The full moon did not shine in her splendor on this night. In fact, it was quite the opposite. On this night, in the chill of the mountains, the moon hide her light from the Earth during the New Moon. This left this particular night quite dark, causing even the most observant traveler to lose their way.
As it would seem, that's exactly what transpired this night. A young boy merely driving home. After a fun night of debauchery with his fellow high schoolers, this young boy began the nightly ascent up the beautiful Lone Peak. As it were, no star shown this night, no constellation to guide one’s way, no northern star. The headlights of his car seemed to be eaten up by the ravenous dark, trying to consume whatever small light it could find. The boy wasn’t worried though. As most teenage boys are, he was quite confident and ignorant to the malevolence of the night. And also of the unforgiving ice lying in wait at the corner turn.
This boy’s mother, like most probably would, thought nothing special of this night. She merely wished to wash the dishes and then retire to a night of watching movies with a bag of Hershey’s on her bedside table. Just as she reached for the last plate, this mother’s phone rang. Annoyed, she answered to see her son’s name on the surface, his smiling contact picture never failing to conjure up a small smile on her lips.
“Hey Matthew, what’s up?” she answered only to hear the music blaring.
“Matthew, turn that down, I can’t hear you!” she ordered. Seconds passed with only the music sounding now. The mother manages to identify the song as Adele’s Hello from the Other Side which she planned to tease her son about once he decided to answer. But before she could, she got a glimpse of something, a mere whisper drowned by the beat.
“Mom…” the voice said weakly. “Mommy help…”
“Matthew, what’s wrong? Damn it, turn the music down!” But it only seemed to grow louder, Adele screaming now about forgiveness. Worry gripped the mother now.
“Are you ok?” she yelled now, holding one ear closed so as to hear better.
“I’m sorry mom. There’s…” an audible sob and splatter of some miscellaneous liquid interrupt him, “ugh, there’s a lot of blood.” Not a moment later her phone buzzes to reveal a severe ice warning throughout the county as if a foreshadowing that came too late. And the call stops. The mother feels dread now and is consumed by it. She frantically throws on her coat and boots and swings open the door to only scream shrilly.
Her son is standing in the doorway, unsmiling. The mother fell back to the floor.
“God damn it, Matthew! You little punk, I was worried!” No response. Normally, whenever her son decided to scare her he would double over in laughter but now he merely looked down on his mother. He seemed quite pale.
“Matthew…” the mother breathed, worry rising again. “Matthew, what’s wrong?” A second more passes, his face stoic. And finally, a faint smile. A sad smile, but emotion nevertheless.
“Sorry mom. It was a pretty dumb prank.” He reaches down for her now with a hand outstretched. She took it only to feel cold skin, lifeless almost.
“Matthew, you’re so cold!” she exclaimed. His smile vanishes and he looks to the ground for a moment.
“The car stopped working about a mile back, I had to walk here. Sorry mom.” Warm relief flooded through the mother and she breathed in. She then took her son in her arms and hugged him. He didn’t move at first but slowly returned it.
“That explains why you were acting so weird,” she said as she kissed his head. “Now go take a shower and get warmed up and then off to bed, ok? We’ll drive to your car tomorrow and we will see if we can get it working.” He looked sad for a moment but then smiled once more and said, “Yes ma’am,” and walked to his room.
He seemed to be curious as he walked, taking everything in. He stopped at the wall and faintly touched it with the tips of his fingers. His eyes seemed to be drinking in the framed photos of their family as if they had never seen them.
“What you doin’?” his mother laughed. He stopped as if caught in the act of stealing and turned to face her.
“Nothing, mom, just...just looking around.” And with that he went to his room and closed the door. The audible clicking of the lock rang through the house. The mother shook her head, annoyed at him. She knew her son though and she had once been a teenager herself so she chalked it up to hormones and she too went to her room and locked her door so she could finish her night undisturbed.
The morning held little to note. The mother got up, showered, dressed herself, and continued to the kitchen for her morning coffee. An hour later the clock read 8 and her son walked through to the kitchen.
“Mom, I’ll see you in the car.” And with that, he left before she could even say, “Good morning, Matthew.” She walked down to her car to see him leaning against it, staring into the blue sky. He still seemed so pale to her.
“Ready to go?” she asked cheerily, hoping to somehow spark something within her son. Slowly, he looked down and then locked eyes with his mother. Some kind of struggle was evident in his brown eyes. “Matthew what’s…” but she was cut off by him. He embraced her and said, “Mom, I know I never told you but I loved you so, so much. You know that right?”
Confused, she held him and answered, “Of course I know Matthew, you’re my son. I love you very much. Now let’s go get your car ok?” He held on for a few seconds longer and went to the passenger said without another word. She got in, started the car and drove down the road.
Ironically, Adele’s Hello from the Other Side was playing again. “Hey, Matthew, remember this?” she laughed. She looked over to see him gazing out the window.
“Mom, the world is so pretty,” he replied as if he hadn’t heard her. Before she could tease him further, she saw lights up ahead. Blue and red lights flashing through the trees onto the snow.
“What on Earth,” she breathed in awe. She slowed to a halt. An ambulance, a fire truck, and three police cars were around a bend in the road. Her eyes trailed down to a horrible crash.
“My God, Matthew do you see that?” she asked him eyeing the crash. He seemed to be ignoring her now, whispering along with the words of the song. A policemen walked to the door and the mother rolled her window down. He informed her of the crash and of the boy that had died and reassured her that she would be allowed to pass momentarily. The appearance of the boy sounded odd to her but she sat silently waiting to be allowed to pass.
A flagger stopped the oncoming traffic and she was allowed to drive on. Slowly, she passed the wreck and as she drove closer, details became more evident. As she focused in on the crash, the music seemed to grow louder but she was too enthralled to notice. The car was strikingly similar to her son’s car. Then she saw the sticker, the stupid Donald Trump sticker her son had insisted he put on the car as a joke. Adele wailed now and she could no longer hear her son. She slowly turned to see him sitting there, two dark sockets were his eyes should have been, his torso covered in blood. “HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE,” he shrieked and in a blink he was gone.
From the HATCH Storytelling Workshop