Here’s a somewhat spooky story I wrote for an english class in high school once. I thought it was decent enough to be worth saving and I just now rediscovered it, so I’m sharing it here because why the heck not. So without further ado...

The Black Hearse

I hated that town. Well, not necessarily the town, but the memories that came from that place are ones I despised. I was only going back there because I had to. As the wind howled and the cold moon shone down on my beaten and weary old car, I pulled into a parking space at the kind of cheap motel that dots the landscape in states like this. As I got out, I noticed an unusual vehicle parked in a dirt lot nearby. The silhouette looked familiar, but I was too tired from the long and unpleasant drive to think about it much. I went to bed hoping that the business I had to attend to the next morning would be over quickly so I could get out of there and get back to trying to forget my past.

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The next morning, I got up, got through my morning routine in a thoughtless, mechanical fashion, and hit the road. As I left the parking lot, I caught another glimpse of that unusual vehicle from the night before, and found that its appearance was strangely discomforting. I could tell it was an old hearse as black as the night, but it was hard to tell much beyond that. Its body was so scarred, dented, and rusted that it gave off an impression of death, despair, and decay. The effect was only exaggerated by the fact that all the plants around it were withered and decomposing. Somehow, I found that it looked strangely familiar.

I eventually put it out of my mind and continued my journey, since I didn’t want to be late. As I drove, I was dismayed to find that my route took me by all the old places I used to go in my past. It was almost too much to bear. I finally saw the old factory where I used to work and the memories came flooding back. In the old days, I was the successful leader of a car company that built the finest vehicles money could buy. I oversaw the design of countless large, luxurious, land barges which it was everyone’s dream to someday own. Now, however, the factory was in ruins and the once prosperous city around it was now poor. All my friends used to work in that factory, but I hadn’t seen them since it closed. I couldn’t bear to see the looks on their faces because I knew they knew who was to blame.

As I drove by the factory, I suddenly felt an icy cold finger run down my spine as I noticed that the same mysterious black hearse that I had seen before was parked in what was once the parking lot of the factory. How could it have gotten there sooner than I did? And why did it look so familiar? Whatever the case, I kept driving and reached my meeting.

I couldn’t stop the memories forcing their way into my head. I remembered how when the gas crisis struck, I told the rest of the company that we needn’t worry, because our company’s reputation would keep us afloat. I remembered that as the fuel crisis went on, however, that proved not to be the case. I remembered that I told the company to sink all the remaining money we had into a single new car that would be the greatest car our company had ever made. Unfortunately, that kind of car was not what the public needed or wanted at the time and our company went under.

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By the time the meeting was over, my memories had made me so inattentive that I lost my business an important deal which could have saved us from bankruptcy. I left the meeting in shame, knowing I had once again let down many people. I remembered how many people at my old car company couldn’t find jobs after it went bankrupt, and pretty soon, I was leaving that building with tears of regret in my eyes.

As I stepped outside, I heard a deep, ominous rumbling sound, like the growling of some enormous predator. I turned and saw the black hearse parked in the middle of the street facing me with coal-black smoke billowing from its tailpipe. Its whole front end was mangled and disfigured, but was still recognizable enough for me to finally realize why it looked so familiar: that hearse was based on the last car my company ever built! It was the physical manifestation of my pride and foolishness which caused others to suffer. The broken bars in its mangled grille resembled sharp, jagged teeth and its four cracked headlights appeared to stare at me like a spider staring at a trapped fly.

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As the unnatural coldness of fear surrounded me, I ran back through the building to my parked car on the other side, flung open the door, and took off as fast as the car would go. My only thoughts were to keep moving. At this point, the sun was setting and fog was rolling in, which I hoped would make it harder for that horrible monster to find me. As I drove on into the night, I came to a twisting mountain road which I hoped would be the most direct route home.

Just as I started to calm down, I heard a rumbling noise in the distance; a rumble which grew into a thunder, which grew into a roar. I glanced behind me and saw what I hoped not to. “You won’t get me that easily!”, I yelled as I tried to accelerate. I started once again to feel the icy cold fingers of terror gripping at my heart as I fought for control of my car while I raced across the foggy, twisty mountain road. However, no matter how fast I managed to go, the black hearse was always right behind me, with headlights dancing in my rearview mirrors, as if to taunt me.

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Eventually, my age-worn car would go no faster and it was becoming difficult to stay in control. I found myself screaming, “I’m sorry! I was blinded by pride! I didn’t think it would end like this! Please, forgive me!” I could barely hear the back of my car hitting a “slow down” sign over the sounds of my screaming and the roar of the black hearse. I was still pleading with whoever might hear it as I rounded the corner, but when I saw what was ahead of me I went silent and pale as a ghost.

I jerked the wheel and slammed the brakes, but it was too late. All I remember at this point was the screeching of my tires before my car crashed through the guardrail and the sickening sound of the cliff face tearing my car to shreds. When the car finally landed, I clung to life just long enough to see the black hearse driving on into the night. As my vision faded into black, I thought, “At least it’s all over now.”

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