Tom and I were driving along Highway 12- just east of Orillia, over the weekend, when this strange little tale came to mind. I don't know why it popped into my head. At the time I didn't see it in quite the same circumstances as the story I am about to tell you below.
“Nate. Nate! Stop! Pull over now!”
“I said pull over now. There, to the side of the road.”
Sheila pointed to the highway’s edge.
She sounded frantic. A bit scared too.
“What’s the matter Hunnie? Am I driving too fast?”
“No. Just pull over.”
Sheila was more insistent than Nat had ever heard before.
“Alright! Alright already! I’m pulling over!”
Nate pulled the 4 wheel drive to the side and stopped the engine. Sunday evening traffic whizzed by at an alarming rate. He waited for a few seconds then, turned to Sheila.
“What the fuck is the matter with you? What’s the problem?
Sheila couldn’t quite look Nate in the eye- at first. She took a deep breath and turned in the seat facing Nate.
“Now look. I don’t want you to think I’m weird or anything but my voice told me to tell you to pull off the road and stop.”
“Your voice told you to tell me to pull over to the side of this freeing busy road and stop the car!”
Nate couldn’t think of a more appropriate question.
“I don’t know Sweetie. It just said pull over. I didn’t have time to ask any more questions.”
Nate folded his arms across the car’s steering wheel and let his head drop down on top of them.
“Sheila. I don’t know what to say. You know Hunnie, I’ve said it a million times. I understand you have a special gift. I do. It’s just that sometimes you say the most unbelievable things!”
Sheila looked down at her nails. Then, she checked her watch- the one Nate gave her for her birthday- just last year.
It was a quarter to seven.
She felt empty.
She felt anxious.
She didn’t know what to tell Nate.
A few minutes passed.
Neither Nate nor Sheila said a word.
Finally Nate stirred.
“Should I start the car now?”
Sheila looked up and smiled- sheepishly.
“Ok. I guess so.”
Nate was a little pissed off. Just a little bit. He needed a coffee.
He started the engine.
“Alright. We’re off!”
Suddenly, there was a terrifying screech of tires on pavement. A weird orchestration of car horns, glass smashing into metal and a deep, loud, heavy, horrendous scraping sound.
Nate and Sheila looked ahead a few hundred metres up the highway. A lumber truck was sliding sideways across the pavement. Huge logs from the truck’s trailer were smashing across the roadway on top of cars, many coming to rest in a neighbouring cornfield. Others spun high in the air as if they were tossed by a giant hand, coming down hard on the black asphalt where they bounced on top of cars, crushing drivers and passengers- as well as former occupants of vehicles, who in the blink of an eye had elected to leave, attempting to run away from the danger.
Nate and Sheila were stunned.
They couldn’t move.
They just sat there watching the carnage unfold in front of them.
In a few minutes, all was quiet- with the exception of one, lone car horn, blaring nothing but a single, sour note from beneath one of the killer logs.
Nate looked over to Sheila.
He started to cry and shake uncontrollably.
Sheila reached out and held him close to her chest.
She smiled a tiny smile as she stroked his thick, brown hair…