Swish. Swish. Swish. Swish.
The sound of the wiper blades against my windshield was the only sound I could hear as I concentrated on the winding road. Millions of cornflake-sized snow fell from the dark heavens, their whiteness reflecting back the light from my car, making visibility difficult. When the weather is this bad and the weatherman warns everyone to stay indoors, if at all possible, that’s when you listen them. Unfortunately, as a nurse working at the emergency department in one of the major hospitals in the region, I did not have that choice.
As if the blizzard wasn’t enough of a challenge tonight, patients seemed to be coming out of the woodwork the entire shift. From victims of car accidents to hypothermia and cardiac arrests, everyone in the department was kept hopping all night. Then, just as our shift was supposed to be over, a guy having a gastrointestinal bleed came in via ambulance and our busy night turned into a nightmare. By the time I walked out of the hospital doors leading to the parking lot, it was already two in the morning. Three hours worth of overtime doesn’t seem to be worth it after working like a horse the entire shift. I’m sure I would appreciate the extra pay when I get my next pay cheque, but for now, I can’t bring myself to feel good about it.
My car was just crawling on the dark road. At this time of the night, I highly doubt anyone else was brave enough to drive anyway. My eyes felt a little bit gritty after staying awake for almost twenty hours straight now and it wasn’t easy to keep them open. I wish I could turn on the radio but with the weather conditions and driving through the mountain roads, I couldn’t find any decent reception. All I could hear was white noise. Besides, I need to concentrate on my driving or risk falling into one of the ravines at the side of the road.
The falling snow seemed to be tapering off and I could feel myself relax a little. I could see the dark shadows of the forest on the right side of the road a little bit. Suddenly, slight movement from the left side of the road caught my attention, startling me. I felt my hands jerk and the tires skid, making the car fishtail on the slippery road. My heart started pumping faster than it already was during the entire drive. Thankfully, I kept my presence of mind and tried to control the movement of the car by going against the direction of the tires while stepping on the brakes ever so slightly in small bursts. The slow speed I maintained helped me and I found myself stopped in the middle of a dark, winding highway up the mountain. I looked at my rear view mirror to check what it was I saw. Two sparkling eyes reflected back at me from the middle of the road. I squints to see what kind of animal it was. Was that a wolf?
My eyes grew bigger as I got a better view. That is a really big wolf staring back at me. I couldn’t tell what colour it’s coat was, I could barely make out it’s silhouette in the dark road behind me. For some reason, I could not turn my gaze away from its eyes as they reflected from my tail lights. I was mesmerized by the intensity of its stare. I am not sure how long I stared back, but when it blinked, then raised its head and howled into the night, I snapped to attention and turned my gaze on the road ahead. Something inside told me to just step on the gas and drive away. I quickly glanced at my rear view mirror to catch another glimpse, but it was gone. I tried to look at my side mirror to check if it crossed to the other side of the road and thought I saw a silhouette of a well built man running into the forest. I blinked my eyes quickly to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, but just like the wolf, it too was gone.
Huffing to myself, I continued on my way. I couldn’t wait to get home, go to bed and sleep until this night was over. I must be so tired that my mind was starting to imagine things. Yet, something kept niggling in the back of my mind. A few weeks ago, it was shadows I saw at the side of the road on a foggy night and a passing thought about vampires crossed my mind. Tonight it was a strangely huge wolf that turned into a man in the middle of a blizzard? What in blazes was going on with me? I must be going insane.