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Strange Ride

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He didn't normally stop for hitchhikers. If Dom had to say why he had, he'd give the line about long legs and pretty faces in the middle of nowhere. Regardless, he slowed down and rolled up on the woman, her long dark hair giving shadows to her face off the faint light of the car's interior lights.

"Pretty late to be all alone out here," he said smoothly, even as the back of his brain told him that he hadn't seen any cars broken down for miles and miles.

"Not alone now, am I?" she asked, an exotic quality to her accent that Dom couldn't quite place, but he smiled for that confidence.

"Not if you slide on in to that seat."

She did, and for half a moment, Dom thought he caught the metallic rasp of blood on his senses, but he shook it off. He looked over with interest at the long nails he could see, shaped to sharp little points, and took in the fact her arms had that solid look of strength and shape.

He could appreciate those little details of a well-cared for body, but where had she come from?

He started back down the road, eyes on the black ribbon ahead.

"So, how soon before this gets ugly?" the woman asked him after a few minutes of silence.

"Lady, if it gets ugly it's going to be because you provoked something," Dom told her, looking over just enough to notice the way the interior lights still didn't quite light her face to give him a better idea of where she was from.

"I hear that's a popular defense among men that cause violence," she said, voice light on the words, but Dom couldn't help but bridle a little. He caught his temper, reined it in, and then forced a laugh.

"That's because a lot of men are idiots. This is just a ride to the nearest town, let you out there so you can find a phone or motel, and that's it. I've got a family waiting on me, and like hell any chica is worth screwing up my life over, even if I were the type."

"Family." She sounded both surprised and touched, but Dom's conviction in the web of connections binding him in place, keeping him from running from his past, rang through and she must have accepted that. He settled into the drive, making good on his promise on where he was taking her.

The sign for an old truck stop came up ahead of him, and he glanced over… to an empty passenger seat.

"The fuck…"

He didn't think he'd been on the road long enough to be hallucinating, but what else could it be?

"Glad you're in, Dom," Mia said sleepily from the couch. "There'd been a string of murders down the old highway; I was worried you'd run into trouble with the police."

"What kind of murders?" Dom asked, even as he dropped down into his chair, shaken by the hallucination even now.

"The news said all three men looked like they were interrupted in the middle of car sex," Mia said. "Claw marks on the faces and throats like maybe the partner wasn't willing. Police are saying it's probably a pair of drifters, setting up the men."

Dom didn't answer that, even as a chill danced down his spine. Maybe…

…No. Avenging demons just didn't exist.