It was winter, and there was a cold white starch on the grass. I was driving fast down I-65 until suddenly traffic in front started slowing down. Taillights tinted the nearby trees with a haunting glow, the golden hour stained red.
I was so tired; I knew I would need to get off at the next exit for a refreshing 10-minute nap. Since I have narcolepsy, I’m conscientious about driving tired. I wasn’t far from home but better safe than sorry.
What could be up ahead? Was the exit blocked? Construction? An accident?
Then I saw them. My first instinct was to be angry with them. What are these crazy people doing here holding up traffic on a Friday evening? People have places to go.
I seemed to be looking through them. My car suddenly felt ice cold and I felt tears running down my face.
First, it was just a few moving slowly in the median. Their faces were ghastly white, their clothes all the same dingy blue, many were limping, and I noticed many weren’t wearing shoes. I blinked again and again as they multiplied.
I was oblivious to the road in front of me. My eyes were glued to the soldiers trudging through the grass, leaving dark wet trails where their bare feet melted the frost.
There was something strange about them. More bizarre than the fact that they were there at all. I seemed to be looking through them. My car felt ice-cold, and I felt tears running down my face.
I had seen a spirit here or there, that was normal, but never so many at once
It was a scene from the past; these lost souls were trying to tell me something on my long exhausting drive to my parents’ house. But what were they saying?
Suddenly, I felt wide awake. I believed in ghosts. There was a little girl in my attic. I often talked to her when I was growing up. I had seen a spirit here or there, that was normal, but never so many at once.
I seemed to be the only one on the road who could see them. They weren’t the reason for the traffic delay.
Feeling cold and alone, I was too afraid to pull my car over due to the traffic jam. Cars were inching forward bit by bit. Sure enough, it was just a bit of construction that was holding everyone up.
When I got home, I still hadn’t shaken the cold that had come over me when I saw the soldiers. Waiting for me on the sidewalk was the little girl ghost I’d known as a child. I was already emotionally exhausted from my experience, and I wanted to ignore her.
“I knew my daddy would get you home safely,” she said beaming.
“What?” I asked, confused. I followed her gaze to see a soldier sitting in the same seat I was in moments before.
“I told him I wanted to play with you, but you were tired and wouldn’t make it home tonight. He said he would get you here alive.”