Feature Anica Lewis

Chasing Cars by Anica Lewis 0

This is not a horror story.

I want to get that straight up front, because I know how it looks with me lying here in this hospital bed.  I’m glad I don’t have a mirror.  It’s enough that I can see my arms and legs.  How many cars hit me?  I really don’t remember it.

There’s another reason that I want to be sure you understand that this is not a horror story.  It has a werewolf.  No, I’m not feeling dizzy.  You think I’m delusional.  Blood loss or something.  Go on then.  You don’t have to listen to me.  It’s true, though – and I didn’t believe it either, when I first heard it.  You can tell your readers whatever you want, and this can be off the record, if you aren’t going to believe me.  I just feel like talking right now, because it helps keep my mind off how much I hurt.

What?  No.  You’re wrong.  There was no heroic dog.  I don’t care how many drivers saw it pull me out of traffic.  It was pretty heroic, but there was no dog.  That was Rex, my roommate.  I guess it sounds sort of like a dog’s name, but it’s not.  It’s a werewolf’s name.  It’s short for Rebecca.

Rex is a good roomie.  She doesn’t do sleazy stuff in the room or anything.  Plus, she told me right up front that she was a werewolf, when I asked if she wanted to room with me, seeing as we were both in the science-fiction and fantasy club and both girls who needed roommates for the next year.  I didn’t believe her.  I mean, seriously, a werewolf.  Come on.

She said, “I should tell you, I’m a werewolf.  I go out and get messed up on the full moons.”

And I said, “Okay,” and I laughed.

The first full moon after we started rooming together, Rex had just had a big test in organic chemistry or something like that.  That evening, I was writing a paper on The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Rex looked at her watch and said:

“Okay, I’m going out.  I’ll be back tomorrow morning.  I’ll probably be pretty smashed up.”

I didn’t think she was that kind of girl, but I try not to judge, so I said okay, and I went back to my paper.

The next morning, I was just eating breakfast when Rex dragged herself in.  She had bruises all over.  I had never seen anything like that outside of photos on the news.  I thought she had gotten attacked.  I was scared to death she’d maybe been raped or something.

“Rex!  What happened to you?”

She came and sat down in her computer chair and raised an eyebrow at me.  “I told you I was going to be smashed up.”

I said, “Good God, Rex, I thought you meant you were going to get drunk!”  And she was all offended.  I guess really neither of us is into that stuff, and she thought I knew her better than that.  Anyway, she healed really fast.

What?  No, I can’t prove this.  It’s true.  If you print it, I might end up blaming whatever’s in this IV for all this stuff I’m saying, though.  Like I said, I’m talking because it hurts more when I’m not distracted.  It’s not as painful as it looks, though.  I guess it’s the IV, or shock or something.  Anyway, I talk all the time.  You can ask Rex.  She’ll show up at the hospital tomorrow.  She’ll be the one with all the bruises.  Actually, she’ll probably look better than I do.  I’m going to walk again sometime, right?

So Rex went out again the next month, when we had another full moon, and she came back all black-and-blue again.  She’d cover it with makeup before she went to class, but I always saw it.  By evening, when she washed the makeup off, the bruises were doing that yellow-green thing, and the next day, they’d be practically gone.  She was never bleeding.  She said werewolf skin can only be cut by silver.  I guess it didn’t take that much to break werewolf blood vessels, though.  That’s what bruises are, right?  It sounds so much worse than just saying “bruise.”

I asked her one time why she was always so messed up when she came back.  She looked at me like I was going to laugh at her and she was already tired of it, and said, “I chase cars.”

So of course, I asked, “Why?”

“Because it’s safe.  I’m out on the highway, and there are no people outside the cars, so there’s no one I could accidentally hurt.  And cars can’t hurt me.  I mean, not really hurt me.  I get hit all the time.  They can’t kill me.”

I thought it was neat.  I liked the idea of little kids looking out the windows of cars and seeing a real werewolf, even if they didn’t know it.  It was the kind of thing I used to look for when I was a kid on long car trips at night, when we were driving through woods or fields or whatever.  But, I mean, I’m a nerd.  You probably figured that – sci-fi/fantasy club, right?

Yeah.  So anyway.  Rex went out every month and came back all bashed up.  Sometimes, she told me stuff, like about the station wagon that hit her and then they stopped it and got out to look for her body, and she had to run away before she could lose control and attack them.  One time, she got run over by a fire engine and an ambulance.  We were roommates all our sophomore year, and the only thing we fought over at all was cleaning.  Well, and the bookshelves.  Her big fat science books were taking all the space and about to break them, and I just had a bunch of little paperbacks.  Didn’t seem fair.

Right.  Rex and I are juniors now, and we’re rooming together again.  Yesterday, I was going to Target in the evening to get some more food.  I have a meal plan at school, but some days their food is terrible, so I need stuff to eat in the room.  I had to take the Orange Line to get to Target, but I was going to take the Red Line back.  It stops in a different place.  My timing was really bad, though.  I should have taken the Orange Line back, but I didn’t know it was almost there when I was on my way to the Red Line stop.  I couldn’t see it.  The bus stop isn’t that well lit.  It should be.  I could probably sue someone, but I don’t want to be that person, you know?  It’s dark over by the Red Line stop, though, because it’s away from the Target parking lot, closer to the highway.

So I was just crossing the road to get to my stop, and suddenly the Orange Line comes up out of nowhere.  I mean, it was right there, going to run me down.  I remember something tackling me out of the way.  It felt like I got hit by a flying mattress.  And then, something much, much harder hit – I guess hit both of us.  That must have been a car.  I don’t know where Rex went.  She must have gotten knocked out of the way.  They didn’t find her, did they?  Good.  Then she’s fine.  She’ll be here tomorrow.

So I guess I got hit by at least one more car.  I mean, that’s what the nurses told me.  They thought maybe more than that.  They must have given me something really hardcore in the IV, though, because I feel like this should really hurt more.  Hey, I’m not complaining.

Actually, the needle feels funny, though.  Is it me, or – hey, look, it must have come out!  It’s still taped down, but the needle is out.  Weird.  I guess the nurses will have to put it back in.

So, what are you going to print about this, anyway?  Is it still a heroic dog story?  I wouldn’t blame you, I guess.  Makes for good copy, probably.  “Heroic Dog Knocks College Student Out of Path of Bus.”

No, she definitely knocked me out of the way.  We went flying into the front of a car in the other lane, like I said, remember?  There was no dragging.

Well, then, your “four separate witnesses” are wrong, aren’t they?  I was there.  If they found me on the sidewalk, I must have gotten thrown over there by one of the cars.

Look, I know I wasn’t that coherent at the time, but I think I would remember if a werewolf was dragging me around.  Plus, wouldn’t I have, like, teeth marks in my shoulder if she had been pulling me anywhere by it?

Well, would you look at that.  Teeth marks.  I’d have expected it to hurt more.

But really, none of this hurts too much.  I mean, considering that I got hit by at least two cars or whatever, you’d think I’d be in way more pain.  And bleeding more.  This isn’t so bad, really . . .

Mostly just bruises.