Cross Road Vehicle
The proudest moment of my life came on the day I bought my first car.
I know that sounds uninspiring. Most people claim the day they got married. Some folks say the day their child was born. Some people are more career focused, right, and they might say;
“The day I graduated university, of course, peasant.“
Or some shit.
But nah. Not me. The proudest moment of my life came when I walked into the dealership with a pair of dirt stained jeans and an envelope worth $10,000 dollars sticking out of the pocket. I was twenty-five at the time. I had worked six years for that envelope. Six years on the bus. Six years on construction sites. Six years of eating shit, taking orders, and earning next to nothing pay. And that day… that day stood out as the first time in a long time where I could finally fucking treat myself.
So I marched myself up to the nearest sharp dressed salesman. I stuck out my hand. And with a shit eating voice soaked in false confidence and irritating bravado, I asked him to –
“Take me to your highest priced SUV, please.“
The man rolled his eyes so hard that I thought they might pop back up at the bottom.
“Right this way, Sir.“
I took heed of his annoyed attitude and quietly toned down the excitement. After one quick look up and down, the man did not seem very intrigued by the prospect of a big sale. I wondered why and found out two short minutes later.
Turns out the most expensive car in any dealership is worth a lot more than ten fucking thousand.
“You can put the money down, but your monthly payment might still be around $500,” the salesman mused. “I might be able to get you down to $400 a month, if you forego some of the fancier features.“
Ten minutes prior, I expected to walk out the dealership with a brand new car fully paid off. Blame my youth for that overwhelmingly stupid mistake. But the unfortunate reality was that I could hand that man my $10,000 and still be indebted to him for years to come. This revelation allowed one of the more embarrassing moments of my life to play out all over my face.
“Look, kid, we might have more cars in your price range. But they’re used.“
My problem did in fact remain. I was carless and could no longer commute to my job across the state. The early hours killed me. It had placed a strain on my relationship, made me late on multiple occasions, and altogether sucked something horrible. I swallowed the awesome pride I felt only a moment prior and followed the man sadly with a metaphorical tail tucked between my legs. I told him –
“Let’s keep it under 10,000“
Because I still wanted to feel like I had accomplished something that day.
And the rest is history.
I got suckered into purchasing a white 2009 Honda CRV for $8k and change. I put the rest towards a warranty and the taxes on my purchase. I walked out of the building with the keys in hand an hour later. An owner. Finally, an owner of something. Fuck, that felt good.
I drove the car home to my shitty apartment in an even shittier part of the city. Luckily for me, there was an open parking spot only twenty feet from my bedroom window. I parked in it, put on the emergency brake, and locked the doors about thirty times. Then I walked up the steps to my apartment, got changed, and went to bed.
It had to be close to ten o’clock at night by that point. I made the mistake of making a big purchase on a week day. Work waited for me in approximately eight hours, and I knew I would be a zombie the next day if I stayed up much later. But sleep became hard to come bye. I stayed awake until eleven, then twelve, then one and two; just reading stories on the Internet and watching TV lazily. I checked my car in the street anxiously every few minutes. Something about the anxiety of my prized possession sitting outside in the wide awful world made me even more on edge. I couldn’t let it go.
I checked the window for the last time at one thirty.
That is when I finally saw something to give me some actual concern.
The streetlight in my lot has a unique way of illuminating the cars. Sometimes you could see their entire contents. Some you could only see shadows. So, naturally, at first… I only saw a shadow sitting in the driver seat of my CRV. My completely empty Honda CRV.
I didn’t think it could be anything supernatural. Not at first. I never really believed in ghosts, per say. And so my first reaction was to run outside and stop the asshole who might be trying to steal my car. I threw on basketball shorts and a sweatshirt in a panic and darted out of the building. By the time I made it back to the front porch, the time on my cell read 2:15 in the morning. I peeled out of the staircase in a panic and darted over to my CRV.
I could still see a shadow in the seat.
“Get the fuck out of my car,” I screamed confidently. “The police are already on their way.“
They weren’t. But I pulled out my phone and dialed 911 in a panic as I stood there stupidly in the parking lot. I hoped the man inside would realize his situation and run.
But it didn’t. The shadow in my driver seat turned to look at me slowly. It was still too dark, and I still could not see features, but I could tell it had to be a man. I could also tell that whomever was in that seat had to be looking right at me through the window.
And then somebody started screaming.
The shock of the scream sent me hurdling backwards towards the pavement. I looked around and wondered if anyone else heard it. But the parking lot was empty. And so I backed up about 10 more feet.
Something started to thrash around in my car.
I know that’s a weird way to describe it. But I could still not see anything but a blur of motion dancing between the front and back seats. The screams started to get louder, more high pitched, and more angry. I ran away from the car and waited for the police, like a coward, by the staircase.
The sound stopped as soon as they arrived.
I gave the officers the key to my car. I followed them apprehensively as they walked up to the Honda and unlocked it with guns drawn.
But it was empty.
Not a soul or shadow inside.
The only thing that could provide evidence of my encounter was the horrible damage to the interior. Bites and scratch marks covered the seating. Pieces of cloth and upholstery floated around the air haphazardly like dust. After clearing the car, one of the officers asked,
“Did you have an animal in there?“
And I told him no.
They took a report. In the end, they told me, that there was not much else to do. They could share the report with the dealership, and I could try to get some money back, but it was far from a guarantee. Most of these sales are final. And we had nothing to prove that an animal could not have gotten inside.
Nevertheless, that morning I marched myself right back down to the dealership and shoved the police report in that same salesman’s face. He offered a dubious look as he looked through the details. He paused for about ten minutes before actually answering my questions. Finally, he said, in a voice that sounded just as disappointed as shocked –
“I’ll let you pick out another car. Truth be told, CRVs are popular, and that one will sell again in no time.“
I felt relief wash over me like a warm gun.
“You know – that car does have some history to it. The last owner died in a wreck. We had to rebuild it from scratch.“
Now he tells me.
I went through the entire process of signing over paperwork and signing new papers instead. I must have stayed there an additional 2-3 hours. But, in the end, I left the CRV at the dealership. I walked away with a nice, safe Honda Accord and tried to put the weird experience behind me.
I went home that night and parked just like I did before. I checked my car incessantly throughout the night, just like I did before. I was still on edge. But nothing happened. I woke up the next morning to the same little Accord sitting in the same spot.
I drove to work that morning fully prepared to put the weirdness behind me. New responsibilities and new issues quickly took over my mind’s eye. I was focused on the road, but at the same time, I could have been a bit distracted. I only saw the CRV cut into my lane at the last moment.
Maybe that’s why I was unable to avoid the accident.
I over-adjusted. My tires cut out and I skidded into the guardrail at sixty miles an hour.
The first thing I felt was rain dripping in through the cracks in my accord. The first thing I heard were police sirens and the concerned tones of passerbys. I looked around frantically for my partner in the accident, but blood quickly covered my face and got into my eyes. I only got one more look at the offending individual before he disappeared into the nearest exit.
The man who hit me was driving a white CRV.