Late in the chilly night, the lone spiralling mountain road laid dormant. One side protected by the mountain, the opposite side was bare to a steep and sharp drop down the forest below. Anyone worth his or her salt knew better than to go up or down such a treacherous mountain in the dark except for the unusual daredevil such as the single truck speeding down the winding road. No doubt the driver had someplace else he wanted to be. No doubt he was cursing why the government did not just bore a tunnel through the terrain instead of making him go up and down mountains just to transport some chickens. Yes, he could be drinking with his mates and talk about the wonderful things that they could do in life. Instead, he was ferrying farm animals across the country.
As he was about to negotiate a turn, he thought his headlights caught a lump of ice lying in the middle of the road.
Ice in the beginning of autumn? The weather is screwed. It had something to do with global warming. Wait. What? Globe is warming and I’m thinking of ice? It had got to be something else!
By the time he got back to the present, he tried to step on the brakes but was too late. The truck went over the shiny mass with a thud and the driver lost control. The truck skidded and plunged into the dark ravine below. The driver cursed himself for his reckless driving. He cursed the lump of mass in the middle of the road. He cursed his sorry, unsuccessful life. Before he could curse anymore, his truck crashed into a huge tree and he was knocked out. The blackness was a welcome relief.
When the driver regained consciousness, he realised that the front of the truck was completely ripped off. He had a clear view of a running stream down below illuminated by the pale moonlight. It was going to be a fatal fall had it not been his seatbelt holding him to his seat. His whole body was dangling unhindered.
Once the cobwebs had cleared from his mind, his body started to ache all over. He realised he was still attached to the rear of the truck which was suspended on thick branches. He could hear the clucking of his truckload of chickens. The driver tried to heave and move to no avail. Finally feeling hopeless, he turned to the divine and started to pray for a quick rescue when suddenly something seemed to be frightening the chickens.
Before long, he felt a presence directly behind him that sent chills down his spine. It slithered past him from his left shoulder and turned to face him. It was cold like steel. There were no eyes, nose, mouth or limbs. The dim twilight reflected off its glistening, silver surface. It looked like a floating pool of liquid metal. The creature felt cold to the touch and was, in fact, the ‘lump of ice’ that the driver was trying to avoid earlier. A mysterious creation of nature yet to be discovered, it was returning to the forest below when the truck chanced upon it.
The driver thought his eyes were playing tricks on him as a part of the featureless creature morphed into a familiar human face - a shiny silver version of the driver. Its soulless eyes stared back at the driver.
The creature extended a tentacled arm and reached out for the seat belt release button. The clueless driver watched as the seat belt clicked and he plunged into the river without warning. He closed his eyes and screamed and screamed, wondering what took so long for the final impact that did not happen. He was still dangling from the truck with the creature wrapped around his torso. Slowly, the creature carried the driver upwards passing the chickens and on to the road above.
The driver heaved a sigh of relief and wanted to thank the creature but it had disappeared back into the truck to save the rest of the chickens. When all the cages were up, the creature cut open the locks and released them into the wild. It was at this moment that a car passed by and accidentally squashed one of the free-ranging chickens that strayed onto the road.
A silver tentacle burst out of the creature’s body and grabbed hold of the car. Effortlessly, it tore the car into two, separating the front and back. Before the front of the car crashed into the mountainside, the creature wrapped its liquid metal tentacle on the driver and lifted him out of the car. Holding the car driver by the front of his shirt, the creature stared at him. The creature suddenly burst into fiery flames, its intensity starting to scorch the car driver.
“No, no, no! Don’t do it!” the truck driver, who froze during the whole episode waved his arms, trying to stop the creature.
“Why did you kill it?” the creature spoke for the first time in a deep, terrifying voice.
“It... it was an accident. I... I... I didn’t see it until it was too late,” replied the terror-stricken car driver.
The creature growled but eventually dropped the driver onto the asphalt. It turned away from the two humans and slid towards the dead chicken. With every step, the creature slowly morphed into a silver sentient figure. By the time it reached the carcass, it was able to bend down and pick up the chicken much like how a human would do.
Both drivers stared in puzzlement as the creature cradled the chicken. Liquid metal from the creature wrapped around the dead chicken until a silvery cocoon was formed. It held the cocoon around its arm and ushered the rest of the chickens to follow it to the roadside, away from the hazards of any oncoming vehicles.
The chickens followed the creature like how chicks trail their mother hen. They moved along the galvanised road railings until they found a way down to the forest below. Just before they disappeared from view, the two drivers saw the cocoon crack open like a hatching egg and out popped the head of the dead chicken, very much alive.