Snow fell like confetti, drifting towards the windscreen where it melted instantly. The surrounding countryside was being transformed from a barren winter landscape into a white wonderland. As light began to fade large flakes fluttered silently in the yellow beam of the head lamps.
The sweep of the wipers had a mesmerising effect and Rhona’s eyelids grew heavy. ‘Damn it, stay awake, you idiot! You’ve come too far to turn back now. You’ve got a long way to go before you can embrace the luxury of sleep.’ The words spoken aloud brought her fully alert. For the time being at least, she would have to keep going.
It was almost dark when a figure slipped out from behind the trees and stood in the middle of the road, arms waving erratically. Heart pounding with fright Rhona braked slowly, anxious not to send the little car into a skid. As she drew to a halt, the figure ran towards the passenger door and pulling it open collapsed onto the seat, bringing with them an arctic blast amidst a flurry of snowflakes. Rhona couldn’t tell if her hitch hiker was male or female, head and features buried amongst a swathe of scarves. It wasn’t until they unwound the scarves that she could discern the face, white and pinched looking up into hers. Rhona was not a religious person but despite this she closed her eyes and began to pray.
‘You didn’t expect to see me again, did you?’ The voice sounded ethereal, floating eerily around the interior of the car. ‘Why were you in such a hurry to leave? Was it me? Something I said? I thought you had more strength of character than you displayed back there, Rhona. Look at me. Tell me you made a mistake and want to make amends. Well, did you, do you?’
When she was able to speak, Rhona’s voice was barely above a whisper. ‘You were dead. You are dead.’