Zombie Kiss Vol.3 [Ch.3 The Hitchhiker] 1

If in a car, there is one killer,

It could be called a ‘coincidence.’

But if in a car, there are two killers,

Then which one will be the ‘prey’?

“The Hitchhiker”

Why am I so unlucky today…?

 

Although today is our five years anniversary, I had a quarrel with darling. Darling even threw the present box containing the hairpin he bought for me right in my face. The corner hit me in the cheek, leaving a bright red mark.

From this, our planned mountain trip was cancelled.

I decide to drive off in the night. I don’t care even if it’s pouring outside, because my tears are pouring too. I feel so lonely and stupid for carrying that dumb present box with me, when it’s something he used to hurt me.

The traffic light turns red.

I can just drive through it, since there will be no cars passing through this provincial motorway at this late hour. Moreover, there are no cars on the road aside from mine. My attention is drawn to the hairpin. I reach out to take the box on the passenger seat, and take its content out.

A hairpin made from glass gleamed light pink, at its end hangs a chandelier of red stones in the shape of a beautiful bouquet. It seems really expensive. I feel guilty about darling.

Well, let’s try putting it on.

 

I tie my hair, which extends to the middle of my back, into a bun and put the hairpin on. I didn’t get a chance to perfect my appearance, when…

Knock, knock!

My head snaps to the left. Someone is knocking on the car window from the passenger side, but since it is pouring, I only see a hand. With curiosity, I lower the window, before once again I realize my own stupidity.

I should not have done that…

The thing that stuck through the window is a gun.

Shock freezes me to the spot. A man’s voice rings. I cannot see his face.

“Unlock the door! Or else, you will die!”

I am scared to the point of panic. My teary eyes stare into the black hole at the muzzle of the gun. The man threatens me again, intensifying my panic. I reach to unlock the door with trembling hands.

A drenched man enters and sits beside me. He’s big and muscular and scary. He seems the type used to giving commands and using brute force.

“Don’t…do anything to me, please… please let me go…”

I plead with a shaking voice. He…it glances at me. Suddenly, nails dig into my scalp and pull my head so close I can smell its rotten breath.

“Shut up! No matter how much you jerk your tears, I don’t give a fuck!!”

He pushes my head against the window in a bang, making me dizzy, but he doesn’t seem to care that I’m hurt.

I hate men who use violence…

 

“Drive as I say, and if you don’t want to turn into a ghost, don’t do anything strange.”

He raises his gun as if to say that this is not a joke.

In the end, I submit. My trembling hands clutch the steering wheel and my foot push down on the accelerator. The car lurches forward. The road is grim, just like my current situation…

Today is such a bad day…

The silence is suffocating. The man does not say a word. I drive with my mouth shut for fear of being beaten again, but confusion swims inside my head.

Who is this man? What does he want?

I know nothing, so I have to guess.

A murderer? A runaway convict? A rapist? Or a madman?

Whichever one it is, it would scare me beyond imagination.

“What the fuck are you looking at!?!”

I gasp, realizing just now that I glanced at him, but even if I apologize a hundred times, I would still get insulted and cursed at. Those big hands will yank my arms. It hurts. It’s scary. It’s infuriating. But I have no courage to pry away, only to whimper.

He raises his hands. Just from a single glance, I retract my neck and crane my face away, because I know that if I was slapped like this, my teeth would bite on my tongue and I would bleed.

But before he can do anything, I…

Screeeeeech!!!

I slam on the brakes. The tires crush against the road, the high-pitched noise echoes in the darkness and the rain. Luckily, no car is behind us.

“You…!”

The man’s nose almost rammed into the console. When he regains his balance, he snatches my collars and presses the cold muzzle to my forehead. However, my attention is somewhere else.

“Th…there was someone… standing in the middle of the road!”

I stutter so bad that sentence was near incomprehensible. The man turns the direction my shaking finger is pointing.

But nothing is there aside from the darkness.

I shiver.

Why…but just now…? Or was I…seeing things?

 

Suddenly, knocks.

The two of us jump and turn to the left. We hear soft knocks again, as if to urge us to open. I meet the gunman’s eyes hesitantly.

“Roll the windows. Don’t you say anything, or I’ll blow your fucking head off.”

The man whispers in a low voice. I know he doesn’t want to talk to whoever is outside the car, but if I speed away now, that person might get suspicious and tell the police.

The man still keeps his gun to my side, but lowers it so that the visitor will not see. He nods for me to open the window.

“Sorry for surprising you.”

This person who is lowering his head to us is a boy around 18-19 years old. He looks naive. His black shirt is drenched from the rain, and his pale face stands out from the darkness of the road. His mouth forms a gentle and genuine smile.

I can’t believe he is the same person as the one I saw for a second in the rain. No matter what, this boy seems innocent, polite, and totally harmless. However, the one I saw in the rain seemed lonely and creepy. It’s probably because of his black shirt that for a second, I saw his torso as a deep, dark hole that emerged in the middle of the road. A bottomless hole leading to a twisted world…

“It is raining and my motorcycle flipped over. Can I get a ride in your car?”

The young man smiles a pitiful smile. I am hesitant because I feel bad for the boy, but the man waves him away without a care.

“No. How could I let some random stranger into the car? Call your parents to pick you up.”

“I would very much like to do that, but my entire family only has this one motorcycle.”

He points to a bush at the side of the road. A useless motorcycle lies there. “Moreover, nobody uses this road…”

After that, he hugs himself because of the cold. I feel even more pity for him. It will be heartless to make him wait for another car, but if I take him in, there’s this bad guy digging his gun into my side. He will get into even more trouble.

“Please. I am not going far.” The young man pleads.

“Just a little straight ahead is a police checkpoint. I heard they are looking for a psychopath that acts as if he was hitchhiking, or sneaks onto a car. Usually, he targets those driving alone at night. So…please, my house is just a little further. I will get off and not bother you too much.”

The young man’s words make my eyes snap to the gunman.

The psychopath must be this guy. This is a good chance. If we get to the checkpoint, the police will suspect our car.

If they stop us, this man will be arrested.

But he knows what I am thinking.

“Fine, then. If it’s just a little bit, it’s no big deal, right…darling?”

My head turns to him as soon as he called me darling. At first, I was furious, but once I feel the gun digging at my ribs, I come back to my senses and play lovers with no other choice.

“Yes…get in…I unlocked the door.”

The young man sits at the back seat. The man beside me tucks his gun away. He must be planning to use this boy to get through the checkpoint. If it’s just a man and a woman, the police will suspect us and call us over. But, if there’s another boy, the police would just let us through…

…Meaning that I’m in a really bad spot right now.

 

I glance at the boy through the rear mirror. If I could just tell him the psychopath is in this car, he would be able to help me.

“Thank you very much.”

The boy gives me a smile from the rear mirror. Even if the atmosphere inside the car is suffocating, he acts leisurely and smiles innocently, probably because he believes wholeheartedly that I and this douche are lovers.

“What is it? Go on, drive, darling.”

He speaks with a smooth but commanding voice.

My mind remembers the feeling of the cold muzzle, and I drive on without resistance.

“Oh, how rude of me, I forgot to introduce myself.”

The young man said, as I and the man stay silent.

“My name is Ariya.”

The young man said his name even if nobody needs to know, but what stirs my curiosity is that he does not ask for me and the other man’s names, as if our names are not important or he just doesn’t need to know. Am I overthinking?

“Oh? You forgot the seat belt, sir.”

Ariya’s voice overflows with good intentions.

“I don’t usually wear it. It’s suffocating.”

The man replies coldly. Of course, for a psychopath who should be prepared to flee at a moment’s notice, a seat belt will just drag him down.

“Please believe me. If there was an accident, the chances of you surviving because of the seat belt is quite high.”

The young man warns with genuine care. I feel pity that he doesn’t know at all the one he is worried about is a psychopath. The man is silent and crosses his arms, blatantly ignoring the young man.

“By the way, are you two on a trip?” Ariya continues talking.

“Uh…yes. It’s for the five years anniversary.”

I reply and thought about my real darling. If we didn’t get into a fight, he would be sitting beside me and I won’t have to go through all this.

“I see…then, that hairpin must be a present for the occasion.”

“Huh…?”

I glance at the boy with surprise. I never mention this pin, but how does he know…?

It seems Ariya notices my confused eyes from the rear mirror, so he speaks in a good mood.

“Ah, I saw the present box, and you are not wearing any other accessories. Women are happy when they receive something from their significant other. When they get it, they will use it immediately. The women I know are like that, so I assume you are the same.”

I am taken aback. His analysis is spot on.

“Yes. I bought it for her.”

The fake boyfriend replies curtly without the slightest bit of shame—it’s not fucking you! It’s my darling who bought it for me. I want to say that, but I just sit there and bite my tongue.

“Well, at least you should select your honeymoon date more carefully.”

He’s a strange one…I thought and glance at the man beside me.

“It is raining hard outside, and trips are not fun in this weather. Moreover, do you remember the psychopath I talked about? He is not just any thief, he kills his victims and leaves them on the roadside. It is dangerous especially for a beautiful lady like you, miss.”

My entire body shivers, because Ariya seems to be hiding something underneath those considerate words…

…Or is it because the real psychopath is sitting beside me?

If I pass the checkpoint, will I get killed?

I want to yell and ask that in the man’s face. I hate that I can’t say anything, even when I’m screaming inside.

So I…

“Hey…Can I turn on the radio? I don’t like driving in silence.”

I decide to speak up. At least this stressful driving can be a little lighter. The man makes a face and opens his mouth, but stops because the young man speaks up.

“As you like. It is a good way to kill boredom.”

Ariya’s words make the man swallow his own. He probably doesn’t want to come off as suspicious, so I turn the radio on.

A song from a station flows softly in the heavy air, uncoiling the stress inside my gut. The radio plays music for about five minutes before an urgent news interrupts the program. I listen half-heartedly.

Until I hear the name of the road I’m driving on.

“…The culprit went by motorcycle and headed on the mentioned road. After he was seen at the scene of murder, where the corpse was sliced to shreds with a knife, witness reported that he was a young man, name unknown, younger than twenty, wearing black. The police suspected that he still carries the murder weapon with him…”

Something makes me look at the rear mirror, and I see something…

…Something I really should not have seen.

My body tenses as I stare at the rear mirror, sweat drenching my back even if it’s raining outside and the air conditioner is blaring. The man seems to have notice my strange reactions and follows my gaze, and widens his eyes in complete shock.

Not long after, the boy seems to notice the attention piling on him. He draws his gaze towards where we are looking, at the hem of his black shirt, drawn up by mistake to reveal the t-shirt inside, and…

“Oh? Is my cover blown?”

Ariya looks down at a knife strapped to his hip as if it was nothing.

Moreover, if I look carefully, I can see red stains on his shirt and the knife. It’s probably because of the rain and the black shirt that we did not notice, but this young man is covered in blood.

“Umm…it seems the one they are talking about in the broadcast is me.”

The young man confesses, and scratches his head cheekily like a naughty kid caught doing something mischievious.

“Well, since it has come down to this, you do not mind me cleaning blood off the knife, right? Excuse me, but I do not wish to leave it there for long. It will get blunt.”

Ariya asks permission as if he doesn’t want to bother us too much. It seems so ordinary that I thought he might’ve just asked to use his phone in the car, but the thing on the knife is dried blood.

What an unlucky day…!

 

I had a quarrel with my fiance, a psychopath keeps poking me with his gun, and I just took a murderer onto my car.

Why am I so unlucky…?

 

“What do you want!?! Why did you get on this car?!”

 

A second later, the big guy regains his composure. He turns back and points the gun at the young man, ready to pull the trigger.

“What do I want? I said that I just want a ride.”

Ariya does not admit or deny being a murderer. He replies innocently. He has no hint of fear even when a gun is pointing at his face.

“Don’t you fucking lie!!!”

He hollers so loud the sound from the radio is completely blocked out.

“Murderer? You’re just a goddamn brat. After I kill this bitch, you’ll follow her!”

I’m trembling, my right mind shrinking from the threat. Even after that, the young man does not falter.

“Put the gun down. I know from the start you are the one the police are looking for. Look, you are drenched but the woman is completely dry. It is not the state of lovers who were on a trip together from the start.”

Ariya explains calmly. Maybe his sense of fear is broken. He knows he’s in the same vehicle as a psychopath, yet he shows no sign of anxiety.

But hey, he’s a murderer too…

“In conclusion, I am in a tight spot too. We are in the same boat, so let me use you two to get through the checkpoint.”

Ariya gives me a smile and straps his knife back where it was, saying that he will not do anything either.

The man stares at the younger man for a while and lowers his gun, then turns his attention back to the road.

“Then it can’t be helped. Remember, this bitch is mine.”

“At your leisure. I do not care who you kill.”

“So you have killed so many you’ve gotten used to it?”

“I have no interests in killing, but if they are dead, it is a different story…”

“You like corpses? Hah, you’re mental.” The man in the front seat laughs. “But I prefer the time when death is drawing near. I love how those bitches plead for their life even though they know it’s of no use. Their screams at that moment…it’s the most beautiful sound in the world.”

“Bitches? So you only kill women. What about men?”

“If they get in the way, then… Actually, I don’t want to. Men are big. They’re hard to dismember.”

And the two men goes off on their passionate, otherworldly conversation.

This is crude humor. Most ordinary citizens will not run into real murderers, but I took two on my car. One in a thousand chance!

As I listen to the two psycho’s conversation in my front row seat, my head starts spinning and finding a way to get out of this. If I don’t want to become a cadaver for these two to dissect, I need to escape.

…As if heaven knows my plights.

A gas station comes into view, the glowing sign board grows larger and larger as it draws near.

I pretend to drive as usual, and when I am only a few hundred meters away, I drive inside.

“What the fuck are you doing!?!”

The man yells. He grips his gun, but does not dare point it at anyone for fear that the gas station staff will see.

“P-please… let me use…the bathroom…can I?”

“Do I look like a dumbass to you? This shallow fucking trick can’t fool me!”

“Please, sir. Let her go. Next to the bathroom is a parking space. Let her park there and you can keep an eye on her.”

Ariya’s suggestion at first seems like he was taking my side, but he just cut off my escape. At first I plan to ask for help from someone in the gas station. There are lots of people here, but if I park there, it’s hard to get anyone’s notice.

“Oh, please hand me your phone and all electronic devices.”

Ariya speaks as if he read my mind, and I did as he asks.

Another escape route cut off.

The moment we left the car, Ariya smiles.

“If you do not want to get killed by him, do not try to run.”

He sounded so kind and caring, but to me it’s a threat that makes me whimper with fear.

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