Excerpt: Highway 187 by A.T. KIng
Title: Highway 187
Author: A.T. King
A.T. King was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in 1977. He is the youngest member in his family which consists of four other siblings, two boys and two girls. A.T and his family moved to Mission, Texas when he was three years old, and that is where he was raised and has resided since. A.T. began writing in 2007 after going through a divorce. He began writing poetry as a form of self-expression and wrote his first story after seeing horror movies with one of his sisters. A few months later he finished his first story, “CUPID”, and has never stopped writing since.
It was a hot and muggy Sunday afternoon, just like every other day in Deep South Texas. I like to think that when Stephen King wrote “ninety degrees in the shade, ninety six in the sun, hot enough that the air shimmers above the pavement as if over an open incinerator” he was thinking of this place we call home. That seems to be the case for us all year round, even during the so-called winter months. It seems that here in South Texas we just have two seasons; spring and summer. We usually get five or six days of what could pass for cold and only nine or ten days that are wet or bearable, if we are lucky. I had just gotten out of work and was about to head for home when my phone rang. I checked the number but I didn’t recognize it. I thought about ignoring the call, but something told me to answer it.
“Hello?” I answered, hoping it wasn’t a telemarketer of some sort. Those damn bastards have gotten sneakier over the years. Nowadays they actually call your cell phone, and I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with them at the moment.
“Yes, hello, am I speaking with Mr. Dutton?” asked the soft voice on the other side.
“Yes, may I ask who is calling?”
“Mr. Dutton, I am Dr. Keely calling from the Millen Medical Center. I was asked to contact you by one of our patients, a Mr. Nicholas Christie.”
“Nick? I haven’t heard from him in years. Is he ok?”
“I really can’t go into details with you, except to say that he has asked for you to come; he says it is a matter of life and death.”
“Ok, I will be there as soon as I can.” I hung up the phone wondering what was so important that Nick would ask to call me of all people. The last time I heard from him was over a year ago. I could have sworn that he would never speak to me again after what happened between us.
I was just fooling around and I knew that Nick was afraid of ghosts so I decided to have some fun at his expense. I rigged a few items, including his locker at school and just waited for him to show up. I knew he always stayed late for his extra-curricular activities and he was usually the last one out of school. It gave me the best opportunity to mess with him. I waited patiently until I heard footsteps approach. As I peeked out of a blind corner I caught a glimpse of Nick strolling down the hall towards his locker. He had his nose stuck in a book as usual so I knew he wasn’t aware of his surroundings and that scaring him would be easy. I had employed a few friends of mine to help me in my endeavor. We had cameras set up to capture the moment, plus we had rigged it so that the feed was being sent out live on the internet.
As he got closer to his locker we began the task of scaring him. One of my accomplices skidded across the hall and ran into a classroom as Nick passed by. Nick being the ever so curious type crept up to the room and slowly poked his head in. He glanced around the room but didn’t find anyone inside. We could tell by his reaction that he was trying to figure out whether he had really seen someone or if it was just his imagination. After standing there for a few seconds he continued to walk down the hall on the way to his locker.
A few seconds later I set off a series of sounds from a well-hidden recording device. This device contained sounds of someone walking up and down the hallway, which threw Nick for a loop. He quickly swiveled his head from side to side trying to make sense of the sound. He was expecting someone to come around the corner so he stood still, looking down the hall towards where I hid. He took a few steps in my direction and for a split second I thought he had seen me, but then he stopped. I think he would have kept inching towards me if we hadn’t deployed the final act.