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My eyes drooped as I drove down the dark, sullen highway, the radio blaring the lyrics to Bridge Over Troubled Water on a oldies station. A cup of lukewarm coffee sloshed around in the cup holder, expressing my  halfhearted attempts at staying awake throughout the long drive. Work had been later than usual tonight, and though it burned my eyes, I read the bright green numbers above the radio dial that stated the time. 1:57 AM. I still had at least an hour to go, and I seemed to be alone on the desert road.

          I passed a few gas stations and mini-marts dotted along the way, but other than that the flat, dry, empty land stretched on either side of me. I could barely make out the ridges of mountains far in the distance, and the stars that shone above them were dull and quiet in the moonless night.

          My hand reached out and turned a black knob on the dashboard, and the music slowly turned down until I let the silence surround me like a warm blanket. My headlights were almost the only light on the entire road, since the streetlamps were disused, most of them broken or burnt out from their long lifespan. All I could see ahead of me was the same highway, forever expanding in the same direction. As minutes passed, the drive seemed eternal, and the tires on my truck began to swerve as my eyes fluttered open and closed. It was inevitable; I had to sleep, or I wouldn't make it home without injuring myself.

          Being cautious, I made sure my eyes were open enough to pull to the side of the road, stopping just before a rare streetlight that actually worked. It's beam was a pale yellow color, just barely illuminating the ground below in a haunting circle of light. After looking about, I came to the conclusion that the street was empty, and my eyes slid shut in a heartbeat.

          Three hours later, I was awoken by my heartbeats abnormal speed. I attempted to settle it down by taking deep breaths, and wondered why that had happened. I shook my head to clear it, hoping it was just nothing. Looking out the windshield, the road was still hauntingly quiet. Not a car, truck, or gas station was in sight for miles in each direction. At least my mind was at ease, and my body felt a small improvement after three hours of well-deserved rest.

          I noticed that the street light had burnt out, and faintly remembered it flickering on and off before I feel asleep. I should really get some people together for a community service project, I thought, laughing. Maybe we can fix some of these lights. I started my truck, and flicked the headlights on, only to find myself feeling curious when I noticed a trash bag bathed in my trucks light. It was sitting dead in the center of where the streetlight would be shining, had it still been on. I may have been tired when I pulled over, but I would have noticed a giant black trash bag placed in such a strange area.

          Leaving my truck running, I opened the door and stepped out into the cool summer night. My Nike sneakers crunched on the dry gravel, bellbottom jeans brushing my ankles as I took cautious steps towards the bag. I saw no movement, but I knew that anything could be hidden behind an oddly shaped bag. When I was standing next to it, I reached out daintily with my foot to give it a sharp nudge. What I felt was nothing like I had expected. Something big and hard was in there, seemingly folded at the appendages.

          I kneeled down next to the bag, my fingers carefully untying the knot that was tied tightly at the top. After a few minutes of fumbling, I opened the top of the bag and reached inside to feel around.

          "Oh my god!" I screamed, stumbling backwards a few inches. Hair. I had definitely just felt human hair. My green eyes were wide, not with fear, but curiosity. My hands were dry, and I guessed that there was no blood in the bag, as it would have had a sharp metallic smell the moment it was opened.

          I crawled forward on my hands and knees, dirty blonde hair falling over my shoulders and into my eyes. I grabbed the edges of the bag, slowly twisting and maneuvering them downwards as I unwrapped what was inside.

          I closed my eyes, and choked back another scream as I realized I was right, there was in fact human hair. The head of a teenage girl, no more than fifteen or sixteen years old, followed. Her eyes were closed, and her stunningly beautiful features were flawless, surrounded by a curly cascade of soft dark brown hair. She wore a revealing halter-top with a short, tight black skirt that exposed her long legs. Her face was peaceful, as though she had simply fallen asleep and wasn't in a trash bag in the middle of nowhere.

          I continued pulling the bag down, now cautious since I knew exactly what I was dealing with. I gently pulled it down to her feet and laid her down, stretching out her legs from the bent position she was laying it. For a few moments, I sat there, staring at the girl. She was beautiful, but I had no idea what or who she was. She had no signs of injury on any part of her body.

          I reached out tentatively with a few fingers, hovering above her skin briefly, before allowing myself to bring my hand to her shoulder. I gasped and sharply drew it back. Her skin was clammy and cold, as though she was made of metal and her skin was simply stretched over it. She had no heartbeat.

          "This is madness," I whispered. My voice must have triggered something in the girl, because her eyes flew wide open and she stared deep into the night sky. They were a haunting crystal blue, a color that could reach from the dark depths of the ocean to the highest point in the sky. I stood up and retreated a few steps, unable to believe what I was seeing.

          The girl blinked slowly, then sat up and looked around. She seemed to know where she was, and she didn't seem worried at all that she had been tied up and dumped off. She kicked the bag off of her ankles, revealing bare feet. I looked down at her as she stood up daintily and brushed her clothes off.

          "Who are you?!" I exclaimed. The words were out before I could stop them, and I pressed my hands to my mouth in despair. The girl swung her head around to look at me, her eyes filled with fear as though she had only just realized she wasn't alone. She backed away one step at a time.

          "I was just leaving." Her voice was steely, and resonated as if there were two voices, mixing at a higher and lower octave. I frowned at her.

          "Leaving?" I asked, exasperated. "I found you tied up in a trash bag in the middle of nowhere, with cold skin and no heart beat. Then suddenly you open your eyes, stand up, and expect me to let you walk away without so much as an explanation?! Tell me who you are!" The girl thought about this, then gave me an evil grin.

          "Very well. I'm your worst nightmare," she said simply, her blue eyes flashing cruelly in the night. "I'll tell you who I am, since you're the only one who's been lucky enough to find me. I'm just like you. In every way, I'm you and you're me. But I am known as a Galvan. I am electricity produced by chemical action. The only differences between you and I are simple; you have a time limit, while I will live eternally. You and your race can access only ten percent of your potential, while we know all there is to know. But best of all; you fall weak to the bidding of your heart. It's much simpler to be made of nothing but wires and metal. I have seen you humans go through failure after failure. We never fail. We never die. For we are a race much grander than anything you will ever know." Her cruel grin had spread, and her eyes were filled with a hatred burning brighter than a flame.

          "Wait until I tell the others of my kind about this," I stuttered, my voice betraying my fear of this creature standing before me. I could see it in her eyes then, the lack of human essence. She could never be one of us. Her voice echoed around me from all sides as the wind began to blow harshly.

          "They'll never believe you, human," she cackled, the sound of her laughter sickening. The wind lit her eyes and her hair streamed behind her, giving her a ghostly appearance as she continued. "One day we'll destroy you. Every one of you will lay cold beneath our feet, and we will reign for eternity." A strong gust forced me to brace myself, and when I looked up she was gone. Blown away like dust in the wind. 

To be Continued...
Critical Adventures: A Collection of Short Stories
Last updated: Mar 04, 2013
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