Short As Fictober #28: “Need a Ride?”

When the night had grown long in the tooth, and the starless sky turned dark enough to swallow the streetlights and traffic signals, every bar and tavern in downtown Bridgewater swung their doors wide, sloshing last-call patrons homeward. Due to a bathroom mishap, Trevor got outside a full ten minutes after everyone else, and found the streets empty. He could make out the faint red eyes of taillights receding into the gloom in either direction. A cold gust of wind tiptoed up Trevor’s back, and he pulled his jean jacket tighter around him. Back inside the bar he found stools already turned up on tabletops, and the staff fully immersed in the evening’s cleanup.
“Excuse me?” Trevor called.
The bartender who’d been serving him drinks all night looked up.
“Could I use your phone to call a cab?”
The bartender pulled a phone from under the bar and set it up top.
“Thanks,” Trevor said.
He called information and though he got the number to each of Bridgewater’s cab companies, he struck out on availability. All cars were out on fares, and wouldn’t be available for at least twenty minutes.
Outside, the night’d grown darker, and Trevor weighed whether or not to walk home. It was only three miles, and while he might freeze his ass off along the way, it’d feel good to get home and find something to eat. He’d only taken a step when a voice called out behind him.
“Need a ride?”
Trevor turned to find an old Continental idling curbside. He bent at the waist to look through the windshield, but only got shadows for his efforts.
“No thanks,” Trevor said. “I’ll walk.”
“Don’t be stupid, kid, it’s thirty degrees out here. You’ll freeze.”
As though the driver had control over the weather, another gust of wind slapped Trevor on the back.
“It would be nice to get home.”
“Sure.” The passenger door opened. “Hop in.”
Trevor nodded and climbed in. The heat from the vents poured forth, thawing Trevor’s frozen fingers. He began to thank the driver, when he felt a tiny bee sting pinch in the side of his neck, and the world went sideways.

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