For many miles, my family traveled in a caravan through the flat lands of Kansas into the rolling hills of Missouri, with scenery broken up into autumn fields and brightly colored trees.
After a break for lunch, we piled back into our vehicles. I rode along with my brother Richard, instead of the leading van crammed full with our active family. We followed along for miles through farms dotted with cattle, rattled across stone bridges and alongside golden fields.
After a few hours on the road, the lead vehicle began to slow down – leading us to believe that they were busy taking in the scenery. They continued their slow crawl until it finally came to rest in the middle of the road.
“Why are they stopping?” I asked, afraid that we’d be smacked from behind if they don’t start moving. Richard glanced in the rearview mirror with the same worry. But it just sat there ahead of us. Unmoving.
Richard blared on the horn to get their attention, but the vehicle continued to sit idle.
“Maybe their van broke down?” I asked.
“We’ll see.” Richard maneuvered our vehicle to the side of the road, setting up the hazards for those that might come across us, “Wait here.”
He got out and walked up to the vehicle. When he got there, he appeared confused. He yanked open the driver’s door, looking in.
A feeling of uneasiness settled over me. I got out to join him.
“Well? What’s the hold up?” I asked just as Richard backed out of the driver’s side door. His face was ashen, eyes clouded with confusion. “What is it?” I asked.
“What?” I brushed past him, and looked into the vehicle.
Every seat was empty. The seatbelts were still clasped as if they were holding their passengers. The only sign of life was the radio blaring to an empty van.
This is from a full story I wrote last year. I wanted to use it for the photo prompt, so I tried cutting it down, but could only get it to 316 words without losing too much of the story.
This story is actually based on real events. My family had some guests from out of town and they wanted to see some of the countryside. I rode with my brother as we followed the lead vehicle with our dad and his guests. We traveled on dirt roads, past lovely landscape and bridges and all the while, our Dad kept slowing down and stopping in the middle of the road to comment on some points of interest. It got annoying and my brother and I were afraid of getting rear-ended. After many stops, my imagination kicked in - and I made my family in the lead vehicle - "disappear". ;)