Stories From The Road – Part 1
I know there’s a lot of stories from truck drivers floating around the internet. I also know that a lot of these stories feature similar elements to each other, and some of those elements I’ve experienced myself. What I’m here to share, though, are some things that I’ve gone through on the road that I haven’t seen regaled elsewhere.
I’ve been driving for the last nine years, and I’ve loved it since the moment I started my first job. I work independently, meaning that I bid for delivery contracts against other driving services, be they independent or companies. I’m not married and I have no kids, so driving around the country is ideal for me. Doing so independently allows me to pick and choose where I go, and when.
Driving alone at night on an empty road can get a bit unsettling, despite listening to movies, tv shows, and music all the while. It’s the solidarity of driving for hours without seeing another living soul, that fact that if something were to happen, no one would be around to hear you scream that make the prospect a bit offputting. The rules of NoSleep state that only one story is allowed per post, so I will do my best to provide as much detail in each of my tales to make it worth your while.
Back in 2011, I was tasked with hauling a load from the distributer in Detroit, MI, to Seattle, WA, and due to overnight construction on the interstate, I needed to take a road called “Montana Highway 200”. That road is the epitome of what I described earlier: hours of driving without seeing another living soul. Due to my schedule, I found myself traversing this stretch of road around 11pm. I was wide awake, though, so I decided to push on.
I was about 130 miles east of the city of Great Falls, MT, and I was watching one show or another, just kinda spacing out as I drove through the dark. All the electronics of the rig suddenly flickered. The laptop screen went black for a few quick moments, as did the headlights and the lights on the sides of the truck. After a few seconds, all was fine, though I was a bit perturbed, because the lights on the truck were the only lights around me; without them, I couldn’t see more than 20 feet in any direction.
I continued driving for another few miles, and everything flickered a few more times. I came up over a hill and the headlights dimmed severely, to the point I could only see a few feet past the front of the truck. As I reached the bottom of the hill, the lights suddenly surged. The brights were brighter than they’d ever been, the interior lights of the truck were on at 110% power, the orange lights on the side of the truck glowed brightly into the darkness that surrounded me. And with that, the truck shut off.
I came rolling to a stop at the bottom of the hill and spent some time trying to fix the issue, ultimately finding myself unable to get the truck started back up. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and of course, I had no signal. With nothing in front of or behind me for 50 miles, and the fact that I hadn’t seen another vehicle on this road since I got on it, I decided the only thing I could really do is try to get a signal on my phone to call AAA. I grabbed a flashlight, got out of the truck and began doing the ever-popular “hold your phone up in the air” move while I walked aimlessly in the dark.
I think it was because I was so focused on the truck and my phone that I didn’t realize how…terrifying it was out there. The stars weren’t very bright, and the moon was resting comfortably behind trees in the distance; being at the bottom of a hill didn’t help. I stayed close to the truck but wandered around a bit looking for any semblance of a signal. When I still couldn’t get any, I shined my flashlight around a bit and saw a hill on the opposite side of the road.
Just as I was going to go to the hill, I saw a light in the distance, the unmistakable glow of headlights. I breathed a sigh of relief, then looked down at my phone, then back up, and the lights were substantially closer than they just had been, much too close for a car to be driving. Then I blinked, and once again they were gone, but at that same moment, it was like the sounds of the world stopped. Cicadas in the distance ceased, crickets went silent, and the sound of blowing wind evaporated, and with that, it was completely, deafeningly, ear-shatteringly silent.
It was so quiet that it was disorienting. I leaned against the truck while I got my bearings, and then once again tried to find the lights that had been driving toward me, but I couldn’t see them. I shined my flashlight around me, out into the distance, trying to find the hill I had wanted to climb to try to get signal on my phone, but I was taken aback when something else caught my eye. A door.
Off the side of the road, mabe 10-15 yards out, there was a door. It was a door like any one you’d find in a house. Intrigued, I walked over to it, with a cautious reserve. It was in a frame, and had a doorknob and everything. As I got closer, I felt an overwhelming wave of anxiety come over me. I wasn’t scared, necessarily, but rather, nervous. I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t hear anything, a car may or may not have been heading in my direction, and there was a door standing in what was quite literally the middle of nowhere. It was just an overload of things I didn’t understand.
I reached the door and walked around it, and it was just that, a door, standing free in the middle of a huge open field. Now that I was closer, I could see that there was a design in the door, flowers to be precise, painted in very light pastel colors, so light that even if it was the middle of the day I wouldn’t have been able to see them from where I’d first noticed the door.
As I was inspecting it, my sense of hearing returned, and I was hit with a flood of noise. Like the lights that amplified a short time prior, the sounds blared like my head was inside a speaker. The sounds of crickets and cicadas nearly brought me to my knees before they returned to normal levels. I had barely had a chance to collect myself when I saw movement near the front of the truck. I shined my light light towards it and for a split second I saw a glimpse of what looked like a person moving from my line of vision to behind the truck.
I yelled out to whoever it was with a generic “hey!” and abandoned my interest in the door. I lightly jogged over to the truck and with the same cautious reserve, I turned the corner to see who was by the truck. The same thing happened, though, and as I turned the corner, so did whoever it was that was there, only at the other end of the truck, and I saw the same glimpse of a possible person now moving behind the trailer.
Instead of chasing them the way they were going, I moved in the opposite direction, and tried to meet them around the other side of the truck, but when I did, I saw no one. I couldn’t hear any footsteps or anything; it was like I’d imagined someone there, only I knew I hadn’t. I decided to look under the truck, to see if I could see the feet of whoever it was. I crouched down got as low as I needed to to see underneath the trailer and shined my flashlight. Of course, I saw no one. But at that moment, I felt eyes on me.
The feeling was unmistakable, I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about. I slowly stood back up, and shuddered when I was finally upright. I then felt a warm breath on my neck, and quickly spun around, only to find myself face to face with…someone. I still don’t know what I was looking at. Their face was a blur, like it was vibrating almost, but not. I know that’s a terrible description, but it’s the only way I can think of to put it. If you’ve ever seen the show *The Flash*, think of Reverse Flash, but only their face. The only feature I could make out was actually a lack of a feature; where eyes would have been, though I wouldn’t have been able to really see them properly, there was just solid black, like the sockets were hollow.
They were wearing a suit, but, it was like an amalgam of other suits. A patchwork array of different fabrics and monochromatic colors all sewn together, though it was all done very precisely, like you could actually go into a store and buy it; it wasn’t sloppy in the least. Finally, on their head was a top hat, though a subtle one. It was a dark gray, almost gun metal, and somehow it, as well as the rest of their body, was still; only their face seemed to be out of focus.
I was frozen in fear, once again consumed by the anxiety caused by the unknown and unfamiliar. I simply stood there, face to face with this person, for what seemed like an eternity, though in reality it couldn’t have been more than two, maybe three seconds. I then felt another warm breath on the back of my neck, which made me instinctively shudder and spin around, only there was no one behind me. Upon seeing this, I turned around once again to keep my eyes on…whoever I had just been been face to face with, only they were gone.
I was alone once again. The feeling of being watched was gone. I was standing next to the truck by myself, the normal sounds of the night surrounding me, and the crippling feeling of anxiety had dissipated. The orange lights on the side of the truck then flickered back on, as did the headlights. I cautiously walked around to the driver’s side of the truck and climbed in, finding that when I’d gotten out of the truck, I had left the keys in the ignition, turned to the point that the electrics in the vehicle would be on. I closed the door and attempted to start the truck, and was relieved when there was a rumbling, then the roar of the engine. I didn’t think twice before putting it into gear and continuing down Montana Highway 200.
There were so many aspects of that night that I didn’t understand. I finished the job and all the while I was trying to rationalize what had happened, and why. It was all so confusing, but it would not be the last time I encountered the same aspects of what happened that night. The person with the vibrating face, the sound and light surges, and that door. That flowery, pastel, freestanding door. I would see them again about eight months later.
Categories: Nick Botic Original Series