The New Client

by R. Michael Phillips
(Ridley Park, PA USA)

After an exhausting flight the last thing Carol was in the mood for was finding out the midsize coupe she reserved was not to be. Carol was miserable by nature and soon found herself in a heated, albeit one sided, argument with the unconcerned agent at the counter.

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience,” interrupted a sharply dressed woman with a restrained voice. “I’ve had someone bring around a luxury sedan. Please take that at no additional charge."

Carol dismissed the agent with a piercing glower and followed with a condescending smile to the gracious manager.

In the car Carol regained her composure. This was her first meeting with the client; they had only spoken once on the phone. The address was unfamiliar, so she was grateful for the GPS.

Merge onto Interstate 84 West.

An hour went by. The sky was turning darker ahead and the surrounding area less inviting. Carol was getting anxious about being on time.

Turn left .5 miles ahead onto Charon Avenue.

“That voice sounds very familiar,” Carol mumbled to herself. She became increasingly distracted by the drastic change in scenery. “This can’t be right. There’s nothing out here.”

Turn Left onto Charon Avenue.

“This is absurd,” Carol remarked, making quick glances out of each window.

The road narrowed to one lane. Turning around was not an option.

Turn right 2 miles ahead onto Acheron Drive.

Something wasn’t right. The sky was pitch black with a deep red horizon.

Turn right onto Acheron.

As Carol turned the corner the scene ahead startled her. She stomped on the break. The car stopped inches from a sheer drop.

You’ve arrived at

The doors locked. Carol panicked, pushing with all her strength on the brake pedal. A moment later the taillights disappeared over the edge.

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