lonely road from Ft. Worth Texas, to Hobbes N. M., runs a semi with
no trailer. The driver is Johnny McCutchin, traveling at night
because it’s August and his air conditioner is broken. He’s
returning from Ft. Worth without a load. Times are tough and there
simply isn’t any work. His radio is blaring to try to keep his mind
off how hot it is. His thoughts are on the last of many
conversations with his wife Jean. You see Jean is a good girl who
goes to church, and though Johnny goes every now and then, He has
never been serious about it.
“Country music”. “That’s all you can get down here”. But Johnny
doesn’t mind. He loves country music. “Not much new on this old
road”. “As long as I’ve been traveling it, you would think they
would build something on it.” “Please Release Me, Let Me Go”. “Man,
that’s an oldie”. “I Don’t Love You Any More”. Love. He does love
Jean, more than anything. If only she would get off that church
stuff. “At least they’ve repainted the white lines”. “That’s funny”.
“They seemed to be rising up from the road”. “Must be the heat”.
“What time is it?” “Two fifteen”. “Four more hours”. “Man!” “Would
you look at those white lines?” “They look like they’re standing up
in the middle of the road!” Johnny kept staring at the white lines,
almost mesmerized by their apparent actions. “I must be really
getting tired”. This was keeping his mind off the heat, so he
thought he would let his mind go with the illusion. “That’s weird”.
“They seem to be just far enough away that I can never catch up.”
The lines got wider and wider and their shape changed to an almost
human form. “Whoa, this is really wild!” Still more change. Faces
were forming with mouths looking as if they were screaming. “Man...
this is not funny anymore!” Johnny rubbed his eyes and shook his
head. They were still there!! “What are they?” “My God, what are
they?” Even above the blaring radio, he began to hear sounds of
screaming. Fear began to set in. “Oh no!” “They’re leaning toward
the truck!” Johnny edged closer to the side of the road. They were
still reaching farther toward the truck, and the screams were
getting louder! In a panic, Johnny steers back toward the center of
the highway. The truck is passing right thru them! “I got to get
off!” “I got to get off the highway!” He sees a truck stop. Hardly
slowing down, Johnny hits the breaks and slides into the lot. With
his head on the wheel, he sat there for a few moments. With dust all
around, engine stalled, and the radio up full blast, he quickly
turned everything off. Silence. His heart pounding and sweat poring
from his brow, he looks around in all directions. Nothing. Just the
quiet, hot, summer night. “My God!” “Was I dreaming?” “It had to
be!” He sits there for a while thinking about what just happen. Then
he takes a handkerchief, wipes his face and slowly gets out of the
truck. Still looking around, with unsteady legs he makes his way to
the restaurant. He looks at the sign on the building, a neon circle
with two letters. "D H".
still shaken, Johnny takes a stool at the counter and glances about
the restaurant. “Looks like a slow night”, he says nervously to the
girl behind the counter. She just looks at him, but gives no
response. The only other person there is an old man staring at him.
Johnny nods his head, but the old man just stares. “Coffee please,
black”, he says to the waitress. She pores his coffee, still not
saying a word, turns her back on Johnny, leaving his alone with his
The old man moves closer to Johnny, sitting on the stool next to him. Johnny sipped his coffee, his mind on the
past half hour. “You’ve seen ‘em”, the old man said. Johnny choked
on his coffee, backed off his stool, and glared at the old man.
“What did you say?” “You’ve seen ‘em,” the old man said again, his
expression never changing. “What the devil are you talking about”,
Johnny yelled. “I can see it in your eyes, you’ve seen ‘em” the old
man continued. Johnny picked up his coffee and walked over to a
table in the corner, yelling, “Get away from me old man, get away!”
He was almost at wits end. Here he was resolving in his mind that
the whole thing was a dream, and this old guy was talking as if what
he saw was…..REAL!
Johnny sat for the next twenty minutes, agonizing over what was
happening to him. “I’ll just sit here until morning and they won’t
be there anymore "screaming, whatever they were." “Gotta call Jean and tell her I
won’t be home ‘till after sun-up”. He walked across the floor to the
pay phone, picked up the receiver an deposited a quarter. No dial
tone! “What wrong with this place?” he thought. “The waitress won’t
talk, the phone won’t work, and there’s no one here except that
crazy old man”. “And what is this place, anyway”. “I don’t ever
remember seeing it before, and I’ve been down this road a thousand
times”. Johnny went back to the table, slumped into the chair and
stared into space.
The old man came over and sat down. “I didn’t mean to startle you,
but I’ve got something to tell you.” Johnny interrupted. “How did
you know what I saw?” “That’s what I’m trying to tell you”, said the
old man. Johnny jump up and grabbed the old man by the jacket,
lifted him out of his chair and yelled, “What did I see, and how do
you know?” “Settle down sonny and you’ll find out”. As they both sat
down the old man proceeded to describe exactly what Johnny saw. “You
see, the forms on the road are lost souls, destine to inhabit the
highways until that day”. "That Day!" “What day?” said Johnny? The
old man answered, “The day when there's no more”. “What do you mean
NO MORE and why are they there?” Johnny asked. The old man glared at
Johnny and with a pause he said. “Those are the ones who belong to
to listen any more Johnny got up and ran out of the restaurant, got
in his truck, started the engine and tore out of the lot. “I’ve
gotta get home”. "It’ll be daylight soon, and if I can just get
home, everything will be alright”. “See, you see?” “There not there
anymore." “It was just a dream”. “But I don’t care”. “As soon as I
get home, I’m going to sell this old truck and take a job at my
brother-in-law’s auto parts store”. “Everything will be alright”.
Johnny was doing over 80. Much too fast for his old truck. “Let it
burn up!” “In about an hour it will be daylight and I can walk the
rest of the way”. He thought about what had happen. “Man!” “Wait
‘till I tell Jean”. “She’ll get a hoot out of this!” Then… there
they were again. “NO!” “NO!” “NOOOOOOOOOO!” “Please go away!” “Go
away!” This time the screams were much louder and the forms bigger.
So big Johnny couldn’t see thru them to see the road. “GET OUT OF
THE WAY!” “GET OUT OF THE WAY!” “I’LL KILL YOU!” “I’LL KILL YOU!”
Johnny swerved the truck back and forth trying to run over the
forms. But they were still there, screaming louder and louder.
“What happen?” Johnny sat up. He was sitting in the middle of the
road. The last thing he remembers was the screeching of tires and
then he lost consciousness.
“I must have wrecked”. His eyes were a little out of focus, but he
seemed to be alright. He saw his truck lying on its side further up
“Well, I really did it this time!” “Better get my stuff and try to
hitch a ride”. Johnny tried to get up, but something was wrong. He
couldn’t move from his position! One by one the forms appeared in
front and in back of him all lined up with the white lines. Johnny
tried to call for help, but all he could do was………SCREAM!