned again to the back window. Then there was only the hum of tires on the road. I'm sorry, Henry said, so quiet. He wasn't even sure he'd spoken the words loud. Then he turned back to the front of the road, dodging Rebecca's eyes, although at this point it was hard to guess with any confidence what they would say Instead, he found himself looking again at the sad eyed Tyra and the window of the other car. She wiped her glassy eyes as she leaned against the great seats. The shadows behind her hung nearly still safer, uncomfortably consistent. Shift is the road rumbled beneath them all. This isn't possible, said Rebecca Quietly. Henry didn't know how to respond to that. He only watched the Tyra and the other car raised her hand and waved it. Henry Henry waved back. Then she fell to his right. Is the engine roared in? The car shifted left. Henry looked to see Rebecca, staring intensely past the car in front of them, crossing the double yellow lines of the winding road. What are you doing? Said Henry. Passing. She said her hands gripped the wheel on her foot, pressed hard on the gas but is both cars passed a worn looking, self described family restaurant nestled in the corner of a teal signed strip mall. The other car accelerated as well, with the hood of their car passing no farther than the tip of the left passenger door. Henry saw the scratch there from when he'd cut too hard, trying to parallel Park in Baltimore Arctic, a downward slanted parenthesis before an SUV appeared. Where the next Hill crested and Rebecca had to hit the brakes and fall back into the right lane, Rebecca kept her eyes past the red SUV. Is it approached, then rolled on beside them. But another line of cars carried on behind it. And then on the other side of the hill, curves and trees gathered near enough that passing the silver Mazda in front of them with a sad, tired girl staring at the back seat window became a decided impossibility. I can try again later, said Rebecca. Okay, said Henry. It was an odd exchange, and somehow it reminded Henry that he still carried the paper bag on his lap. It crinkled softly between hands. He had not realized until now were shaking. He thought about letting it fall to the floor beside his feet, where his heels brushed against the Celtic festival program and a half finished water bottle. But he couldn't make himself do it. A sudden movement in the other car caught his attention. It came from the front seat. The shadow on the left was no longer still and no longer so reflective in its bends, and it's shifts. Instead, Henry saw movement sharp and defined an armed, gesturing harshly toward the center of the car. As he looked closer, he saw also a change in the shadow in the passenger seat, bent rightward, nearly disappearing into the out.
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