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This story was contributed by cloudedwithstories

The sky pulses violet as I wind up the road, sheets of rain pounding against my windscreen.

With one hand, I reach over to the dashboard and put the heater on full blast, cursing beneath my breath when a cloud forms on the windscreen and blocks my view. Slowing my speed, I reach forward with my sleeve and wipe the fog.

A dark figure stands in the middle of the road.

A strangled scream escapes my throat and I slam on the breaks, jolting forward so violently my head hits the steering wheel. When I raise my eyes to the road ahead, the view is clear. The shadows crawl from the trees lining the road and wrap around the car, but there's nothing but rain and fog.

Tendrils of fear slither down my spine.

"Damn Hillsborough," I grumble, putting the car back into gear and my foot on the accelerator.

I've always hated driving to Hillsborough. The service is patchy, the road is filled with potholes, and the neighborhood is plagued with break-ins. But Daniel and I have met up at my place the last three times, and I'm running out of excuses as to why I have to stay closer to town.

My fingers clench around the steering wheel as I glare through the windshield, the combination of fog and rain forcing me to slow my speed to a crawl. I bite my lip, a nervous chill tickling my skin.

Maybe I should turn around. It's not safe to be driving higher into the mountains amongst a brewing storm, and the lack of visibility makes me nervous. The thought fills me with disappointment. It's Daniel's first night back in town for three weeks; I don't want to miss him.

I put my foot on the brake and reach for my phone, scrolling to find Daniel's number. But, when I press call, the reception bar pulses at me. No service.

"Really?" I run a hand down the side of my face and cast my phone aside, sighing and continuing to drive forward.

A thick fog swirls around the car, enclosing me in a suffocating embrace. I lean forward so that I'm nearly pressed against the windshield, my breath forming a cloud on the icy glass.

Come on, Emma. Not too far to go.

I've been dating Daniel for three months, but I've only been to his house twice. The first time, my car got stuck beneath a fallen tree and I was stuck for three hours till Daniel removed it with his truck. The second, I decided to show how good I was at the waltz and accidentally spilt red wine all over his crème carpet. So even though everything about Daniel is good, nothing good ever happens at his house.

I sigh in relief when I turn into his driveway, the crevice carved in the bushes a haven of darkness. The gravel driveway is long and winding, with shadows lurking at the edge of the bushes that warn me not to stop. My pounding heart calms when the gravel transitions to tarmac and Daniel's humble home emanates an orange glow in the centre of the clearing.

My stomach flutters when the front door opens and Daniel's broad figure looms in the doorway. I push my door open, put my hood on, and dash for the porch, the eerie mist of the storm clawing towards me.

It's colder than I thought. My breath fans in a white cloud around me and the rain feels like small daggers against my exposed wrists.


Daniel's warmth cages around me like a coffin when he pulls me against him, tucking my head in the crevice where his neck and shoulder meets.

I inhale deeply, the absence of his usual musky scent making me frown. "Did you just shower?"

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