Creative Corner: Headlights

The following is an account transcribed from an anonymous source about their encounter with an unidentified anomaly.

I read my friend’s submission. I never knew. I can’t imagine anything like what she described. I’m not here to confirm or deny anything she said. In fact, what I’m about to tell you might make it seem like we’re making it all up and can’t get our story straight, but I honestly don’t know anything about what she saw. I wasn’t focused on the road. I was too busy looking at the lights in the mirror.

After we missed our exit, [Redacted]tried to assure me she knew another way. I was worried. I had an eight o’clock class in the morning and it was already pretty late. I guess I was nagging too much because eventually she just stopped responding. HShe just kept staring at the road. The silence was eerie, so I took to watching the headlights of the cars behind us. 

I guess we were driving at a downward angle because I could see several cars of headlights lined up behind us. At least that’s what I thought they were. Looking back now, I can’t remember ever seeing an outline of any car. It was too dark for that, and even though we never passed an exit let alone another road, the lights seemed to disappear and reappear at random. Sometimes they would go in pairs, and other times one would leave its partner alone on the road.

It was strange, mesmerizing, and not once did I question it. Isn’t that strange? What I thought were cares just disappeared from existence in front of my eyes and I never reacted or thought to tell my friend. It’s not like she would have reacted. She just kept staring at the road, stiff and silent. 

The lights continued to disappear until only two remained, the ones directly behind us. They seemed to swerve on the road from side to side, eventually making an impossible pendulum motion. I followed their swooping trek, always looking in the mirror, never turning around to see them for myself. They were beautiful this way. Perhaps if I had seen them straight on their light would have burning me up from the inside. I might have liked it. 

The lights would get closer and closer as if they might touch the bumper of our car before starting to lag. They were trying to catch us, no, me. They were trying to claim me because everytimeevery time they came closer I felt an indescribable weight in my chest, and God did I hope that they would catch up with us. I wanted the driving to stop. I wanted it to stop twenty minutes ago.

I had the sudden urge that this was all her fault. If she would just listen, if she would just stop, then everything would be alright. I hated her then. I wanted to scream at her, hit her, take the wheel and swerve it off the road. 

We were going so fast, but I still considered jumping from the car, but there was the fear that the lights would leave behind in the dark in their pursuit of the car. What if they wanted her, craved the person who ignored them? What If I was nothing? In that moment I could imagine my hands wrapping themselves around her throat, cutting off her airway. 

Do it. 

She was no longer my friend, but my hated enemy. 

Do it.

Something to destroy.

Do it.

I would do it. 

Do it.

If it was what the lights asked of me.

Then she called my name softly. I looked at her, maybe for the first time since the lights had taken my attention, and I remembered in clarity just who she was. The image of her in my mind was nothing like what I saw now.  She was pale. Her hands were shaking. Could she tell what my thoughts had been just moments before? I glanced in the mirror, and the lights were gone. 
An exit sign reading ‘Alcoa’ was up ahead like we had never passed it. [Redacted]looked pained as she stared at the road up ahead. I never asked what was wrong. We never talked about it. I was oblivious to what had happened to her until I read her statement, and now, she’ll read mine. She’ll know what happened. What I almost did. I wonder if we’ll still be friends.

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