THE THING ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
JANUARY 1, 2019
Story Theresa Rutherford
Illustration by Wanda Fraser
This story is not my own, it was told to me by my uncle who has since passed on. My Uncle Frank was a well-loved member of our family. He was funny and always made us laugh. He was also very musical; playing any instrument he picked up. We looked forward to spending time with him and his music at our family gatherings.
Frank was a long-haul trucker and he quite often would have a story about his time on the road. I was very young but I still remember many tales being told. Unfortunately some of the stories have faded over time but one has always stood out and truly scared me, I still remember it well, as if it was told to me yesterday. Even today when driving on any highway late at night I think of this tale and picture in my mind the thing he described seeing on the side of the road, then I step down just a bit harder on the gas.
It was very late at night and Frank, a veteran driver, was in his semi trying to get his load to its final destination. He didn’t like driving this late but he was a bit behind schedule. He linked up with a small convoy of late night truckers. Working a long haul can be rather lonely especially at night, so many drivers would talk away the miles together on CB radios. Frank and the driver of the truck directly behind him started up a friendly conversation. After introducing themselves they talked about many things; what they were hauling, where they were headed and who was waiting for them once they got home again. They were both thankful to have each other on this night for radio companionship.
Once the banter slowed down Frank was left for a time with his own thoughts. The road he was on was dark and narrow. He was thinking how it really seemed kind of creepy tonight as he was keeping an eye in the truck behind him. It was then he noticed that his friend was slowing down, dropping back a bit from their now convoy of two. Frank started to slow down himself to let his friend catch up a bit and to make sure everything was all right.
As Frank’s truck geared down and he was deciding if he should pull over to the shoulder when he noticed his lights reflecting on something in the ditch up ahead. As he drew closer he could see what he thought might be a person. Its shape was very much like someone standing in the ditch beside the road. His truck continued to slow down and he was now close enough to see even more details. What he saw frightened him more than anything he had ever witnessed before. In the ditch was a huge figure about seven or eight feet tall. It was loosely shaped like a person but the head gently sloped down on either side to the shoulders, as if it was wearing some kind of garment that flowed covering any details of a neck. As he approached closer he attempted to make out facial details and was horrified to see nothing but blackness, almost like a hole where the face should be. Frank’s heart raced – he was not pulling over here. He stepped on the gas and could not get away fast enough.
In his rear view mirror he watched while his friend too passed the thing on the side of the road. Did he see it too? Frank jumped when his CB radio loudly cut in, “Frank you there? OVER”. Frank quickly picked up the CB microphone “Yes I’m here, you doing okay back there? OVER”. Frank did not want to be the first to talk about what he saw but when his friend answered he could hear the fear in his voice, “Yes, I’m good. Hey there’s an all night diner ahead, do you want to stop for a coffee? OVER”. “I’ll see you there. OVER.” responded Frank.
Frank was the first to pull into the diner parking lot. He stepped into the warmth of what looked like a typical highway truck stop and ordered a coffee for himself and his friend. As soon as his friend arrived and walked through the door Frank could see the ashen look of fear on his face, yes his friend saw it too. For a few moments neither men spoke until Frank quietly said, “Did you see it?”
Without making eye contact his friend slowly put down his coffee cup, rubbed his day old beard with his hand and pulled his baseball cap a little farther down over his eyes and said, “What the hell was that thing on the side of the road?”
This story was featured on the podcast Monsters Among Us. It was narrated by me and is the story before the final closing. Thanks to Monsters Among Us for airing this haunted tale!
Monsters Among Us – Sn. 8 Ep. 1 Terrifying Trucker Tales