I laughed along with him; my dad had been the same way when it came to guys. He would sing Rodney Atkins’ song ‘Cleaning This Gun’ quietly every time I mentioned boys.
“What’re your parents like?” He sounded happy, probably from talking about his family; it was clear that they were a big part of his life.
“Oh, you know… parents.” I shrugged as I deflected the question nonchalantly; my palms were sweating against the steering wheel.
“Do you have any siblings?” His voice had taken on a mildly uncomfortable tone.
“Nope, I’m an only child.” No further explanation was offered.
“Oh, that’s cool. What was that like?” Brandon was trying desperately to keep this conversation going, and I was desperately trying to end it.
“I had a lot of freedom. You know how the first child is generally the ‘experiment child’? Well, because I was their first and only kid, they kinda didn’t know what to do with me. They didn’t really know what they were doing, but really, what parent does?” By now my hands were so slick I was afraid the steering wheel would slip from my grip. “They did the best they could, though. And they did pretty well.” A yawn suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and I was grateful that I could stop talking to cover my mouth.
“Do you want me to drive for a bit? You could sleep for a while, if you want?” I leapt at the chance to catch a few winks eagerly and pulled into the next rest stop we encountered.
My head hit the head-rest and within minutes I was asleep.
“Calypso. Hey, Calypso. Wake up.” Brandon began to poke me in the side and I groaned as I forced my eyes open to look at him.
“We’re almost out of gas, and seeing as I really don’t have any money…” The very tips of his ears rouged and I resisted the urge to laugh. He was sort of adorable, in a nerdy way.
“Mmmkay…” I mumbled as I reached one hand blindly in the dark backseat of the car to find my purse. “Pull into the next gas station and I’ll get us some gas.”
He obliged and pulled into a creepy-looking gas station. “Are you sure you want to stop here? It looks… questionable.”
I snorted. “Dude, we’ll be fine. Don’t sweat it.” Clutching my purse tightly to my chest, I clambered out of the passenger side door as Brandon opened up the gas door.
A chill ran down my spine as the cool, night air seeped through my thin long-sleeved shirt and simple cargo pants. The gas station wasn’t well lit, and no one but us was pulled up. Bright lights from inside the store showed that they were still open, but there was no attendant in sight. I quickly swiped my credit card and lifted the nozzle; something about this place unsettled me and I wanted to get of there as soon as possible.
A distant rustle startled me in the dead silence that surrounded me, and I jumped. The silence settled again and I chided myself for being so childish. It was just Brandon and I, besides, there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Still, my ‘irrational’ fears enticed me into keeping a tight hold on my purse.
My fears were soon proved rational when the rustling began again and was then accompanied by a twig snapping and the emergence of a shadowy figure. A faded blue hood darkened his face so that I couldn’t make anything out except for a gruff jaw the was prickled with grey and black hair.
Because I had such a fantastic hold on myself, I froze in place, eyes wide. My pulse exploded and my heart hammered in its fleshy casing; perhaps it hoped to escape its prison before it could be torn out, or whatever it was that this man had in store for me. With a shudder, I pushed such grisly thoughts out of my head and regained my wits. Hurriedly, I removed the nozzle from the gas tank and set it back in its rightful place. Then, as calmly as I could, I walked back around the car, careful to stay in the most lit parts of the gas station. Before I could make it back to the passenger side door, however, the man bolted towards me, gnarled hands outstretched, fingers bent into a claw shape.
|Christian Cooke||as Brandon Nickson|
|Anna Popplewell||as Calypso Sprile/Amanda Brown|