Paranormal Ice Road Ghost Truckers, Episode 109: The Soul Storm
It’s either dawn or dusk; it’s hard to tell, given the dark grey skies. Big flakes of snow are falling here and there across a parking lot, illuminated as they drift under the big fluorescent lights. Warmer lights can be seen inside the large rest stop at the far end of the parking lot. Our two heroes, Mitch and Cullum, emerge from its front doors, carrying steaming cups of coffee which they gingerly sip from as they walk to their truck, the snow under their boots squeaking in the frigid temperatures.
“Beautiful day, innit?” Mitch comments wryly to the camera. “Great day for a nice, long drive.”
Cullum grunts, and begins his inspection of the trailer. He checks the chains on the tires with some good tugs, while Mitch climbs into the truck’s cabin.
“Engine temp looks good,” Mitch calls out. “New block warmer is doing its job.”
There’s a high-pitched whine as some part of the engine switches on, and the noise of the engine beginning to turn over — starting out slow, then speeding up, until the engine coughs and finally catches. Clouds of steam emerge from the twin exhaust pipes above the cab, and dissipate quickly into the air.
Cullum finishes his inspection, comes around to the passenger side of the cab, and climbs up and into it. The cab’s doors close, and a minute later, the truck begins to pull forward. It pulls through the parking lot, its tires leaving a dark trail on the fresh snow as it heads alone onto the onramp, and the highway.
“We’ve been working as a team since what, 6 years ago?” Mitch explains from behind the wheel of the truck. Cullum nods as he eats a breakfast sandwich, and takes a sip of his coffee. Mitch continues on. “Up here, in this territory — you run into some strange things. Mighty strange things. If you get into trouble, another set of hands can damn well save your life.” He trails off, looking wistfully over the dashboard. He adjusts the gear as the truck starts up a gentle incline.
“The winds, the aurora, the cold… there’s something primal here,” Cullum expands. “It doesn’t care about you, or about anything. One, two years here, you can be reckless and get a few seasons in on your own. Longer than that? Your chances aren’t so good. You’ll run into something sooner or later that’ll get you.”
Cullum finishes his coffee, and opens up his battered laptop. Snow-frosted evergreens pass by, outside the cab.
“No reports of anything unusual on the road,” Cullum reports. “Forecasts look good, but a couple automated stations to the northwest aren’t working. Winter storms probably took them out.”
“Well, we’ll cross our fingers then,” Mitch responds. The trailer continues alone down the snowy road, into the grey light of morning.
We see a time-lapse of the truck’s journey on the road, as the day brightens slowly. Quickly, the light peaks, and begins to fade away once again. Snow comes and goes in sheets, and the truck’s headlights are a constant outline on the road ahead. We only ever see a few cars pass, their taillights fading quickly into the distance.
It’s turning back into night. Cullum is now behind the driver’s seat, while Mitch is dozing as the passenger, his head resting against the window. Suddenly, in front of the truck, there’s a flickering burst of light in the sky, and something in the cabin makes a high-pitched tone, which quickly decays down and becomes individual clicks before stopping. Mitch bolts upright, rubbing his eyes.
“What we got?” he asks quickly.
“EM anomaly,” Cullum responds. “Lightning. Wasn’t in the forecast. We got any signals out here?”
Mitch pulls out his phone, and shakes his head as the sound of rumbling thunder comes in. “Nada. Let’s try the radio.”
He flips the switches on a digital receiver mounted overhead. Finding an automated weather forecast, he turns up its speaker.
“Light snow… accumulation one to two inches… giving way to clear skies… at 8 PM. Winds rising from 5–10 kph west-north-west to 10–15 kph north-north-west.”
Another flash of light appears in the sky. Somehow it looks wrong; the colors are too vibrant, lighting the clouds in striking hues of red, blue, and yellow. Pixels on the camera recording the colors seem to stick, before fading back to normal. The lights are accompanied another burst of noise from the radio and the anomaly detector. Thunder rumbles again, but louder, and with a lesser delay.
“Shit,” Cullum curses quietly. “You see those colors?”
“Damn,” Mitch responds. “We better get a circle up. Get the crew on the horn.” Cullum is stepping on the brakes, and pulling to one side of the road. Mitch undoes his seatbelt, and stands up, going back to the sleeper section of the cab. He pulls out a plastic container from above the bed. Cullum pulls the CB radio handset down from above, and pushes the transmit button.
“Car 1, car 1, come in,” Cullum speaks into the handset. “Pull over behind us. We’ve got a storm incoming. You copy? Over.”
“Copy, truck 1,” a voice replies through the handset, “what’s with those colors? We haven’t seen anything like that before. Looks like they’re messing with the cameras, somehow. Over.”
“This… isn’t something I can explain now,” Cullum responds. “Pull right behind us, and disconnect the battery outta your car. Bundle up. Over and out.”
The truck has now fully stopped, and Cullum applies the handbrake before cutting the engine, and jumping out of the cab.
We see shaky footage from a handheld camera, behind both the truck, and the camera car parked close behind it. Red flares and the fading gray light in the sky illuminate the scene sparsely. The car’s hood is up, and a figure bulky with winter clothes is working underneath it. Mitch and Cullum run into the shot, carrying what look like metal rods with old TV antennae soldered to one side. Mitch holds the rod in place, while Cullum hits the top of it with a sledgehammer, driving the rod down into the frozen ground. The antenna, facing away from the trucks, vibrates with every hit on the pole. Before long, it’s is firmly stuck into the ground. Mitch and Cullum move on to another spot, where they quickly drive another rod into the ground. Slowly, they’re placing them in an oblong outline around both vehicles.
Overhead, the clouds turn and move in strange ways, spilling over themselves and expanding, continually roiling their way towards the vehicles. More strange flashes of lingering light can be seen inside the clouds.
“Shit, what is that?” we hear the cameraman whisper to himself.
“Andrew!” the figure who was working under the camera car’s hood yells. “Get back over here! Get in the car!”
The footage cuts again to the view from inside the camera car. Outside, Mitch runs past, holding a coil of wire which he loops around one of the poles he and Cullum drove into the ground. Cullum runs by a minute later, going the other direction, and he, too loops a circuit of wire around the pole. The sound of thunder is almost continual, and looking up into the sky, the strange clouds and lights are almost upon the two vehicles.
We switch back to the view inside of the truck. Mitch is back in the driver’s seat, and Cullum climbs into the passenger side, slamming the door.
“Fuck, this was close,” Mitch comments.
“You got the battery?” Cullum asks. Mitch nods at him. The two turn to look out of the windshield at the approaching storm.
From the dashcam, we can see the clouds are now directly overhead, and a front of heavy precipitation is swiftly approaching the truck. There are more flashes of bright blues, angry reds, and even verdant greens behind the storm front.
“Mitch…” in the unlit cabin, we can barely see an outline of Cullum in the passenger seat. His eyes are wide open, as he looks toward the driver’s seat.
“I know,” Mitch replies softly. “I know, me too.” He reaches out, to his right, and Cullum takes his hand. Cullum looks back ahead just as the curtain of hail and freezing rain reaches the truck.
The sound is immediate, and enormous. It sounds like a million golf balls are hitting the windshield and the sides of the cab. Lightning streaks across the sky, branching and hitting the ground scarcely a few hundred feet ahead of the truck. The sound is so loud the recorded audio breaks up.
“Whoa!!” Mitch yells, barely audible above the storm as the sound cuts back in. The hail begins to abate, but the wind is picking up, and the scene outside has become pitch black. The air blowing outside hits a of resonance with a part of the truck, and produces a whistling, howling sound. As it continues to gain strength, we hear a creaking sound as the wind begins to push on the truck, pushing it to one side.
“Oh no, no,” Mitch whispers pleadingly. “Please let it calm down. Please don’t tip.”
There’s another few creaks, but after a minute, the wind begins to die down again, and the truck settles back onto its suspension. It becomes eerily quiet.
Slowly, a glowing sphere of red light comes into view, moving cautiously, yes playfully, against the pitch-black background. It seems to skate along the ground, bobbing up, and back down again. It hesitates in the air for a few seconds, standing still. Suddenly, it changes direction, darting towards the truck — but at the last second before it hits, it’s sucked down into the ground by a mysterious force. A glowing shape is left on screen where the sphere disappeared — it’s one of the poles, with an antenna. The antenna is white-hot, and so is the wire wrapped around it. Steam hisses and squeals as it comes out of the ground around the pole. Soon, the antenna cools to yellow, then red, and then all is dark once more.
“Is it over?” Mitch asks, hesitatingly.
“No,” Cullum responds.
The wind returns, and so does the hail. More lighting and thunder crack the audio. But after some time, the storm lets up, and we can see stars appear in the sky again.
From outside the truck, we can see the lights are back on in its cabin. Its engine is idling, as Mitch scrapes ice off its windshield. There’s a crack in one of the truck’s headlights, which Cullum is taping over to keep it from breaking apart.
“Well,” Mitch addresses the camera, rubbing his hands together. “That’s what some call a Soul Storm. Don’t get to see them too often. And thank the Lord for that.”
“Some say there’s souls beyond humans,” Cullum tells us solemnly. “And that they travel in storms like that one. You’re lucky to see one, and luckier if you make it through the other side in one piece. I’d be happy enough not to see another.”
The truck pulls back onto the road, and begins picking up speed. More steam billows out from its exhaust pipes.
“I just hope whoever gets the frozen fish we’re trucking really enjoys it,” Mitch says with a smile.
The credits roll, and there’s a teaser for the next episode: Canada’s Most Haunted Rest Stop.