LITERATI!!! WE HAVE OUR FIRST ENTRY!!!
Normally, I don’t like being taken for a ride, but Randy Zuniga, our first contestant, has started the engines! Don’t forget: you have until OCTOBER 31ST, 2016 to turn in an entry! With that said, we present:
THE CAR RIDE
By Randy Zuniga
I was driving home with my dad after leaving his cousin Charles’ house. It was late that night. Probably about midnight. He started telling me this story as we drove along this two lane road. It was extremely dark even with the high beams on. His story and his voice had a creepy kind of tone to it. It caught me by surprise because my dad was never the ghost story kind of guy. He was always the tough guy.
He told me a story once about arriving home late at night with his mom when he was about eight years old. As they pulled up in their car, the headlights spotlighted his mom’s ex-boyfriend hanging from a tree in the front yard. He wasn’t dead. He was flailing and gasping for air. The ex-boyfriend was let down and the police were called. He was obsessed with my grandma and couldn’t let her go.
One night the ex-boyfriend did return to the house. He came banging at the back door with his fists. This time my grandma had her revolver drawn when she answered door and told him to go away. My father who was still eight years old, hiding behind her. As he moved toward them they kept backing into the kitchen. She warned him to get out or else and she cocked back the pistol. He aggressively pushed forward and she fired in the air as a warning.
He collapsed on the floor with a bullet right between the eyes. Dead as dead…
When the police arrived, they found the pan hanging on the kitchen wall where the bullet had reflected from and hit the ex-boyfriend in the forehead. They lived on Dream Street. The Newspaper headlines read the next morning, “Nightmare on Dream Street”.
So my dad had seen a lot as a young kid. He told me sometimes when he’d be home at night all alone; he would cook dinner then crawl deep into his bed with the covers over his head scared. He’d eventually fall asleep. He grew up to be kind of a tough guy. Nothing seemed to bother him and I never once saw him shed a tear for anything.
* * * *
Charles was a welder in the ship yards. A lot of times his shift didn’t end until midnight. He would dive an hour home along ways out from the city limits. He loved his secluded living and didn’t mind the long drive. He was single so his small shanty fit him and his personality perfectly.
When we visited Charles that night years later, he was divorced so that small shanty still fit his personality. We were there for a barbeque dinner and card playing late into the night with plenty of beer in the fridge.
When my dad told me this story on the way home from Charles’s house that night, it kind of took me by surprise for how unnerved he was. Like I said, he was a tough guy.
It was a fall evening in 1962. Charles, in his early twenties was driving along Campo Road toward Jamul, California. It was around midnight. A desolate area of rolling hills with a row of telephone poles that lined the small two lane road.
The same two lane road we were driving on as my dad was telling me this story.
Jamul at that time was a small community with only a few houses so cars passing along at this hour was rare.
The red Cadillac hugged the center line with the headlights barely peering through the blackness. Charles clicked the high beams. He flicked back and forth from regular to high just to prove to himself there wasn’t much difference between the two settings. It was just dark.
The music got scratchy on his radio so he flipped the dial over to the next station. He looked up and slammed on the brakes.
A woman in a blue gown waved him down. She was young in her late teens, barefoot, and covered in blood.
Charles was scared. He didn’t see any wreckage anywhere. He rolled his window down.
“Help me!” she said, trying to open his door.
“I’m sorry!” Charles sped off.
Ralph who was a coworker of Charles and also a welder had gotten off at midnight also. He was driving out in his pick up to the house in Jamul about an hour after Charles. After work they both enjoyed playing cards and draining beers from Charles’ fridge.
When Ralph arrived Charles looked distraught with already a couple of empty beer bottles next to him. Charles asked him what took so long.
“I picked up this young woman on the side of the road,” Ralph said. Charles stared up at him. “That same woman tried to flag me down.”
Ralph explained that he picked up the woman in the blue gown. Her boyfriend was driving her home from the Homecoming dance when they got into a huge fight. He wouldn’t stop the car to let her out so she jumped. Ralph dropped her off at her house. The house was the one and only small ranch on Telegraph Road. She was quiet and scared. Ralph offered to drive her to the hospital, but she just wanted to go home and see her family.
“Why didn’t you stop?” Charles asked.
“I recognized her.”
“Then why didn’t you stop?”
“Telegraph Road. I know who she is.” Ralph looked up at him.
“After she waved me down, I sped off. I floored it. Five minutes later she waved me down again. I drove even faster. Then a few minutes after that, she did the same.”
Ralph quickly grabbed a beer from the fridge. He needed it. He collapsed on Charles’ couch.
Charles cracked open a fourth beer from the fridge.
“That house on Telegraph Road?” Charles asked. Ralph nodded.
“It’s abandoned. A family of four lived there. One night three were murdered. The fourth was the daughter on her way home from her Home Coming Dance. After the fight with her boyfriend and her escape from the car, a passer by gave her a ride home after being spotted walking along the road. He wanted to drive her to the hospital, but she refused. She walked in the house to find the bodies of her family and the murderer still there.”
Ralph thought back to himself about dropping the girl in the blue gown off. The house wasn’t abandoned. The lights were on! She waved at him that she was “okay” when she opened her front door!
“Her murder was the one that alerted the neighbors miles away. Her deafening shrieking bounced off the walls of the surrounding mountains and hills followed by a sudden quietness. Her voice box was cut out while she was still alive.”
My dad told me that her boyfriend was blamed for the murders and spent the rest of his life in prison. Well, six months. He jumped off head first from the second story of the prison cells into the common area.
I’m not so sure what scared me more — my father finding that story so chilling or the story itself.
After that car ride home from Charles’ house with my dad that night, I decided to do some research of my own. There’s been several incidences of people being waved down by that girl in the blue gown on that stretch of road late at night. The urban legend had grown to where people say if you pick her up, you’ll never be seen again. But, I think Ralph proved them wrong.
And now a PSA from your AWWYP administrator: hitchhiking might be great for stories, but hitchhiking is bad! M’kay?