ARIANA PATTERSON - A GRIM RIDE
Ariana Patterson is currently in online Creative Writing program at Full Sail University. She has already attained an Associate of Science Degree from Full Sail’s Audio Production Program. She received an advanced achievement award along with her degree. Her hobbies include: making music, writing short stories, writing spoken word poetry, and drawing.
Ariana loves collaborating with other people to help them find their creative spark. She is working on an album, which she will be engineering herself.
Ariana is from New Orleans, Louisiana. She currently resides in Mansura, Louisiana.
A GRIM RIDE
Adam is ready to start his life anew. What am I going to do now? He woke up this Sunday morning feeling ashamed, wallowing in deep thought. After flunking college, he is struggling to find a way to redeem himself. His parents cut off access to his bank account, kicked him out of their house, and disowned him. They tell him he has two weeks to leave. The Wellingtons live in an upper-class, no nonsense neighborhood. Their excessive need for popularity and materialism outweigh their love for their son. Their expectations cannot be met, let alone exceeded. His stress level reaches an all-time high; as a result, he develops a drinking problem. It is time for him to get his life back on track. His cousins agree to let him live with them only if he contributes to the household. They’ve prepared a guest room for Adam. Someone still cares about me. I am going to have to prove I can do better. They’ve also arranged for him to attend AA meetings and a therapist at the local mental facility. His cousin Amber promised him she would put a good word in for him at the dollar store where she works. This is it! Without hesitation, Adam packs his bags and leave his parents’ house without speaking.
The atmosphere is unusually still in this small town. This is particularly strange on a road that is heavily traveled by motorists, especially truckers. Adam stands on the side of a dirt road with a black travel bag and a small grey backpack perched on his back. He reaches down in his travel bag and pulls out a crispy white cotton t-shirt. He peals the shirt he currently has on off of his skin like taffy from a candy wrapper. Adam looks like a bum, you can tell his burdens are weighing down on him heavy. He puts on the cool white t-shirt and let out a sigh of relief. The horizon is starting to obstruct the sun. He’d been standing out there since 4:00. His watch now reads five past seven, he is getting weary. No one was kind enough to stop and ask if he is okay or need a lift.
Adam look up towards the west to see large bright lights heading his way—he squints. For a brief moment, he is blinded. The ground shakes, raddling him like an unsteady bridge in an earthquake. As the headlights get closer, an image of and eighteen-wheeler appear. It is a red and white semi-automatic Mack truck with black stripes along its side. This is going to be Adam’s final attempt to catch a motorist before he walks east to search for civilization. Hoisting his right arm up from his side, he stretches it out and lifts his thumb up to the sky. The truck slows down before coming to a complete stop. Finally!
The trucker leans his body over to the passenger side window and asks, “Where are you headed”?
“To the next town over to my relatives’ house,” Adam replies eagerly.
“Okay, hop in!”
Adam’s arms collapse to his side. He reaches behind his back and takes the backpack off of his back, then picks up is travel bag, placing them in his left hand. Reaching out his right hand, he opens the door, stepping up on the side step to get in the truck. The truck smells faintly like cigarette smoke. The trucker is dressed in blue jean overalls with a white dingy t-shirt underneath, and a black and white truckers cap. His long blonde hair hangs loosely underneath his cap. There is an awkward silence for about five minutes before the man introduces himself.
“The name is John; John Bishop!” the trucker exclaimed. He reaches his hand across his right side of his body to give Adam a handshake.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Adam Wellington. Adam glances at his watch; it is now fifty-five minutes past seven. The truck grows eerily silent for a while, making Adam fill uneasy. It had been five hours since he ate; his stomach is touching his back.
“I know this diner about thirty minutes from here if you want to stop in. They serve really good hamburgers,” said John.
“Yeah that’s great! You’re reading my mind.” The truck suddenly grows eerily quiet again, making Adam feel unnerved.
John must have glanced at his side view and rear-view mirrors about a thousand times. Finally, they reach the diner, now it is dark out. The smell of fresh beef floods the night air, working Adam’s taste buds up in a frenzy. Before they can get out of the truck, six law enforcement officers surround the truck.
“John Bishop step out of the vehicle and put your hands where we can see them,” said one officer. He steps out of the driver’s side. The officer eagerly slaps the cuffs on John.
“AHHH…! Loosen these damn handcuffs,” John yells in an aggressive manner.
“What is going on,” Adam nervously asks. His throat becomes heavy and his heart sinks further into his chest.
“What’s your name sir; how well do you know this man?” said the arresting officer.
“My name is Adam Wellington! I don’t know him well, I hitched a ride with him sir,” Adam exclaims. He reassures the officer he is unarmed, the officer nods. Then Adam reaches in his backpack and pulls out his I.D.
“Consider yourself lucky! This man is suspected of shooting five hitchhikers execution style within the course of a week. Is there someone who can pick you up?”
“I have some family members that live an hour away that I could phone.”
The officers apprehend John, leaving Adam trembling in fear. All Adam can think about at this point, is how he literally just dodged a bullet as he replays the day in his head. His cousins arrive an hour later to retrieve him.