David Knows a Shortcut

📅 Published on June 5, 2022

“David Knows a Shortcut”

Written by Micah Edwards
Edited by Craig Groshek and N.M. Brown
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 8 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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There were three things everyone could tell you about David.  The first, the one everyone noticed immediately, was that he was handsome.  Like, Hollywood handsome.  He had a roguish charm, too, a disarming smile that lit up his face and made everything all right.  Men, women, it didn’t matter. Everyone liked David.  He was impossible to stay mad at.

The second thing was that he was obsessed with his watch.  He couldn’t go ten minutes without checking the time.  To his credit, it was a nice watch; I don’t know anything about watches, but I could tell that it was sleek and well-made.  Judging by the reactions of folks who did know and care about watches, though, I got the feeling that it was more than just something you’d pick up at the mall.

David wasn’t ever ostentatious about his watch.  He wasn’t wearing it to show off.  He just looked at it a lot.  Folks commented on it sometimes, asking him if there was somewhere he had to be, that sort of thing.  David always just shrugged and said he had no internal clock, and he liked to know what time it was.  Then he’d grin, and everyone would grin along with him.  David’s grin made you feel like you were in on a joke with him, something secret from everyone else.  Charisma, like I said.

The third thing everyone knew about David was that he knew a shortcut.  Didn’t matter where he was or where he was going.  He knew a shortcut.  Going to the movies?  David would meet you at the theater; he knew a shortcut.  Friend’s housewarming party?  See you there; he knew a shortcut.  Interstate road trip to the middle of nowhere?  David knew a shortcut.

The damnable thing was that he was always right, too.  No matter where we were going, David would be there first, leaning on his car waiting for us or already inside.  He was never a jerk about it.  He’d even explain the shortcuts if you asked.  It’s just that they never seemed to work out for anyone but him.  Sure, they’d shave off a minute or so if you were lucky, if you caught the traffic lights right and didn’t get stuck at a left turn.  But for David, they worked every single time.

David, of course, just shrugged it off.  “Just lucky, I guess,” he’d say and grin.  That grin should have been classified as a superpower.  He could get away with anything with that.

No one was ever allowed along with David on his shortcuts.  He had a million excuses.  He was low on gas and couldn’t afford the extra weight.  He’d spilled something rancid on his passenger seats.  His A/C was out.  The radio was stuck on talk radio at maximum volume.  Local vandals had superglued his doors shut, and he’d only gotten the driver’s door open so far.

Most of the excuses weren’t particularly believable, but we all just figured that David liked to drive alone. It was a little idiosyncratic, but he was a good guy, and no one cared that much most of the time.

Sometimes, it grated a bit.  He wouldn’t ever give anyone a ride to parties, saying that he liked to leave on his own schedule.  He’d never pick anyone up from the airport.  One time my car wouldn’t start when I had a job interview.  I called him and begged for a ride, or even just to borrow his car, but he refused.  Said two tires had been slashed, and he had to get them replaced, but I knew it was just the same old refusal.  I called a cab, showed up late and didn’t get the job.

Next time I saw David, I was ready to chew him out, but I noticed that he had two new tires on his car.

“Scoping out my new Bridgestones?” David asked with a smile, as if knowing he’d caught me checking on his excuse.  And I grinned along because I’d been caught.  As if I’d done something wrong.

Overall, though, David was a great guy, one of those friends that you can just always talk to.  He was equally there for casual bar chatter or serious life conversations, and he always knew when to crack jokes, when to offer advice and when to just listen.

And so when I got the call that my mother had been in an accident and was on her way to the hospital, it was David I called.

“David!  David, please, you’ve got to come get me,” I begged him when he answered the phone.  “I’ve got to get to the hospital.  Please, it’s my mother.”

“Whoa, what happened?”

“Car accident.  She was in town, visiting.  She was borrowing my car.  Please, David, I don’t think she’s going to make it.  I know you can get me there in time; you always know a shortcut, David, please!”  I was babbling.  I didn’t care.  I had to get there.  The policeman on the phone had said that the paramedics were doing everything they could for her, which did not sound positive at all.

“Listen, I—”

“David, you’ve got to!”

“Listen.”  David’s voice cracked out of the phone like a whip, shocking me into silence.  “I’m on my way to you.  You need to answer me this.  Is this the most important thing in your life?”

“David, it’s my mother!”

“Don’t Lifetime me here.  This isn’t about your mother.  It’s about you.  After she dies, she won’t know whether you were there or not.  Is it that important to you that you be there?  Is it the most important thing in your life?  Answer me truthfully.  You can’t take this back.”

I paused, choking back the instinct to just blurt out another affirmative without thinking.  “It—yes.  It is.”

“I’m outside.”

I tore open the door, and he was there, impossible though that was.  I didn’t ask questions.  I just jumped into the passenger seat of his car and gave him the name of the hospital.  David backed out of the driveway and sped off down the street.

“Thank you, David, so much.  I can’t ever—”

“Shut up,” David said, his eyes locked on the road.  “There are things I need to tell you, and we’re not going to have a lot of time.  I need you to listen like your life depends on it, because it does.”

He took a left into another neighborhood, then a right down a residential street.  A cul-de-sac loomed ahead of us.  The garage of one of the houses was open, its interior dark.  David gave the car more gas.

“Keep your eyes straight ahead,” David said.  “Do not look at me.  You’re about to see a lot of terrible things.  Looking at me will be worse.”

He accelerated, the car scraping briefly as it bumped over the lip into the driveway.  We flew into the garage, its shadow swallowing us.  I slammed my eyes shut as I braced for impact, scrabbling frantically for any support I could find.

The crash never came.  I eased my eyes open to find that we were speeding down a road of unmarked asphalt.  The sky around us was grey and uninviting, the world wrapped in a dismal fog that obscured vision after a few dozen feet.

“Where—” I began, turning to look at David.

“Eyes ahead!” David snarled.  His voice seemed to come from all around me, and I could feel warm breath lapping over my shoulders as he talked.  I flinched and snapped my face back toward the windshield.

“You will get there in time,” he said.  His words wrapped around me as if I were hearing them from inside of his mouth.  “And the price you pay is that you will never truly leave here.”

Outside, ragged figures lined the road, twisted humanoid shapes with too many eyes and not enough bones.  We sped past them, but more and more were clustering as we drove.  They began to spill onto the road, forcing David to swerve to avoid the touch of their outstretched hands, to dodge collisions with their lumpen bodies.

“Who are they?” I asked.

“You need to buy a watch,” David said, ignoring me.  “A mechanical watch, not something dependent on electricity and internet.  Something that cannot fail while even the most basic rules of physics hold true. Hone your internal clock.  Keep your watch precisely wound.  When it begins to slip, it is time to leave. You can stay ahead of them if you never relax.”

The road arced away from the ground at an impossible angle.  It twisted upward, but it also somehow turned inside out as it went, or possibly reversed.  I can’t explain it.  It hurt my eyes to look at it.  When I closed them, it left afterimages on my mind, dancing spots of corrosion burned into my thoughts.

I felt the car lurch through the twist.  I heard David hiss, felt the sibilance on my entire body like a tongue.  I kept my eyes shut and tried not to think of what I had seen.

The car steadied.  David resumed speaking as if nothing had happened.  “This is the last time I’ll see you. Two in one place brings them sooner, and in greater force.  It’s unsafe.”

Although his voice was all around me, it was becoming difficult to hear him.  A faint, shrill piping was growing in my awareness.  Quiet though it was, it was somehow managing to drown him out.  I pictured the pipers, mad capering shapes hurling themselves through an insane dance, forms I had never seen before nor wanted to again.

I opened my eyes, and they were surrounding the car, just as I had pictured them.  Their faces were warped, monstrous.  Their eyes bled secrets and insanity.  Their pipes were alive, moving to their own music.  I felt the urge to unbuckle my seatbelt, to open the door, to join them.

The fog ahead of us darkened, tightening in around us.  The pipers fell away, their dance carrying them off to unseen mysteries.  I started to crane my head to follow them, but I felt David’s rank breath on my neck and managed to keep my gaze forward.

The light fled from the world around us, pitching us into utter darkness.  For an instant everything was gone.  I could not hear David, could not feel the car.  My mind still sagged under the impossibility of the road, and I wondered what had happened to me as I had bent through it.  Was I now one of the formless things abandoned by the roadside?  Would I take up my place among the pipers?

And then we were careening down a cement ramp, tires shrieking in the echo chamber of the hospital parking garage.  David slid to a halt just outside of the elevator.

“Go,” he said.  “You’re in time.”

I tumbled out of the car, turning back to look at him.  He was normal, looking just as he always had, no sign of whatever I had felt in the car.  He gave me a small wave as he leaned over to pull my door shut.

“It’s been good knowing you,” David said.  He gave me his trademark grin.  “Good luck.”

The elevator ride took eons.  The wait at the front desk while they located my mother was an eternity. There was a doctor there when I arrived, saying something, but I didn’t hear him.  I knelt at her bedside and took her hand, the tubes connected to her alien under my grasp.

“I’m here.”

She saw me.  She smiled.  She said my name.  And she died.

The machines screamed.  The doctors and nurses rushed around, wheeling my mother away.  I just sat there, and they let me sit.

After a while, I felt someone else enter the room.  They approached slowly, as if worried about disturbing me.

“What do you need?” I asked, not looking up.

There was no answer except the shuffling of feet as they drew slowly closer.

“Do you nee—” Fear drove me to my feet as I looked up to see one of the ragged figures from the road advancing on me.  My chair tumbled away behind me, crashing to the ground as I staggered away.

The thing spoke not a word as it approached.  It merely reached out as it drew near, its rubbery fingers grasping plaintively for my flesh.  I threw medical supplies, furniture at it, but nothing slowed its steady progress.

I tore open a door at the back of the room, but it was only a small closet.  I was trapped, pinned.  The creature blocked my exit.

In desperation, I crammed myself into the closet, hoping to at least buy another few moments.  I could still hear its soft footsteps outside, though they were nearly drowned out by the hammering of my heart.

And then, quietly, I heard another noise.  Subtle, drifting in on a faraway wind, but there: the sound of piping.  There was a slight motion behind me, not of something in my space, but of space itself.  I thought of the painful inversion of the road, and I smiled.  I stepped deeper, down, through, an indescribable path.

The walls unfolded around me.  I began to run.

I knew a shortcut.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Micah Edwards
Edited by Craig Groshek and N.M. Brown
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Micah Edwards


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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