He gripped the steering wheel tighter as his foot pushed hard on the accelerator. The desert chaparral blurred past him, blending with the night as the car jolted and sped towards the setting moon. His skin was clammy and moist. Sweat collected on his brow and trickled down into his eyes. He rubbed the sting of it away with the back of his hand.

Never look, he told himself averting his gaze from the rearview mirror. He pursed his lips tight, took a deep breath, and focused on the empty road ahead.

It was near midnight. He wanted to get home, see Alice, and get as much distance as possible between him and the desert.

The silhouette of an animal appeared ahead in the distance, the glow of his headlights reflected in its eyes.

It was a coyote.

Don’t look. Don’t…

“A L I C E . . .“

He jerked his head around, eyes wide with fear. The back seat was empty, but the voice had clearly come from behind him. He shook his head, took several short breaths, and focused on the road again.

The coyote was gone.

“Fuck!” He yelled.

He was overcome by a sense of dread. His knuckles turned white as he gripped the wheel even tighter. He could see the glow of the town ahead. He pressed hard on the accelerator with all his weight, but it was already floored.

I’ll be home soon.


With Alice.

Out of nowhere, he caught a dark blur swooping towards him from above. It struck his windshield and disintegrated into a scattering of black feathers and blood. Its head, all that remained of it, was caught between his wipers and hood. It was a crow. Its eyes glowed orange, twitched frantically to and fro peering at him.

Its beak opened, “A L I . . . ”

Instinctively he jerked the steering wheel, careening the car down the shoulder where it shuddered and bounced on the unpaved desert. He smashed the brake pedal. The car spun twice before coming to a stop.

Somewhere in the distance, he heard an animal wail.

The crow’s head was gone.

The car sat motionless in a cloud of dust, the engine rattling as if its pistons were loose.

Ok, keep it together.

You’re still here.

You didn’t look.

Get home to Alice.

He drove the car back onto the highway. He accelerated, foot to the floor, but couldn’t get it past 60 miles per hour.

He drove for some time without incident, comforted only by the sound of tires thrumming on the highway. He saw the outline and lights of his town’s buildings. He was almost home. He was about to sigh with relief when he noticed another animal at the edge of the road ahead, hunched low, like an ape, its misshapen head shaking violently as if tearing meat from a carcass.

An intense heat engulfed him. His head felt dull and achy. He veered the car to the opposite side of the highway to give the animal a wide berth. As he closed the distance, he noticed that its fur was a patchwork of mange and flesh as if pieced together from a menagerie of dead animals.

The beast looked up at him. Its glowing orange eyes locked with his. It grinned, and a row of human-like teeth glinted in the moonlight.

Don’t look.

He noticed a dark lumbering shadow keeping pace with his car at the periphery of his vision. He glanced without turning his head. It was the thing he’d just passed. Its glowing eyes reflecting orange on the window’s glass.

Don’t look. Don’t look.

He felt himself hyperventilating. He rocked his body weight against the steering wheel, hoping to push more speed out of the car. He was tempted to turn and look but was relieved when he saw the lights of the town’s only gas station just ahead.

Almost there.

The thing scraped a long, ragged claw on his window.

“A  L  I  C  E  .  .  .  ”

He looked.

Their eyes locked. The thing grinned maliciously. Its mouth was a wide mangle of rotting human and animal teeth, bits of stringy flesh dangling between them. Its head was dog-like and misshapen, smeared with blood, covered in a patchwork of matted hair and bone fragments.

Its eyes were entirely human.

He saw in them every evil deed and deliberation in his life. He felt himself losing his grip on the steering wheel and on reality as the orange glow engulfed him, his car, the desert, the moon…

Suddenly, the thing turned and ran wailing deep into the night.

— — —

He turned the ignition. The car shook, sputtered, and went silent in his driveway. The kitchen light was still on, Alice was waiting for him. He smiled, stepped out of the car, opened the trunk, lifted the spare tire, and retrieved the metal tire iron beneath it. He surveyed his property, gripping the iron tightly as he walked up and opened his front door.

Alice had fallen asleep on the couch, watching TV. He took her peaceful beauty in for a moment and shut the door.

“A L I C E . . .

H o n e y,

I’m home.”



Luis is the Art Editor for Disquiet Arts and an artist, entrepreneur and dreamer who’s enjoyed success in a variety of creative fields including photography, film-making, art and music production. He currently resides in Claremont, CA with his family and two dogs.