Thanks for the ride.

By Reginald Span

Frank was a consultant with a big firm living alone in his high rise apartment. Just an average guy paying his bills, has a good number of friends and even a girlfriend. Well that was before he started hearing the voices. One night after a long day, he decided to sleep with the window open because of maintenance on the heating and air system. It was a fairly nice area of high rise apartments, with a park conveniently located right next to the building. The park actually went out into some woods, where not much civilization has treaded. It was an interesting place for a high rise to say the least.

The next morning Frank got up, and did his morning duties before it was time to get off to work. While he was in the shower he could swear he heard something outside, so he would turn the water off and stick his head out. “Anyone out there”, he said. He realized how silly it seemed, but he thought it almost sounded like really close footsteps, about 7 or 8 of them. On the way to his office building Frank started to get a terrible headache, and decided to grab some aspirin from a pharmacy nearby.

When Frank walked into the pharmacy he started glancing the isles for the medication he wanted, when he heard it. “Hey, you don't need that” a voice whispered. “Well what do you recommend?” Frank said turning, only to see no one there. Frank glanced up and down both sides of the isle, kind of shaken he grabbed the aspirin and made his way to the counter. “That won't help you”, the voice said again. “Excuse me”, Frank said to the guy at the register. The guy just looked at Frank with a blank expression. “$3.98 is your total”, he said looking towards him. Frank paid his

money and headed out of the door. He was certain now that either he was going crazy, or his headache was more than what it seemed.

The voice didn't say anything for the first few hours of work. It wasn't until Frank's headache started to worsen. “You won't miss it”, the voice said. Frank closed his eyes really tight, ran to the bathroom and popped 2 more of the aspirin. “This isn't real!”, Frank said looking towards the bathroom mirror. He thought to himself that maybe it was some kind of work related stress getting the best of him. Using some of his sick time, he decided to take the rest of the day off to rest. On his way home his headache came back. “Home, home would you like to see my home?” the voice said again. Frank couldn't take much more of this, so he did what any person on the brink of pain and insanity would do. He started talking to the voice.

Frank: Where is your home? Voice: Home is Home Frank: But where is your home? Voice: This way, this way.

The pain in Franks brain started to shift to the front of his head, then the left. Each time it shifted Frank decided to walk into that direction. It wasn't as if he had much of a choice. He did this painfully, until he reached the park. Walking through the park he stopped right before the section of the park where the dark woods were. It was around 2 o'clock, but still barely visible into the thick of trees and bush. Frank looked into the dark trees and could feel something watching him, thousands of eyes sitting there. “Say Hello”, the voice said. Frank stumbled a bit, then frantically made his way back to his apartment. Not knowing what to do Frank decided to lay down.

He dreamed of being caught in some kind of cocoon, he struggled and struggled to get out of it but he could not. Out of nowhere he was being pulled, and spun around very fast. He heard the voice around him, laughing. He awoke to his phone ringing, it was his girl friend.

Vanessa: Frank, I heard you went home early from work today is everything okay? Frank: I....I....don't.... Voice: She won't believe you. Vanessa: Talk to me Frank... whats the matter are you sick? Frank: I have a really bad headache, it has been getting worse all day. Vanessa: Maybe we should get you to a doctor Voice: It won't help you, its too late Frank: I don't know Vanessa......Frank starts to feel light headed now. Voice: No.... Frank: No?. Vanessa: What do you mean no, you don't sound like yourself Frank Voice: Goodbye Frank: Goodbye?. Vanessa: Fra-...

She was cut off abruptly, something Frank has never done. She decided she would just pay Frank a visit. Frank snapped out of it and grabbed his phone, but it was too late. “Why did you do that?”, said Frank. “She doesn't need to be here.” the voice said. Frank really couldn't take much more of this, so he made his way over to the fridge. The pain in his head seemed to be unbearable, he could hardly see straight. His thoughts were starting to not make sense, but his last option, his last hope lay in the fridge. He opened it and reached for a bottle of wine, then looked towards the pain

killers he had bought earlier. “You can't”, the voice said. Frank didn't respond he just reached down for the bottle, his hand shaking all of the way.

As he started to open the bottle, he felt a shock go down his arm. His left arm then threw the pain killers across the room. Frank struggled a bit, as the arm seemed to have a mind of its own. He got back over to the bottle of pain killers and picked it up. His arm still resisting he finally got the bottle to open, by using his teeth. He was about to start popping pills when the door knob started to turn. His girlfriend had a key, but Frank couldn't put together a rational thought at the moment. She opened the door to see Frank about to down the wine with a mouth full of pills. “Oh my God Frank!,” she exclaimed. Rushing over to him she slapped the bottle from his hand, and slapped him on the back making him spit out the pills. He lay on the ground coughing. She looked at Frank in horror, as his eyes were bloodshot red, and throbbing veins were present all along his forehead.

Vanessa: Frank, what has happened to you?! Frank: Vanessa..... my.... my head.... the voices Voice: She can't hear me Frank: Shut up! Vanessa: Frank you are starting to scare me Voice: She shouldn't be here Frank: No you shouldn't be here Vanessa:.....Frank...

Frank started to fell that rush of pain again, this time down both of his arms. As if on their own, his arms lunged for Vanessa's neck. “FRANK, LET GO”, she wheezed as she struggled to break free of his grasp. He could tell he was hurting her, but his arms were not his to command anymore.

Her eyes started to roll back into her head, and her face was turning blue. “NO!” Frank yelled, as he used all of his might to let go of her. She fell to the ground gasping for air. Frank then started struggling with himself, as his arms were going out of control. “Vanessa, Get out!” he said looking at her. “Frank, I'm going to get help,” she said, grabbing her phone. She started to dial 911, when Frank ran full speed at her. She yelled, and he stopped in his tracks. For a split second Frank's headache was gone, and he had full control. “ doesn't hurt anymore”, he said. She still looked on with concern, keeping her distance.

Vanessa: Just calm down, help is on the way. Voice: You know its too late Frank: Your right.... its too late Vanessa: What are you talking about Frank?

Frank didn't know what would become of him as his headache worsened. He had already tried to hurt Vanessa, no more chances could be taken. With a bit of resolve while he still had control over his body, Frank looked towards Vanessa with remorse in his eyes. “I'm sorry”, he said solemnly.

Voice: I know what your thinking, I can see it. Frank: Good so you know what comes next Voice: You don't have to, ill be gone soon. Frank: Thats not soon enough.

Vanessa saw Franks back, as he turned for the window. She tried to grab him, but he had already jumped. 5 stories he fell from the building and landing in the grass near the park. “FRANK!” she cried, but all she heard in return was the thud of his body and the screams that followed. Frank, was

still conscious enough to hear the voice say its goodbyes. As a brain sized spider started to exit from the wound on the back of his head, it said “Thanks for the ride Frank”. Vanessa looked on in horror as she saw the thing vanish into the darkness of the park.

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