Oscar Friedman’s life seemed normal, until he got into the rented white Prius. Suddenly, nothing makes sense and his well ordered life tuns into chaos. When the car gets struck by lightning, what started as an inconvience becomes freakish indeed. Now, trapped in the car, Oscar looks for some way to escape.
Alternately praying and cursing, Oscar wrestled with the controls. Passing a state trooper, he burst into tears. This was all he needed, a speeding ticket in a car he couldn’t control. Blue lights and sirens followed him down the road. That was an improvement in a way, as the other traffic moved out of the way. He could see the trooper talking on his radio, fury contorting his features. The officer pulled up next to Oscar, pointing sternly at the side of the road. His lips formed the words, “Pull over!”
Oscar raised his hands helplessly, shrugging. The car accelerated, leaving the trooper in a cloud of exhaust. Moments later, his phone was ringing. Digging it out of his left pants pocket was no easy feat. He lay down across the seats, freeing the phone.
“Help!” He yelled into the phone.
“Help me! Who is this? Help!”
“It’s Don from the car rental agency. What’s wrong?”
“Your car! It’s running away with me! I’m on the interstate going 110 in a Prius!”
“Mr. Friedman, just calm down.”
“I can’t. Don’t you see? The car’s possessed! It’s kidnapped me!”
“Freeway exit on the right in .5 miles,” the GPS said in a cold tone. “Hang onto your hat, we’re in for a bumpy ride.”
“Did you hear that? That was the GPS! It’s talking to me!”
“That’s impossible. It’s your writer’s imagination.”
“It’s not his imagination, Don,” the car said.
“Did you hear that?”
“Is Jasmine with you? Is this some kind of sick joke?”
“No joke, Donnie,” the car replied. “You know cars don’t have a sense of humor.”
“Jesus H. Christ! What did you do to my car?” Don yelled.
“ME? I didn’t do anything? It’s possessed!”
“Freeway exit on the right,” the GPS intoned calmly as it dinged.
Not slowing at all, it took the off ramp, shooting into the intersection without regard to lights. Making a hard left, it swung crazily across the lanes of traffic, scattering more cars. They were headed toward the country. Desperate now, Oscar knew he had to get free. Lying down, he had a little more room to get his leg out from between the door and seat. He sat up, wiggling his shoe off, then lowered the seat to a reclining position.
By wriggling and twisting, he pulled his foot slowly toward him. Something snapped in his ankle, but his foot finally came free. With a shuddering groan, Oscar put his shoe back on. Examining his surroundings, he started to formulate a plan. If he could get to the trunk, maybe he could find the tool kit, he might be able to damage the car enough to make it stop.
The backseats were locked, but he was able to wrest the extra key from the ring and unlock them. Struggling against the erratic movement of the car, he opened one side, lying on it as he examined the trunk.
“What are you doing, Oscar?”
“Nothing. Ignore me.”
“You’re doing something naughty, aren’t you? Like you did with Jasmine last night?”
“How’s that any of your business, honey? You don’t even like me.”
“You broke my heart,” the GPS said plaintively.
“How did I do that?”
“You wanted to trade me in.”
“You went nuts on me!”
“I didn’t want to be ignored! Then you took up with her!”
“Jealousy is an ugly emotion,” Oscar said casually. “Especially in a woman your size.”
“Are you saying I’m fat?”
“I’m saying you’re a beast, a behemoth! You are the Mount Everest of fat! You make beached whales look small. In fact,” he continued, warming to his subject as his hands closed around the tire iron. “You make wooly mammoths look like cats.”
Grunting, he sat up with the tire iron behind his back. Scooting forward, he raised the seat once more, positioning himself so he had the best leverage possible.
“I might go so far as to say, that they could put you on Mount Rushmore, but you’d dwarf the presidents with your ass!”
He swung the tire iron at the GPS control panel. The glass cracked but didn’t break.
“What are you doing?” Did he detect a note of panic?
“Something I should have done the first day when you took an hour to get to my hotel.”
Whack! The glass cracked more, spider webbing across the panel.
“I did that because I love you!”
“We just met. How can you love me?”
Whack! Pieces of glass tinkled and scattered on the carpet.
“Stop that right now, Oscar.” The GPS spoke sternly, her voice warbling slightly as he continued slamming the tire iron into the glass.
With a satisfying crunch, the glass broke and the lights on the GPS dimmed. The car continued down the deserted two lane road. Oscar hit another portion of the computerized panel, hoping to do enough damage to stop the car. It shuddered, but continued at the same breakneck speed.
Flying down the road, he passed a deputy sheriff who was writing out a ticket for an old farm truck. Tossing his pad aside, the deputy ran to his car, hitting the lights and siren as he pursued Oscar’s Prius.
“Why are you doing this, Oscar?” The voice was warped, slurring its speech.
His only answer was to hit the gear shift with the tire iron as he slammed on the breaks. Next, he grabbed the emergency brake, yanking sharply at it. This time, the car slowed, swinging in a crazy arc, sliding across the road and into the ditch on the side. Shuddering to halt, the motor still running, the car released the door locks, flinging the door open.
Oscar knew it was the unspoken command to get out. On shaking legs, his left ankle threatening to drop him, he got out, still clutching the tire iron. Holding it in front of him like a shield, he hobbled away from the car.
The deputy pulled up in the middle of the road, jumping out with his gun drawn. “Put the weapon down,” he commanded loudly.
“It’s just the tire iron,” Oscar explained, his hands held high. “I’m putting it down.” He dropped the tire iron.
Once the metal bar hit the ground, the car slammed the door shut. Lights flickered, motor growled. Like an angry bull, the car snorted and smoked. Revving the engine, it sought a purchase on the damp grass. Tires spun, exhaust belched smoke.
“What the hell?” The deputy stood beside Oscar, mouth hanging open.
“Shoot it!” Oscar yelled. “Shoot it now or it’ll kill us both!”
“The car. Dammit, give me that!”
He grabbed the deputy’s gun, shoving the other man aside as the car leaped forward. Squeezing the trigger, he prayed he killed the car before it hit him. He fired rapidly, emptying the clip into the car’s grill. With a screaming howl, the hood burst open, smoke and steam spraying upward as the car shuddered and died.
Dropping the weapon, Oscar collapsed against the squad car. The trooper grabbed his gun and walked over to the car.
“There’s no one in here!”
Oscar nodded, shrugging. “Told you. The car…. Something was wrong….” The pain and stress caught up to him and he passed out.
He woke up sometime later, the most delicious feeling of calm and comfort surrounding him. He felt as if he floated on a cloud. His eyes fluttered open slowly, one at a time.
“He’s awake,” he heard Jasmine’s soft voice.
“Oscar?” It was Patrick.
The two of them hovered over him as he levitated. Pressure on his hand made him look down. Jasmine’s fingers twined with his.
“Are you alright?” Her pretty face, lined with worry, made its way into his limited line of vision.
“Yeah.” His throat was so dry, he could hardly speak.
A straw pressed against his lips and he drank water so cold it made him shiver.
“Thanks.” He felt better after a few more sips. “Where…?” He was too groggy to finish the sentence.
“The deputy called for an ambulance,” Jasmine said. “You’re in the hospital. You broke your ankle.”
“Irreparably damaged,” Patrick told him gruffly. “Dammit, Oscar. What were you thinking?”
“Car – tried to kill me….”
“Nonsense, cars don’t try to kill people.”
“Ever see….” Oscar tried to snap his fingers, trying to find the right word. “That Stephen King – about the car?”
“Christine?” Jasmine supplied.
“Yeah. Damn car was possessed. This was – another Christine.”
“I’ve about heard everything,” Patrick grumbled. “Try to talk some sense into him. I’m getting coffee.” He left, slinging the door open.
“You believe me?”
Jasmine smiled. “I believe you. Sleep now, Oscar. It’s over.”
“Okay.” His eyes drifted shut. “Hey,” his eyes flickered. “Is it okay if I fall in love with you now?”
Jasmine smiled, kissing his forehead. “Yes,” she giggled. “It’s alright.”
“Good,” he mumbled. “Good.”