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Wrong Turn

Yasmine Diaz

Decorative white car with green lights and pink markings

     It wasn’t a good idea to drive this fast in the fog but the two needed to get off from this unpleasant sideroad. The wind whips into their black hair; the top down on the convertible seemed like a good idea when the sun was out. Now it just seemed to add to the eeriness of the misty summer night. Somehow the fog was only blocking the path of the car, and not the illuminated moon.

     “I think you took a wrong turn! We’re not on the expressway anymore- we’re gonna end up lost! It doesn’t even feel like we’re moving!” Solange yells over the wind.

     This makes Mary-Ann crane her neck over to her sister. She darts her head back to face front and hears her sister take in a large breath.

     Her foot slams the break.

     They both let out startled gasps as they jolt in the car, their breaths filling the fog. She thinks that her sister saw something, maybe a deer in the middle of the road. But with the fog all they can see are the worn down yellow tracks against the black pavement in front of them.

     “What is it? What did you see?” Mary-Ann quickly shifts to park.

     Solange leaves her questions unanswered as she opens her side door and puts both of her feet on the ground.

     “Tell me you saw a white woman? Blonde hair? Dark eyes?” Solange looks to her sister.

     “What? I think you just imagined it. Can you get back in the car please?” Mary-Ann pleads with her sister.

     “Hello? Is anyone there?” A voice called out from the fog, bouncing off the open road. The sisters look at each other in silence. It was a thing they did that pissed their parents off all the time. One look shared between them was a whole conversation.

     “Hey! Are you okay? Where are you?” Solange shouts into the fog.

     Mary-Ann’s eyes widen. “Solange get back in this car right now.”

     “We have to see if that lady is okay, what if she’s hurt? What if she needs help?”

     “I don’t know who you thought you saw but I don’t see anything. Get in- now!”

     “If something happens to that woman and we did nothing– ” she begins.

     “Dude, what woman? I literally didn’t see anything but the fog. You probably just need to get some rest.” Mary-Ann cuts her off as she presses her foot on the gas pedal. “Just try to relax while I get us home and out of the damn boondocks.”

     “This has nothing to do with that. I know what I saw and I saw a woman in- one of those emergency jacket things.”

     Solange faces front and sees the jacket again through the fog. She shoots her pointer finger at the front window. Mary-Ann slowly brings the car to a halt. Sure enough, the blonde woman is standing there. She’s mere inches away from touching the car. Her gaze pierces through the windshield. A few seconds pass between the three women, before Mary-Ann honks her horn. Solange yelps and jumps; the woman doesn’t move an inch.

     “Why would you honk at her? She’s not an animal in the middle of the road.” Solange says while getting out of the car again. She ignores her sister’s loud protests and slowly walks over to the woman.

     “You took the wrong turn.” The woman’s voice is somehow amplified by the fog.

     “What did you say?” Solange takes a tiny step back at the same moment that Mary-Ann tells her to get back in the car.

     The woman tilts her head in confusion. As if she wasn’t the one in the middle of a road. As if she wasn’t almost hit by their car a few moments ago. Mary-Ann hits the horn again.

     She hits it over and over until Solange spares her a look of annoyance. “Do you not understand how weird this is?” Says Mary Ann, “Let's go! Now! In the car, Solange, I swear to god!”

     Solange crosses her arms over her chest and turns back to the woman.

“We’re trying to get home from here, we live in the city. Where do you live?”

     “It’s my job to help people like you,” says the woman.

     Solange backs up a bit more at the statement.

     “Are you fucking around with us?” Mary-Ann opens her door and slams it shut,

stomping over to the woman. “Is this some sick joke or-or prank? You think it’s funny to dick around with people?”

     The woman’s lifeless eyes look at her. “I wish you no pain. Only to make this easier for her.”

     “Make what easier? And who the hell are you? Why the hell are you here alone?” Mary-Ann asks.

     “I don’t think we can leave, Ann.” Solange’s voice cracks which makes Mary-Ann take a closer look at her.

     Solange is staring past the woman. Something in the far distance is catching

her eye.

     “Solange, what are you talking about? What do you see now?”

     “I can’t explain it… ” She trails off with a small smile on her face.

     The woman reaches out her hand for her, and Solange hesitantly lifts her own arm up. Before Solange can take it, Mary-Ann swats her hand away.

     “Are you crazy?” She whispers at her sister. She turns her attention back to the woman. “Stop this right now or I’ll run you over with my car!”

     “Mary-Ann don’t scream at her,” Solange says, “She’s not here for you.”

     “What - ” Mary-Ann begins to mutter but then her sister places a kiss on her cheek.

It stills Mary-Ann. Long enough that when Solange and the woman begin to walk away, it takes her a second to realize that she should go after her. She wants to move. To yell. To scream out for her sister. To tackle her sister to the ground so she won’t go anywhere. But by some force of nature she can’t. All she can do is watch as her sister walks hand in hand with a woman into the dark night.

     The fog was suffocating her. Her eyes blinked to clear the tears and her throat felt like it was being squeezed, not letting her get any air. She was losing the air in her lungs.

Solange.

     “Ma’am I need you to stay awake. Can you hear me?” a forceful voice cuts through to her.

     Mary-Ann blinks and everything is upside down. Her hair is hanging from her head, blocking her view. There’s a dull pain in her waist and she knows it’s from her seat belt. She lets out an involuntary groan before reaching up to the buckle holding her upside down. On her body, there's a pair of hands.

     They catch her as she falls.

     “I got you ma’am don’t move, I’ll help you - Ken get the gurney! I need to get her out of this vehicle now!” The voice shouts again, sending Mary-Ann’s head through a series of ringing.

     Slowly, the stranger pulls her body out. She lays her on the wet cold pavement alongside her car which births smoke into the fog and fire into the night. Her head rolls to the side. Her eyes are tired but she can see what’s ahead.

     A girl. Her hair and the pavement blended in with each other. Clothed in what her sister was wearing tonight. Right down to the tennis shoes she had for three years, and the overalls with embroidered flowers she did herself. She’s surrounded by shards of glass. Next to her lies a fresh book.

     “Solange, oh god,” she mumbles to herself.

     A voice makes her look away from the still body laid out on the pavement. It’s the woman. The woman who she thought she hit, who seduced Solange out of the car, and got her to take her hand. Wearing the same neon yellow jacket too. A Paramedic.

She wonders if the woman remembers her. The woman sighs and looks away from Mary-Ann. In the same direction that her sister lay.

     “How did my sister end up like that?” Mary-Ann asks the woman. “Why is she – why am I okay and she’s not?”

     “I’m sorry, but I really need to look you over- ”

     “She went with you. She took your hand even though she didn’t know you!

You took her someplace else. What did you do to my sister?” Mary-Ann’s voice cracked.

The woman looked at her. Eye to eye. Her face dropped the Paramedic’s façade that it was playing. “I did my job.”

     At her words Mary-Ann stops crying. The woman begins to turn her back on her. She shifts. Mary-Ann’s hand touches the concrete. Her face morphs into worry.

     “You must’ve really hit your head - I need to get you checked out Mary-Ann.”

     “No I–” she looks back at her sister's body. Mary-Ann begins to crawl over to her sister. She ignores the woman calling out her name. The pavement is rough but the surrounding glass around her sister is harder. It digs into her palms but she winces through the pain.

     She hovers above her sister’s body, taking her now shaky bloody hands and reaches out for her sister's cheek. Solange’s lips are turned upward into a small smile, her eyes still open.

     The woman’s hand lands on her shoulder, forcing Mary-Ann to look at her. Her shoulder burns.

     “I am so sorry Mary-Ann but I really need to get you some help.”

     Mary-Ann shakes her head. Stares at the woman. Eyes determined. “Bring her back. Bring her back. Take me instead, she’s worth so much more. So much more. Please.”

The woman pauses. Mary-Ann turns to her sister. She’s sleeping, she thinks. “I’ll take you,” the woman says reluctantly, “but the cursed might not like it.”

     Mary-Ann nods, frantically. She looks at her sister one last time. The woman takes her to the ambulance.

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