The White Van

Lauren is terrified of white vans. Her imagination, too much TV and a jumpy personality made for a dangerous combination. Every vehicle could be going to pick up a dead body or on its way to dump one. Maybe the white van was going to kidnap somebody. Maybe the driver and passengers were on their way to clean up a bloody crime scene.

One Tuesday, a white van parked in front of a neighbor’s house within eyeshot of Lauren’s room. The teenager’s mind went into overdrive. This was it! “They” were coming to get her. She had to warn mom and dad. Surely, the parental units would believe her this time.

“Dad! There’s a white van outside the Johnson’s house! C’mon and look!” Lauren yelled. Dad rolled his eyes and continued getting ready for work. Mom doesn’t deal with nonsense, so Lauren didn’t bother. “Dad, can you take me to school today?” she asked.

“Gotta get to a meeting, baby. Need you to catch the bus.” Lauren’s bus stop was a block past the Johnson house. The white van was still there. She thought she’d just run for it. No way the kidnappers, killers or whatever they are could catch her at top-end speed, right?

Lauren’s trepidation quickly turned to concern for her neighbors. She hadn’t seen the Johnsons. The older couple was always up and visible when she went to school. Mr. Johnson gets his paper and Mrs. Johnson tinkers in her garden. No sign of them. What if… she couldn’t bear to think of something terrible happening to them. So Lauren decided, against her better judgement, to investigate.

“Hello?! Mrs. Johnson?! Mr. Johnson?!” Lauren exhaled with the sharpest whisper she could muster as she entered the home. No answer. Then, she saw three, shadowy figures moving items wrapped in plastic. They didn’t behave as if they heard her. From the Johnson’s foyer, she could see their garage door, where the men were moving the stuff.

One-by-one, she saw their faces. Each one appeared more gruesome than the one before. It was Freddy Voorhees followed by Jason Krueger followed by Chucky Myers. The Johnsons had to be dead and she wasn’t going to be next. Lauren made a break for the front door. She’d get out and those grotesque monsters would never know the difference.

Lauren opened the door and screamed, “Aaaaaaaaagggggghhhhhhh!!!” The hulking Freddy Voorhees-looking creature stood right in front of her. The terrified teen collapsed.

Sometime later, she opened her eyes. She was at home and in her bed. Mom said, “You scared the crap out of us. Good thing the workmen at the Johnson’s house found your phone and called me.”

“Mom…the Johnsons…they’re dead…the workmen killed them.” Lauren explained as her body shook and voice trembled. Mom laughed, “No, baby. The Johnsons are staying at a hotel. Their basement flooded after the heavy rain from the other day. The workmen are cleaning it up.”

“But Mom, they look like…” Lauren shuttered as she recalled the workmen’s faces.” Mom replied, “They’re not GQ models, but they are really nice. I know you’re afraid of white vans, but look out of your window, you’ll see what I’m talking about.”

The side of the van read, “Ugly Dudes Cleaning & Foundation Repair: We know we look like movie monsters. That’s why we do a KILLER job!”

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.