The cool autumn breeze whipped through Max’s hair as he placed the duffle bag in the backseat of his Toyota 4-Runner, causing him to shudder. He pulled the checklist out of his back pocket, double-checking to make sure he had everything for the journey ahead. He had no idea how long it would take, and to be completely honest, he was getting tired of starting again, somewhere new. However, the thrill of the chase would always keep him moving forward, and nothing in life was without its pros and cons, he supposed.
After making sure all of the necessary supplies and items were in the glove compartment and console, he took one last look at his apartment before stepping into the vehicle and heading down the road. The sunset was dipping below the Appalachian foothills and he admired the beauty of it, thinking about a girl who used to frequently send him pictures of them.
He decided to head east on route 40. He knew it was more likely to be isolated rather than the interstate. He had a full tank of gas, four joints in the cupholder, and a cooler full of bottled water in the backseat.
He had just driven over the border into Alleghany county when he spotted her; a woman in a black dress, flashing her leg through a high slit.
“Well, that happened quicker than I expected.” He murmured to himself.
He pulled over to the side of the road just past where she had been standing. A smile crossed his face before he came to a complete stop, the excitement was already coursing through his veins.
A lopsided smile crossed Patty’s face as soon as she realized the vehicle was slowing down. She picked up her Hello Kitty backpack and made her way towards the vehicle, her stilettos clapping against the asphalt.
“It’s not everyday one see’s Elvira hitchhiking alongside a deserted road,” Max said, combing a hand through his hair before extending it and introducing himself to Patty.
She smiled as she took his hand and introduced herself to him before replying, “It isn’t everyday one picks up a hitchhiker on Halloween.”
He opened the backdoor, holding out his hand for her to hand him her backpack.
“Hello Kitty?” He arched an eyebrow.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
“Oh, this is going to be fun.” He thought.
He smiled at her as he fiddled with his phone.
She wondered what he was doing, but remained silent.
“Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys flooded the car, and Patty let out a chuckle.
“Where are you headed?”
“Home, I guess.” She replied, sounding unsure.
“Where is home?”
“Oh, right.” she chuckled, causing him to smile. “Baltimore, but I know that’s a bit of a drive.”
“I’m headed there myself, actually.” He lied.
“Oh good, so I’m not putting you out of the way then?”
“Not at all.”
Max and Patty made small talk as they traveled for about an hour and a half before the vehicle started making a clanking noise and Max pulled over for the second time that night.
“I’m just going to check under the hood, see if I can see anything.”
“Help yourself,” he said as he pointed to the joints in the cupholder.
“No, thank you,” Patty smiled.
Once the hood of the vehicle was up and she was out of Max’s sight, she reached for her backpack, pulling out the gun and placing it in the holder on the garter she had on her left leg, which was covered by the part of the dress without the slit. She replaced her heels with Chuck Taylors, just in case she would need to run, and lastly, she applied a fresh coat of lipstick the faded red on her lips.
As she closed the visor and turned her head towards the passenger window she saw Max staring at her.
“Like what you see?” She asked, arching her eyebrow.
“Mmmm.” He grunted, lifting the machete that was hanging at his side. “I might have to keep part of you as a souvenir.”
Max laughed, maniacally. “You should know not to get into cars with strangers, for one of them could be a serial killer.”
Patty dropped the terrified persona, no longer needing to throw him off.
“And you should know not to pick up strangers,” she replied, putting emphasis on “the words “pick up.:
“For one of them could turn out to be a serial killer, as well,” she continued with a sinister smile as she lifted the gun to the glass and pulled the trigger.
Love & life lessons,