“How far north are you willing to go?” I asked the hitchhiker sitting in the passenger seat of my car. I put the car’s gear in to drive and slowly pulled off the side of the road and into L.A. traffic. “Where are you actually going?”
Cindy looked me up and down as if she was trying to figure me out and then said, “I’m heading for Oregon.”
My mind automatically raced back to the time when a journey to Oregon was the only thing on the minds of four college-aged girls. We never actually made it to the state sitting right above our own, and instead, the un-adventured place became a backdrop for a more important story of me and my friends. I thought to myself, what an incredible coincidence that this random hitchhiker wants to travel there now.
“Why are you heading to Oregon?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I was just asking. Isn’t that one of the things that people ask hitchhikers?”
“I don’t know this is the first time I’m doing this.” Cindy looked at me again as if she was trying to peer into my soul, and I started trying to think of ways to ditch my new passenger without her murdering me. I must have looked pretty nervous as I subtly scanned the landscape for a way out, because Cindy began to apologize.
“I’m sorry, I’m not usually in this situation,” she said looking back and forth at me and then the road ahead, “I’ll tell you my story as long as we’re driving toward Oregon.” She smiled. “The farther you drive, and the closer you get to Oregon, the more I will tell you about why I have to go to Oregon.”
I took my eyes off the road for a second to glance at Cindy still smiling, but she continued to speak. “What I’m about to tell you is entirely true. It’s incredibly disturbing and violent, but it’s the type of story that you would want to hear about once I begin telling it. It is, however, the type of story you’d wish you had never heard once I finish.”
Read the story, “Shock Wave,” every Wednesday.