The silence is killing me. 

“So, East you say?” I try starting the conversation. 

“Yeah,” she says coldly, her eyes never leaving the road. 

“How far East?” 

“Far.”

“What are you going for?” I say, trying to keep it alive.

She gives a brief smile and says, “School.”

I look over at her, her smile is beautiful. I may have only just met her, but I feel this strange attraction to her. Her tan skin and long blonde hair are so enticing. 

“What kind of school?”

“The hard kind,” she sighs and looks out the window. We drive another forty miles until we speak again. 

“I have to use the bathroom,” she demands. My GPS informs me there isn’t a gas station for miles. 

“I’m sorry, I think you’ll have to hold it,” I say. As those words fall from my lips, I see it. A gas station, in the middle of nowhere. “Nevermind?” I question my eyes. 

We stop and I decide to get some gas while we are there. She goes inside and talks to the clerk. 

The sun is going down and covering the sky in pinkish-orange light. I look around. The gas station is old and run down. I decide to walk inside. The clerk seems to be as old as the station. His name tag is worn, and it barely reads ‘Henry’. I grab a bag of chips and walk to the counter. 

“Hey, Henry. What’s up?” I ask, not caring about the answer. 

He grunts. 

I look behind him at the hanging sign. “Sandwiches $1,” it reads. 

“What kind of sandwiches are they?” I ask. 

He stares at me and says, “Meat.”

“Ok then, just the chips.” I pay and run back to my car. 

After about thirty minutes, I get worried about my hitchhiker. Another fifteen passes and I’m distressed. I go back inside to ask the clerk where she went, but he is gone. 

I walk up to the restrooms and knock on the door. “Hello?” 

Nothing.

“We need to be going!” I shout.

Nothing again. 

Something touches my arm, and I spin around fast. 

Then it all goes black. 

*  *  *

I wake up in the dark and move to stand up, but something tugs on my limbs. I pull my arm hard and hear the chains clank around. 

“Hey!” I scream. “Somebody help me!”

Dim lights come on, and I see a figure in front of me. I try to scream, but a swift kick knocks the air out of my lungs. 

“Shut up,” a familiar voice commands. It’s male. “Meat don’t talk.”

He takes me by the wrist and holds my arm against a small table. I struggle, but he is too strong. 

“Please!” I cry. 

He grabs my upper arm with the other hand and bends. With a loud crack, my elbow snaps backward. I try to scream again, but nothing comes out. He lets go of my arm, but I can’t move it. The pain is unbearable. I can barely see, but I notice the light gleam off of something metal. 

“No,” I manage weakly. 

He holds the blade up and forcefully brings it down on my broken elbow. It slices through my broken elbow like butter. He picks up my severed arm and throws it in a bucket. There is cold air on the severed tissue, but the pain is hot. 

I can feel the blood rushing out. My world spins, and I see black spots. I go limp and vomit rolls out of my mouth. 

“He lasted longer than I thought he would,” I hear a female say.

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