Hell on the Highways

Nicholas J. Carter

The localized pockets of Hell on Earth caused quite a panic at first, but the frightened people were calmed when, after careful study, experts assured them that the phenomena were not a sign of the apocalypse, or any sort of organized attack at all, but utterly random events.

Which for some reason only occurred on highways. The grand, fiery demons that materialized in the lanes looked just as startled as the motorists that ran them over. And the demons did very little actual damage; accidents proved to be the real problem. They often happened when drivers, dodging some devil or another would veer into the next lane only to crash lamely into another car.

People got used to it. Hellholes (as they were called) became no more troublesome than any other nuisance on the road. News broadcasts set aside thirty seconds for them between weather and traffic.

Ten years later, experts estimated that hellholes caused fewer accidents per year than black ice. The road crews were still required to include a priest in orange vestments in case of flare-ups. Consecrating a highway would mitigate things at least until the holy water evaporated, generally three or four days.

The most palpable effect was a slight increase in car insurance rates.
©2010 Nicholas J. Carter. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Nicholas J. Carter lives in southeastern Massachusetts with his fiance. He will be graduating from the University of Massachusetts (Boston) in the fall. His work has been published in The Big Table and will soon appear in Clockwise Cat and Boston Literary Magazine.
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