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The Woman in White

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He's ready to give up on this site for good, by now. He's been here for three nights and still, nothing. There is supposed to be a spirit wandering beside this cemetery, but apparently this particular legend is just that -- a legend.

This makes the tenth alleged "paranormal" site he's been to this year that isn't what it claims to be, and it's only March. Late March, but still. He hopes this isn't foreshadowing what the rest of the year will look like.

It's a lot easier to justify the creepy trips with perfect strangers when what he's looking for actually exists. Hitchhiking these days has gotten dangerous, and difficult, and Phil doesn't like to risk his life for no reward. But that's all he's been doing lately, it seems like, wasting his time and fighting with his off-again, on-again, girlfriend. She's too busy with the orchestra to have time for him right now, so he keeps telling himself this is a revenge trip. He'll show her who doesn't have time for who. (He knows it's pointless, though: She's out of his league and he knows it, even if she might not yet, and he'll always come back to her at the end of his adventures, until they call it off for good.)

He heads back to the road, hoping that someone will come by soon. He doesn't really want to have to stay another night in this town and be reminded again of this disappointment.

No one comes by for almost an hour. Phil is glad that the weather has turned decent in the last couple of weeks, even in the dead of night, since he didn't exactly prepare for cold-weather scenarios. The light fog from earlier in the evening grows thicker, until Phil can barely see the road he's standing beside.

He almost misses the black car, until it stops right beside him. It's old, mid- or late 1960's, if Phil is right, but it's in pristine condition. He figures the guy who owns it must have put a lot of work into restoring it.

The door is pushed open to reveal a guy around Phil's age. He must be one of those rockabilly kids, with his perfect pompadour and rolled up sleeves. Or maybe he just dresses the part, to go with the car he clearly loves. Either way, it's a good look, Phil can't help but notice.

"Do you need a ride?" The guy asks, settling back into the seat and offering Phil a dreamy smile.

"Yeah, thanks." Phil looks up and nods. He climbs in and shuts the door, still looking at the guy.

The car is cold. Phil thinks that cars didn't have air conditioning this good back in the day, but maybe this guy wanted a few modern comforts in his old ride.

He looks at the guy. "Are you heading out of town?"

"I can't go home," the guy replies.

Weird.

He settles into the seat. "Um, as far as the next town over will be great. Thanks."

The temperature in the car, combined with the late hour, are doing wonders to put Phil to sleep. He hopes that he didn't get picked up by a serial killer, even though that would be just his luck. This guy doesn't look like a serial killer, though -- he's hot. But then, Phil muses, people thought Ted Bundy was hot, too. He shakes his head and tells himself that this guy is probably actually a decent human being who just happened to be out in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere at midnight, and stop being paranoid, man, it's not like there's anything actually here.

Despite his best efforts, Phil feels himself nodding off. It's only the nagging fear of being murdered in his sleep that makes him force his eyes open. It feels like they've been driving for hours. Surely they've come to another town by now.

He almost doesn't notice the hand on his leg until it has crept dangerously high. He jumps, and his driver jerks his hand back. Phil clears his throat, trying to figure out what to say. He doesn't really consider himself gay, he doesn't really consider himself much of anything except fighting with the cellist -- the cellist, he doesn't even want to think of her by name right now, he's still upset about their most recent argument -- again, but at this point he's been out adventuring for so long he's not even sure if they're still a thing or not.

Besides, she's probably sleeping with the lead French horn... whatever you call people who play French horn. She's probably with him right now anyway, he's better at getting her off than Phil is, she so gleefully informed him six months ago after she caught him getting his dick sucked by the the barista from the Starbucks across the street from the theatre where the orchestra performs. It's not his fault he accidentally butt-dialed her when the barista pulled him into the supply closet, and they were off at the time, so why should she have gotten so mad about it? Sometimes he just doesn't understand women.

They've been fighting again since Christmas. He needs a break. So he looks across the car at this guy and, against his better judgment, says, "It's fine. I had a huge fight with my girlfriend in December and I haven't seen her in four months."

The guy gives him a look, then, and before Phil can think of anything else, the fog has cleared just a bit, and his dreamy driver isn't looking so dreamy any more.

He has about two seconds to gather his wits and shove the door open before he's attacked. He throws salt, grabs his iron and hits back, and the once-dreamy guy disappears for a second. Phil sucks in a breath and scrambles to his feet, glad that he remembered to read up on ghost lore and prepare himself for bad situations.

A moment later, he's running, running for his life, until he hits the highway and nearly gets run over by a guy in a pickup. The guy starts swearing until he gets a good look at Phil, and ultimately gives him a ride until they get to a convenience store, where he drops Phil off and wishes him luck. Phil watches his taillights disappear and wonders when the next car will be by.

It doesn't matter, though, even if he has to sit here all night. It looks like those rumours were true, after all.