“THE BLOODY BRIDE OF THIRTEEN CURVES ROAD” and More True Horrors, Plus a Creepypasta! #WeirdDarkness
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Listen to ““THE BLOODY BRIDE OF THIRTEEN CURVES ROAD” and More True Horrors (plus a Creepypasta! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: A college professor finds a footprint outside of his office… and the closer he examines it, the stranger it becomes. (Ghostly Footprints Outside My Office Door) *** Why are the traffic-cameras still flashing if cars aren’t moving? (Morris) *** She wanders the road at night, haunting all those who pass. She is the “Bloody Bride of 13 Curves Road”. *** What’s more terrifying than losing your very young child in the woods? When your search for him turns into a paranormal encounter. (Garden Of The Gods) *** Dorothy Forstein vanished from her Philadelphia home in 1949. To this day, her disappearance has never been solved. (The Vanished Housewife)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“Ghostly Footprints Outside My Office” by Thomas Bauerle: http://bit.ly/2WJzVq8
“The Bloody Bride of Thirteen Curves Road” by Jessica Ferri: http://bit.ly/2KTxkI6
“The Vanished Housewife” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2Kn9o07
“Garden of the Gods”: http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=24986
Fictional story “Morris” written by Martin Mosely, submitted to WeirdDarkness.com
“Unwanted House Guest”, “Is Our House Haunted”, “The Menace”, “A Haunted Mobile Home”, “Shadow People”, “Ghostly Handprints”, “The Haunted Cemetery of Walnut Mound” submitted by Harsh, “Don’t Go Into That Old Warehouse… We Did… And We Shouldn’t Have” submitted anonymously, “Ghosts Follow Me Around” submitted anonymously, “A Peeing Ghost” submitted anonymously, “When Doves Fly” submitted anonymously, “The Strange Voice” submitted anonymously, “Auntie Calling” submitted anonymously, “Ghostly Big Band” submitted anonymously, “Mysterious Thing” submitted anonymously, “The Man In The Ambulance” submitted by Steve, “Auntie Says Goodbye” submitted anonymously, “Something Touched Me” submitted by Gina – all posted at http://www.MyHauntedLifeToo.com
“Lazy Saturday Night” written by MyCool: http://www.creepypasta.com/lazy-saturday-night/
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(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
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“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
Trademark, Weird Darkness®, 2022. Copyright Weird Darkness©, 2022.
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On January 25, 1949, a tragic disappearance occurred in the city of Philadelphia. Many people have an interest in unsolved disappearances. But the case of Dorothy Forstein is among the saddest of these stories and is also one of the most unusual in the annals of American crime. To this day, her disappearance has never been solved and strangely, the case was dropped from newspapers within a week after she vanished. Numerous attempts have been made to remove this case from the history books in recent years, but weird, tantalizing details still remain.
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
Coming up in this episode…
A college professor finds a footprint outside of his office… and the closer he examines it, the stranger it becomes. (Ghostly Footprints Outside My Office Door)
Why are the traffic-cameras still flashing if cars aren’t moving? (Morris)
She wanders the road at night, haunting all those who pass. She is the “Bloody Bride of 13 Curves Road”.
What’s more terrifying than losing your very young child in the woods? When your search for him turns into a paranormal encounter. (Garden Of The Gods)
But first… Dorothy Forstein vanished from her Philadelphia home in 1949. To this day, her disappearance has never been solved. (The Vanished Housewife)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
And this month we’re celebrating Weird Darkness’ birthday… this month makes seven years of Weird Darkness as a podcast. And to recognize our birthday, every October we ask you to make a donation to our Overcoming The Darkness fundraiser. Every dollar we raise through donations and the Weirdling Woods painting auction will go to organizations that help people who struggle with depression. You can learn more about the fundraiser and what we’re doing with it on the Hope in the Darkness page at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
Dorothy Forstein vanished from her Philadelphia home in 1949, having been married nine years to her childhood sweetheart, Jules Forstein, who was a clerk for the Philadelphia City Council at the time of the wedding. Dorothy was a happy, outgoing young woman and she became the devoted mother of two children, Marcy, an infant, and Merna, age ten, who were children from Jules’ first marriage. His wife had died in childbirth not long before he and Dorothy had become reacquainted. Their marriage was a happy one and Forstein’s professional life began to prosper when he was made a magistrate in 1943. Another child, Edward, was born a short time later.
The Forsteins’ idyllic life was shattered on January 25, 1945. Dorothy left the children with neighbors and went out to do some shopping. She reportedly joked with the butcher and chatted with friends as she went about her errands. Later, her neighbor saw her return home and thought that someone was with her, or walking behind her, as she made her way through the late evening shadows to her front door. It was getting dark and the neighbor, Maria Townley, admitted that she didn’t look closely at the man who was behind her. It was a safe neighborhood and she never imagined that Dorothy was in trouble.
Just as Dorothy was entering her three-story brick home, the stranger– or whomever it might have been that Mrs. Townley saw– jumped out of the darkness at her. He began beating her with his fists and some sort of blunt instrument. Dorothy fell to the ground and was pounded into unconsciousness. As she tumbled into the house, her arm dislodged the hall telephone. In those days of live operators, the voice on the other end of the line heard the commotion and quickly summoned the police. The attacker fled at the sound of approaching sirens.
Police officers arrived moments later and found a battered Dorothy on the floor of the hallway. She had suffered a broken jaw, a shattered nose, a fractured shoulder and a brain concussion. She was rushed to the hospital and when she awakened, she could only weakly explain that “someone jumped out at me. I couldn’t see who it was. He just hit me and hit me.”
Investigators labeled the attack an attempted murder and Captain James A. Kelly of the Philadelphia Homicide Division began trying to put the pieces together. He concluded that it could only have been someone trying to kill Dorothy since no money, jewelry or anything else had been taken from the Forstein home. Jules Forstein himself was investigated but he had an unimpeachable alibi and the children were too young to have been involved. The case was complicated by the fact that Dorothy had no known enemies and in fact, was one of the most well-liked residents in the neighborhood. The most prevalent theory for the police investigators was that the attacker might have been someone who had appeared in court before Forstein and had assaulted Dorothy for revenge. Every possible lead was investigated but no arrests were ever made.
Dorothy recovered from her injuries but was so shaken by the incident that she was never the same again. Her happy and carefree personality was gone, replaced by an anxious woman who was nervous and upset, jumping at every noise in the house and checking and rechecking the locks on the doors and windows. She was sure that someone was out to get her – but who?
Jules Forstein was perplexed. He was sure that no one with whom he had come into contact as a magistrate would bear him enough of a grudge to hurt his wife or his family, and yet he could not explain Dorothy’s attack. He seldom left his wife and children alone but on the night of October 18, 1949, he made plans to attend a political banquet. As he was leaving the office, he called his wife to check on her, explaining that he didn’t plan to be home too late.
Dorothy replied that everything was fine at home and she joked with him for a moment, finally seeming more like her old self. “Be sure to miss me!” she reportedly said just as she was hanging up. Tragically, her words would turn out to be prophetic ones.
Around 11:30 p.m., Forstein came home to be greeted by the wails of his two youngest children, Edward and Marcy. They were huddled on the floor, crying and shrieking. Their sister, Merna, was staying at a friend’s house and Dorothy was nowhere to be found. Forstein quickly discovered that the children were crying because their mother was gone!
While surprised that she would have left the children at home by themselves, Forstein assumed that Dorothy was visiting with friends or neighbors. He telephoned for several hours and no one had seen her. Finally, he called Captain Kelly again and the detective soon started his men checking hospitals, morgues and hotels all over Philadelphia. They worked frantically but no clues were discovered. Kelly went door-to-door in the neighborhood but no one had seen anything unusual. Wherever she was, Dorothy had left her purse, money and keys at home. The front door to the house had been locked.
The only lead came from nine-year-old Marcy Forstein, but her story was so wild that detectives at first dismissed it as nothing more than a child’s frightened and overactive imagination. She told Captain Kelly that she had been awakened and had left her room to see a man coming up the stairs. He went into her mother’s room. The door was cracked open and Marcy stated that she could see Dorothy lying face down on the rug. “She looked sick,” the little girl offered.
Then, the man, who she described as wearing a brown hat and brown jacket with something sticking out of the pocket, picked up her mother and put her over his shoulder. Dorothy was wearing red silk pajamas and red slippers at the time. Marcy asked the man what he was doing. He patted her on the head and replied: “Go back to sleep, little one, your mommy has been sick, but she will be all right now.”
The man carried Dorothy downstairs and out the front door. He locked the door behind him and vanished. Marcy awakened her brother and they waited together for their father, who arrived home about fifteen minutes later. The little girl told the detectives that she had never seen the man before and had no idea who he was.
As bizarre as the story sounded, it was the only possible explanation the police had for Dorothy’s disappearance. Nothing was disturbed in the house. There was no sign of a struggle and also no indication that anyone else had been there. There was not a single fingerprint in the house that did not belong and the investigators wondered how a man could have walked down the street with a woman in pajamas over his shoulder without someone noticing. And how had he gotten into the locked house anyway? It seemed impossible that the girl’s story could be true and yet it had to be. If no one had spirited the young woman away, then where had she gone? If she had walked away on her own, why had she not taken her purse or keys with her?
Dorothy Forstein was never seen again. There were no leads, no suspects and no explanations as to who might have taken her or why. Newspapers all over the country, especially in Pennsylvania, carried stories about her disappearance and possible kidnapping and then, by the end of October, the story largely disappeared, just as Dorothy had done. She simply vanished – gone without a trace.
For decades, no further word of Dorothy Forstein appeared in print. Then, in 2003, I featured the story of Dorothy Forstein on my website and soon after, I received a letter from an attorney from the Forstein family asking if the story could be removed. The letter was not threatening. It merely made an appeal for the privacy of the family members and asked if I would consider removing it from the internet out of consideration for their grief. I agreed to do so and I later learned that several sites that had also featured my article on the disappearance had received a similar letter.
Why the secrecy about a fifty-year-old disappearance? No one could say and to this day, no one is talking. I have never heard anything else about this mysterious case and there has been no further contact with anyone about it. After all of those years, the 2003 attention to the case of the missing housewife is almost as mysterious as the original vanishing – and neither is likely to ever be solved.
I currently teach at a university in Nagoya, Japan. I have an office on the sixth floor, which is comfortable and useful for meeting students and colleagues. I use when doing research, class planning, and writing. I feel at home there with all of my books stacked on the shelves and my favorite photos on the wall. It has an atmosphere of being “my sacred space”, which I appreciate very much. Seminar rooms and the offices of other professors take up the rest of the sixth floor. I was in residence at this university for two years with nothing unusual happening to me, although one teacher from Jamaica whose office was down the hall reported that she had been obliged to chase some kind of strange spirit out of her office room, the story of which is told the earlier, “Gaijn and Ghosts,” chapter of this book (“Venicia’s Story”).
Sometime during my third year at the university, one of the professors from America knocked on my door and called me out into the hall. “Have you seen this?” he asked. He pointed to the floor and there, placed squarely on a floor tile in front of my office door, was a human footprint. It was someone’s right bare foot, situated so that it looked like it had just walked out of the door of my office.
We looked at it with the astonishment it deserved. It had certainly not been there previously. Where had it come from? As we examined it more closely, we became even more baffled by this strange phenomenon. The first question that came to mind was, who had been walking barefoot from my office that I was unaware of? And why barefoot?
When we looked closer, the mystery only deepened. It was not just a print, but it was bulging UP out of the solid floor tile as if someone had stepped on the underside of it and made a deep impression pointing upward. The hallway flooring consisted of solid linoleum floor tiles placed on top of a metal floor. How was it possible for an impression of a bare foot to be pushing up out of a solid floor tile? The person who made it would have had to have been walking shoeless on the ceiling of the fifth floor leaving an impression that pushed up all the way through solid steel and linoleum. Try as we might, we could think of no logical explanation for what we were looking at.
I soon learned to just accept the footprint as part of my office landscape, and went about my business. Soon however, I bean to hear an occasional loud rap coming form the front of my office, as if someone were knocking with a fist hard upon the wall. Several times I got up and went to my door, but there was never anyone there. It was the same every time. One loud knock on the wall, and then silence. Soon I was hearing the rap almost every day, sometimes several times a day. I had experienced such things many times before, however, so I just accepted it and went on with my teaching.
About two years later, I was walking down the hallway to my office, when I happened to glance down at the floor, and was stopped in my tracks by what I saw. There, next to the ghostly footprint that had been sitting outside my office, was a second footprint that had appeared beside it. It was almost identical to the first one: someone’s shoeless right foot, placed as it was striding out of my office door. My fellow teachers and I examined it as closely as we could. Once again, we could find no logical explanation as to how it had gotten there.
“This could only happen to you,” the Jamaican lady said to me as she shook her head in wonder. Many of the other teachers knew about my many encounters with strange phenomena, and my interest in the supernatural. After a few weeks, a third footprint began to appear, but thus far it is only showing the front toes of the foot. Many of my friends found time to stop by and shake their heads at the footprints, but none could offer any explanation as what had made them, or where they had come from. The rapping on my front wall became a daily occurrence, and life went on.
In one final weird chapter to this story, I decided I would like a photo of the footprints as proof of what I was talking about when I told the story of the footprints to other people. I was unable to get a clear photo, however, as the lighting in the hallway is very bad, and a flash photograph simply blurred out the prints, making it difficult to see them.
I asked a friend who is a professional photographer to help me out. He came to my office, set up special lighting, used several different lenses and exposure settings, but was unable to get anything but a flat, barely discernable image. Finally, we gave up on the project, went out and had a drink, and had a great conversation about the supernatural and the many mysteries in the world.
Two weeks later, I was working late in my office. After I finished up, I grabbed my coat, shut off the lights in my room, and opened the door. I stopped and stared in wonder at the sight that greeted me just outside my office door. There, at my feet, all three (or should I say all two and a half?) footprints were glowing brightly in a soft golden light. The hallway outside my office is long and badly lighted with dim fluorescent lighting. At the far end of the hallway, about 30 feet away, is a very small window, about two feet tall and half a foot in width. In what was perhaps a very rare event, the glowing sundown taking place on the far horizon was hitting the window squarely, sending a long beam of golden light down the hallway that fell directly on the spot where the footprints lay, bathing them in a soft golden light that revealed every detail. Knowing that this situation would not last very long, I took out my cell phone and used its tiny camera to get the picture I had been trying so hard to take before. If you ask me, I will be glad to show it to you, or you can visit my office and see the footprints for yourself. If you can come up with a logical explanation of where they came from, or what is rapping on my office wall, I will be glad to hear it.
After a long night, the dark drive home along a backcountry road can be perilous. Your eyes play tricks on you. But those who have traveled down Cedervale Road, just outside of Syracuse, New York, know they can’t all be seeing the same “trick”—can they?
For decades, nighttime travelers of Cedervale Road, perhaps better known as 13 Curves Road, have claimed to see the chilling sight of a young woman, battered and bloody, still dressed in her white wedding gown, wandering along the side of the road.
This apparition is known as the Bloody Bride, and it’s said that she and her husband died on the very night of their marriage after losing control of their vehicle along the winding stretch. Others say the young bride survived, only to come back in death to haunt the spot where she lost her new husband so many years before.
Dozens of witnesses have claimed to see the Bloody Bride gliding along the road. Sometimes she’s described as carrying a small lantern. For some especially unlucky drivers, the Bloody Bride appears in the backseat of their car, with a haunting expression on her face, before disappearing.
As long as most can remember, the tragic tale of the Bloody Bride of 13 Curves Road has been told. Some locals believe the accident took place over a hundred years ago, and instead of a car, the bride and her husband were thrown from a horse and buggy down the steep curve and into the creek.
A local named David D’Ambrosio has been known to string up a spooky decoration resembling the Bloody Bride in the trees that line the road. The decoration gives motorists quite the shock on the pitch-black stretch where even the stars are covered by a dense canopy of trees.
One eyewitness claimed as he and his friend made their way around the sixth curve, “a dim glowing white shape appeared in the road ahead of us. It slowly made its way from the left side of the road to the right. When it got right in the middle of the road, it stopped and turned towards us. It was about the height of an average woman, but it was not very well defined––it was more of a static-y blur than a clear image. It did have a red glow up near where the head would approximately be on a human being.”
There is a helpful map for those brave enough to venture along the snaking curves. But beware, the Bloody Bride is known to lunge out, desperate to catch passing vehicles. Whatever you do, do not explore the darkness on foot. The winding road is dangerous, and dark.
GARDEN OF THE GODS
It was the summer of 1984, and we had decided to take the newly acquired (used) Nimrod camper out. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s pretty much a pop-up tent that folds flat into a wee trailer, so that you can tow it behind your car. Our destination was at the Southern tip of Illinois – the Shawnee National forest, to be more exact the area called the Garden of the Gods, in Herod.
It’s a spectacular place, and very rustic, as in there are no ‘hook ups’ for water or power. They did have restrooms of sorts, scattered about the various camping locations. A low cement building whose interior reminded me of an outhouse, I learned later these are called ‘vault toilets’. I’ve heard that in some areas they have cabins you can rent, but the forest is so huge we neither saw them, or even evidence of other people when we pulled into the area we had been assigned to, almost at the rim of a very deep valley.
My son, Josh, was only 2 1/2 at the time and insisted he wanted to help Daddy set up the camper, while I gathered firewood, and set up the rest of our site.
I wasn’t gone long. Firewood in a forest is easy to find, my husband was still setting up the camper. Well fidgeting with getting the door in right. “Where’s Josh?” I immediately asked not seeing him in plain sight.
My then husband, half turning said, “He’s right -” and froze looking at empty space. We both started calling his name and searching the area.
He was gone. No where to be seen, and I strained my ears for any muffled cry or anything.
I studied the ground for hints of his trail, clues to which direction he may have wondered off in. My now ex, thought I was crazy, kneeling down in the spot he’d last seen my boy and slowly turning in a circle. But, I was making myself Josh-sized, and trying to see things as he had. Straining my eyes for bent grass, a partial print, any thing to say ‘this way’. Inwardly, I was both praying, and summoning up every scrap of knowledge I had ever learned about tracking, while in my head I heard the words of the old man at the registration cabin saying, “Watch out for bears and coyotes. There’s some snakes too,” on repeat. Josh was only a baby – he’d think they’d behave like his cartoon characters and be friendly… I felt his dad’s hand on my shoulder and I hissed, “You go back to the registration area. You go back and tell them, our boy’s lost. They’ll get us help. I’ll keep looking.” He opened his mouth, to protest I think, then turned to get in the pickup truck. He knew, city boy that he was, this was more my world then his, and I stood a better chance.
Still kneeling, I forced myself to breath deep, to find that inner core of strength, and open myself. I found myself getting up and wandering to the opposite side of the camper and staring down into the valley, where large boulders jutted up out of the ground, and trunks of trees towered up. Some mere saplings, others the size of a dinning room table in diameter. Below me, eagles circled and soared. The glory of this beauty nearly lost to me as I scanned for a small figure. From my peripheral vision on my left I saw something move on the ridge. I spun in that direction and saw nothing for a moment. I dropped to my knee – there! In the distance in the shadows of the trees, a dark child size shadow ran. “Josh!” I called, it paused looking at me, I think, then ran behind a larger tree, lost from view. I was up in a flash running towards where I had seen him.
Logically, at some depth of my mind, I knew though toddlers can move like greased lightening, this was not my boy I was chasing down. This dark shadow was always a head of me, just far enough I’d see him but not details, but it obviously wanted to be seen, and followed. I heard a man’s voice,”Leave a trail. Won’t do any good to get lost yourself.” I responded by purposely breaking twigs, and snapping long stemmed flowers as I passed. A blind tracker could follow me. I talked to the air,”Help me find my boy!” Tears were threatening to flow, but now was not the time. Again, just ahead and to the right, I saw the shadow boy, and again I was running. The voice would yell, “trail marker!” and I’d snap something on the fly. I was not quietly stalking, heck I was no longer even tracking. I forced myself to stop panic searching. I forced myself to stop, right where I was, and become still. Not just outer still, but inwardly. Panicking like this was not the answer. Blindly chasing shadows, was not the answer. This was not the way to find my boy.
I closed my eyes and focused. Imagery slowly emerged,, from behind my closed eyes. I saw a kind of tunnel with my child inside. I frowned. That made no sense.
Something whacked me in the shoulder, not hard but enough to make me jerk my head, with my eyes flying open in that direction. Perhaps two yards away, closer than ever before was that dark child. A bit more than shadow, but still very vague, as in I couldn’t make out details such as clothing or facial features. Older than two, but quite young. This time instead of darting off, he waved me to come. I snapped another twig and followed, because I felt I should. He stayed just a bit ahead, and from time to time his form would twist, as if looking back to be sure I followed.
I lost him somewhere, or perhaps he just vanished. I sat down on a large fallen log and looked back the way I’d came. “Oh, Baby, where are you?” My voice a coarse whisper from all the calling I’d been doing. To the forest spirits I cried, “What the hell was the point of this? I don’t understand!” My voice broke, and lowering my head, I began to cry, out of fear for my boy and frustration. I felt a small hand on my thigh and heard,”Why cry?” Turning my head, I saw my son, miraculously standing there! I snatched him into my arms before he could evaporate, for I was sorely afraid he was just a trick of my mind. But he was real! He was my boy! How I laughed to hear him say, “You squooshing me!”
“Where you been, Pumpkin? I’ve looked everywhere for you.”
“There,” he pointed at the log. I was baffled.
“I didn’t see you?”
He giggled, “Inside. My friend woke me up. He says you here.”
“Inside where? Can you show me?” He gives me that look that only small children give well, it asks if you’re an idiot because to them it’s so obvious. Taking me by the end, he led me to the end of the log I’d been sitting on, and pointed. Squatting down, I see it’s hollow inside, and I recall my vision of a ‘tunnel’. “I playing wit’ my friend and got tired. He said safe there.”
I nod,”Yes safer there than in the open.” In my head I added “Where bears or coyotes could get you easier.” Out loud, I say, “We should get back to Daddy. He’s looking for you too. Why’d you go off like that?”
We followed my ‘blind man’s” trail back with my son telling me his adventure. From what I gathered, he’d gotten bored helping Daddy, because he wasn’t allowed to do anything, and he got tired of digging in the dirt. So he started looking around. When he was on the other side of the camper looking down at the birds and stuff, this boy came up and told him it wasn’t safe to play there, and led him over to the trees. The boy’s name was Chaska. After awhile Josh became very tired, and he and his friend curled up in the log for a nap. Then I was there.
Of course no one else believed his story, they thought it was all imagination, with the exception of the old man for the reception area. He looked at me, the sage way, some old country folks have, and said, “Chaska, Sioux for first born son.” Of course, I never told my side of the story. Let them think I’m a star tracker.
|The overcast sky lowers a light fog over the small mountain town, leaving enough water on Morris’s window to require wipers, but not enough for even the lowest position without the obnoxious sound they make when the glass is too dry.
A flash from the intersection camera ahead signals someone breaking a traffic law. Morris patiently waits a quarter-mile back from said intersection and remembers a friend laughing about a traffic-camera taking his picture while jay-walking. This pedestrian story lends an answer to the question forming, but unspoken, “Why are the traffic-cams flashing if cars aren’t moving?”
With windows tightly closed and music playing softly, Morris looks down at his phone to select a song that will continue the overcast mood that the previous song has established. He stops at “a good one” and waits for the cars ahead to move. Another flash from the camera. Morris huffs out a laugh and shakes his head at a second person caught.
|Through the smear of water on his windshield, he sees his light change to green. Despite someone’s “reminder honk” traffic remains unmoving. Unsuccessfully, Morris adjusts his seat, in vain hopes of progression.
The pattering of rainfall morphs in to heavy rumbling and the smearing increases, but only enough to limit his visibility to ten or fifteen car lengths. To the right, he sees someone is making their way on foot against the flow of traffic in the neighboring lane. The pedestrian, no doubt soaked by now, stops and leans down to the drivers-side window of a red hatchback two cars ahead and to the right. The driver and the gentleman walking down the roadway apparently began arguing, by the looks of the upset and aggressive attempts at communication. He even hit the window in an attempt to grab the driver.
Morris checks his dashboard clock and another flash catches his attention. It’s the dreaded intersection camera again. The all-seeing equalizer of travelers. Morris releases a frustrated sigh, and wonders how likely it is that so many people would be jay-walking. How many flashes was it now? Five? Six? He wonders. Could it really be six? No, he thinks, and tries to recount the flashes he’s seen.
Somewhere beyond his sight, he hears an angry shout.
Another flash from the camera brings him back to reality, his Silverado unmoving despite the continued light changes. The vehicles ahead have their brake lights illuminated, awaiting their turn. Another flash from the traffic-cam. The interaction between the driver of the red hatchback and the offending pedestrian has boiled into scratching at the window as the driver kicks open his
|door and gets out to confront the man at his cars window.
With so many people setting off the camera, and traffic standing still, there must be an accident, Morris decides. That’s the only scenario his mind lets him accept, despite the foreboding feeling of something worse occurring. A nervous chill shakes Morris, and he reaches for his temperature control to turn up the heater. As he does this, someone esle walking through traffic hits his sideview mirror with their shoulder. The strike is hard enough to shove the mirror against the passenger side window and spin the person away form the window, but neither the impact nor the ensuing BANG cause the person to apologize or to stop and fix it. Morris watches them limp awkwardly away.
|This is not how Morris prefers to spend his day off. Irritation grows in pressure and begins to take the place of his typical levity. Morris clears his throat as another flash illuminates the falling rain, and he unbuckles, scoots across the seat, and lowers the window to fix his mirror.
Through the open window and heavy rain, he can see more pedestrians leaning in towards other cars. One seems to notice him, but stays at the window in which he is currently engaging. Morris incorrectly assumes that they are communicating the details of the incident, so he waits, and briefly considers calling to them for answers.
The signal changes, but traffic doesn’t. Morris hears the sound of an engine roaring, and the intersection flashes, this time his lane moving forward a car length. That has to be at least six flashes now, right? Six seems like so many. Accidents aren’t unusual, but his light, now changing
|again from yellow to red, is only stalling progress, and uncharacteristically he honks his horn.
He can hears shouting now over his music. The voices must be close given that he can hear them through the weather. He’s growing frustrated now, and closes his window after pushing his passenger side mirror back into position.
His honk has inspired a constant spattering of honks and he can see that his light is once again green. As has become typical for the moment, the green light is meaningless if the cars ahead don’t move. More flashes light up the thickening fog and Morris begins to wonder how severe things ahead must be for that many people to set off the cameras.
He thinks he hears screaming now, but can’t really see or hear anything specific. From his left lane position, he notices traffic on his side beginning to move finally, while the camera lights continue to strobe, diligently capturing each wrong-doing.
Ahead and to the right, car tires screech as an impatient driver, tired of waiting, takes their chance at freedom. Other vehicles follow suit and the right lane begins to pass the other cars with an unnerving quickness. The traffic-cam begins another ongoing series of photo flashes, capturing each car, and suddenly his lane begins to move as well. As he approaches the intersection, his own mind, much like the stationary traffic-cams, takes only photographs of what is holding up traffic.
What he sees is an airport shuttle, smashed hood-first into a traffic light pole, immediately to the right across from the turn lane he is aiming for. In the intersection, he sees a large group of the shuttle’s previous occupants, seeming to fight for position, kneeling intensely over a person on their back, arms spread wide to each side as if stopped halfway through pretending to make a
|snow-angel by the ravenous mob consuming the once living passenger.. From that huddle, four people are walking away off-kilter, clothes blood and gore-soaked, faces slack-jawed and fed, towards oncoming traffic. In the periphery, people stare on with shocked and horrified faces.
Windows are securely closed with phones capturing everything. More people limp and wander through the traffic, their clothes covered in red, which only adds to the horror. Some pedestrians try desperately to get into the nearby cars in the intersection, and as he races away, above the roar of his engine, he hears screaming. It’s definitely screaming.
Over the following days, months, and years, after everything changes and it becomes clear that nothing will ever be the same, he wonders what those traffic-cams caught, and if the flashes of pictures can clear up how it all started. The beginning of the end.
SHOW CLOSE, CREDITS, A LITTLE LIGHT, AND A FINAL THOUGHT==========
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Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” — Proverbs 15:33
And a final thought… “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” – Peter F Drucker
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.