An older trucker was just looking for some company on a long haul between Pittsburgh and New York City. After this ride, he won’t be picking up any more hitchhikers.
How many of us haven’t fantasized about packing in our stress-filled lives in office cubicles and hitting the road? We find ourselves imagining a different life, perhaps even a life as a trucker. Wouldn’t that be grand? To see the country, blast oldies on the radio for hours, munch on junk food, and pass the time picking up interesting people and conversation along the way?
If that appeals to you… think again.
Matt, the protagonist of Rob Barkan’s Eddie Whorl, will tell a tale that will dispel any lingering illusions about the joys of life on the road. Matt’s getting old, and tired. Even worse: he’s begun to realize that most of the money he makes goes right back into repairs and maintenance for the vehicle that keeps him employed. And, those interesting folks you meet along the way?
Well, that’s where Matt’s story begins.
Matt had felt sorry for the hitchhiker: he seemed so old and alone. A traveling tramp so short and frail, he could barely climb into the cab. And he seemed to have been out in the middle of nowhere for quite some time. To the point that the trucker imagined his new companion little more than an extension of the leaves and twigs that matted his clothes and hair.
Nor was the hitcher going to be good company. He barely spoke. And became easily confused by any reference to life beyond his own – which consisted primarily of waking up in places he’d never been before. When Matt does finally get the hitchhiker to break his silence, the old man gives him his name. “Eddie Whorl”, he wheezes, a horrible stench wafting from his mouth.
Matt’s compassion quickly turns to terror when he realizes his travel companion isn’t as harmless as he seems. Even if Matt escapes the horror that comes next, other monstrosities like Eddie Whorl may well be lurking on highways across the country – just down the endless road.
If you delight in stories well told, and chillingly twisted endings, you won’t want to pass up Barkan’s Eddie Whorl. This is one horror you should pick up, and not pass by.
Number of pages: 12
About the reviewer: Julia Cottle is a cultural anthropologist living in Chicago. She has worked for years as a university instructor and researcher for organizations committed to social justice. She always has loved to write, but only recently has discovered the joy of film and stage writing. She may be reached at: Cottle54321“AT”Gmail.
About the writer: A writer from the tender age of seven, Rob Barkan has had already seen publication with several of his prose horror and fantasy tales. Like Whorl and want to find out more? Email him at robbybarkan “AT” yahoo!
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