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You know better than to pick up a hitchhiker. How many stories had you read where the innocent girl picks up a stranger on the side of the road and they turn out to be a murderer, kidnapper, escaped psychiatric patient etc., You get the picture. But this time was different.

           You worked late tonight, your shift should have ended two hours ago but you stayed late for a co-worker so she could leave early to tend to her sick child. You work every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as a waitress and you go to nursing school during the day. You knew you wanted to be a nurse ever since you were a little girl, nursing your teddy bears and dolls back to health, applying bandages to their paws and listening to their little stuffed hearts. One more week and you graduate, you smile. You can’t believe you’re almost done. Especially since you’ve been through so much this year, mainly with Professor Ross. Ugh.

You thought it was just some harmless flirting, until he cornered you in his office that day. You heard he had a bad reputation. You probably should have reported it to the Dean but you only threatened to report it and then you switched classes. It was final semester, you didn’t need any more drama. Switching out of his class seemed like the best idea. Now next week is graduation and then you are out of there and you don’t have to see any of them again.

           Almost home, you sigh, it’s nearly 10 p.m. and you have class tomorrow. The rain beats furiously against the windshield making it nearly impossible for you to see, so much for zero chance of rain, you think shaking your head. It must be nice to be a meteorologist, to be wrong so often with no repercussions. If a nurse is wrong, people die.

           As you’re sitting at a red light you see something in the distance coming closer. It looks like people coming down the sidewalk. Two people. As they get closer you can see its one adult and one child. They are running now, are they waving at you? Now you can see it’s a mother and child. They look like they’re in trouble. Neither are wearing raincoats or have an umbrella, they probably watched the same newscast as you. The mother is holding her daughter’s hand trying to shield the poor thing from the rain. They’re getting closer now. You hope they don’t need a ride. You know better than to pick up a hitchhiker. Now you can see them more clearly. The little girl is holding a doll under her arm. Aww she’s trying to shield the doll the way her mother is shielding her. What are they doing out at this time? It’s late and its pouring rain. Maybe their car broke down. The poor things, they are soaked. They don’t look dangerous. Most killers don’t, though. It’s a mother and a child for heaven’s sake. She’s attractive and well dressed. But you know better than to pick up a hitchhiker. They’re some bad areas around here, though. What if they run into trouble? What if they are trouble? They can’t be, look at them, the poor things. The child looks no more than eight years old. You unroll your window. She bends down to speak to you.

           “Excuse us, we’re so sorry to bother you,” the woman says. “Our car got a flat tire,” the woman says pointing down the road. “You’re the first person we’ve seen go by so we thought we might ask you for a ride. We live just down the road, any chance you could give us a lift? If you were a man we probably wouldn’t ask, I’m sure you can understand that. It can be so dangerous out here for women. And in the chaos of it all we locked the keys and my cell phone in the car,” the woman said shaking her head, her daughter looking up at you, raindrops or maybe tears, streaming down her cheeks. You think for a moment, look them up and down, and you unlock the doors. 

           “Okay. Sure c’mon in,” you say. The mother opens the door and the little girl slides in first and then her mother slides in behind her.

           “Thank you, thank you so much. We live at 150 Briarcliff Drive, so go left at the next light and then a right and then we’ll be there. It’s only about five minutes from here. We really appreciate what you’re doing for us. Thank you so much,” the mother said, trying to dry her daughter’s face with her shirt sleeve.

           Five minutes later you are still driving. “Just a little bit further now. Thanks again for doing this,” the mother says pointing down the road.

           You look in the rearview mirror at the little girl holding her doll tight against her chest, her mother’s arm wrapped around her shoulder.

           “Here we go… now it’s this white house up here on the left,” the mother says. You had seen this house many times before. It was in a nice area actually, across the street from a small lake with running trails that you run on every Saturday morning. You feel relieved. It is the only house on this side of the lake. You pull into the driveway.

           “There you go,” you say, putting the car in park and looking into the back seat.

           “Would you mind just waiting here for a quick second? I need to make sure the spare key is under the mat before you leave and we get stuck outside again,“ she explained.

           “Ok,” you say, that makes sense. You look at the little girl and she smiles at you as her mother gets out.

           The woman runs to the door and checks under the mat and gives you a thumb’s up. As she goes to unlock the door a man opens it as he’s putting on his raincoat. They talk for a moment and she points to you. He looks familiar but it’s hard to tell because it’s raining so hard. Maybe you’ve seen him on the running path. They both hurry towards your car. The little girl has gotten out to join her mother now. You unroll the window as he bends down. You know that cologne, cedar mixed with fresh soap and spice.

           “I just wanted to thank you for helping my family get home safe. That was a real nice thing for you to do,” the man says as he leans down into the window. Then he hesitates.

           “Sarah?” the man asks. It’s Professor Ross.

           “Oh, uh...hi...Professor Ross. What a coincidence. Ha. It was no problem. I got to get going now, though, so you all take care,” you say nervously and begin to roll your window up. Your doors are already locked, thankfully.

           “Yes, of course. Good luck with finals,” he says as he reaches out his hand to shake yours. You glance and see the mother and daughter in front of your car, they’re waving goodbye. So you reach your hand out to shake his hand when suddenly his other hand comes out of his pocket. He smothers a rag over your nose and mouth. You flail. Reaching out, trying to move his hands or push the horn. Now you can’t see. You can’t breath. You start to see spots and then everything is black.

           He unlocks your door and drags you into the house. The mother gets behind the wheel of your car and drives it into the pond across the street. It sinks silently into the murky darkness. She goes into the house and shuts the door behind her. You knew better than to pick up a hitchhiker.

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37 comments

Lindsey Lasson
17:08 Jul 06, 2020

Oh gosh. This was so well done. I didn't see the twist coming even though you literally told me it was coming XD

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Sarah Greenwood
00:22 Jul 07, 2020

Thank you so much for reading Lindsey and taking the time to comment. I’m glad you enjoyed ☺️

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Lilah Peters
18:09 Jul 13, 2020

THE DRAMA!!! Great story!! I cant help but want to know what happens next!

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Sarah Greenwood
18:38 Jul 13, 2020

Thanks Lilah! I’m so glad you enjoyed it

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Gip Roberts
20:23 Jul 10, 2020

Good line about meteorologist vs. nurse. The whole story kept me begging to find out what was going to happen next, and the second-person style made it even more suspenseful.

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Sarah Greenwood
22:22 Jul 10, 2020

Thanks Gip! I’m so glad you liked it

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Sarah A
14:30 Jul 09, 2020

Wow, did not see that coming. That’s terrifying and so well written.

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Sarah Greenwood
15:00 Jul 09, 2020

Thank you Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed it

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My Name
18:39 Jul 08, 2020

Jeepers. I expected the ending to be something like a misunderstanding getting cleared up between the MC and the professor but boy, was I wrong. Nice twist. I recommend fixing the structure of the sentences and paragraphs but not the writing; it's awesome.

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04:42 Jul 08, 2020

I took time to read this story and went over twice. This was a thrilling roller-coaster read. The twist in the though expected came as an unexpected surprise. Looking forward to reading more from you. Cheers and Good luck!

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Sarah Greenwood
11:54 Jul 08, 2020

Thank you so much Parvathy! I’m so glad you liked it. Two times even. Wow!

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Spider Baby
06:02 Jul 07, 2020

I was expecting the ending to veer more into the supernatural, especially when the child's character was introduced. But I guess all real monsters are human :x Either way, it was a phenomenal story. oh and thanks for reading my story, btw! (^▽^)

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Sarah Greenwood
06:43 Jul 07, 2020

Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comments. I appreciate it

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15:01 Jul 06, 2020

Always expect the unexpected. Good job.

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Sarah Greenwood
00:22 Jul 07, 2020

Thanks George ! I’m glad you enjoyed it

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Edima Tombere
15:39 Jul 04, 2020

OMG, You totally got me, Somehow I knew it would end badly but I wasn't so sure, I love the twists to the story

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Sarah Greenwood
00:30 Jul 07, 2020

Thanks Edima I’m so happy you enjoyed it. And thank you for taking the time to comment

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Edima Tombere
12:29 Jul 25, 2020

Please help leave a comment on my story, I'm just here to learn from great writers like you Thanks for your time

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Kyla Jernigan
01:52 Jun 30, 2020

Hey Sarah! Fantastic story! I love a good killer story like this!

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Sarah Greenwood
14:03 Jun 30, 2020

I know right, lol. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. I appreciate it.

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Kristy Reynolds
23:47 Jun 29, 2020

Nice twist!

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Sarah Greenwood
16:46 Jul 01, 2020

Thanks Kristy!

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Praveen Jagwani
04:31 Jun 29, 2020

Twisted people are infinitely more interesting to write about. Well done. Another good story and well told. No ornate distractions. You've kept a taut pace throughout. Some odd word placement like smothers. Also since there are two of them, should be hitchhikers (plural). Thank you for sharing :)

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Sarah Greenwood
16:45 Jul 01, 2020

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I will reread and do some editing. Thanks again !

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Laura Clark
22:40 Jun 28, 2020

Holy moly. Okay, well. I was expecting a negative twist because you’d signalled it so clearly but even so - you got me. Great writing that builds smoothly and the repetition both reinforces the ending and helps with flow. Fab writing!

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Sarah Greenwood
10:48 Jun 29, 2020

Aww thanks so much Laura. Comments like that are better than winning any contest. Thank you 🙏🏼

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Laura Clark
11:05 Jun 29, 2020

You’re welcome! It was brilliant!

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Shirley Medhurst
15:16 Jun 27, 2020

I enjoyed your story. What a twist to have the guy be Mr Ross! I thought there had to be a terrible outcome with the ominous repetition about not picking up hitchhikers but I wasn’t expecting that. By the way, if you have time, would you mind checking out my story & giving me your feedback? Many thanks Sarah

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Sarah Greenwood
20:30 Jun 27, 2020

thanks for reading Shirley and taking time to comment. Yes, I'll check yours out shortly

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Tvisha Yerra
18:33 Jun 25, 2020

Love the build-up. Absolutely amazing!

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Sarah Greenwood
19:07 Jun 25, 2020

Thank you so much Tvisha! Your kind comments are better than winning any contest 🥰

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13:30 Jun 22, 2020

Wow! Rip Sarah at the end there! No knight in shining armor to come save her!

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Sarah Greenwood
14:01 Jun 22, 2020

Thanks for taking the time to read Caleb! Ha nope, one of these days I’ll write a story with a happy ending 😃

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Batool Hussain
10:55 Jun 21, 2020

Great story! Mind checking my recent story out? Thanks,

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Sarah Greenwood
11:45 Jun 21, 2020

Definitely. Thanks for reading !

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Maya Reynolds
17:11 Jul 16, 2020

Wow great twist at the end - I did not see that coming!

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17:52 Jun 25, 2020

Wow. I sure knew better that to pick up a hitchhiker, haha. I love how you stated this is the beginning and the end. Could you please read my story, 'Silent Betrayer' whenever you have time and give me feedback? I'd really appreciate it.

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