The road stretched out before me - a torture chamber of asphalt that I had to traverse in the wee hours of the morning hopped up on whiskey, No-Doz and caffeine.
Next to me was my best friend, and often time co-pilot in my summer of 1993 escapades, Jeremy. In the back sat my brother, Dominic.
It was the Fourth of July weekend and the three of us had just left a heated exchange in which guns were drawn, lines were scratched in the dirt and, thankfully, a peaceful agreement was made. But now we had to hold up to our end of the bargain. This meant an hour and twenty minute drive to Harding Lake south of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway.
We stopped at the 7-11 in North Pole before pointing our chariot. We needed to get some No-Doz and a couple of Super Big Gulps to help keep our tired asses awake.
We pulled on to the Rich and got in behind our enemy. He assured us he had a Radar detector and we could keep the pedal slammed to the floor. I figured I would oblige.
The speedometer of my Delta 88 hit 90 before refusing to go any further. This seemed like a reasonable speed to be going down an Alaskan highway, tired and strung out on caffeine pills.
"Light me a smoke," I asked.
Jeremy grabbed my pack of Marlboros and lit up two, one for me and one for him.
He passed it over with out a word. I looked at him, his eyes red, smoke swirling around his head, and swore my co-pilot was wrought from the depths of Hell.
"Thanks," I said as I put the cigarette to my lips and took a drag not wanting to look at him again.
Less than an hour later I powered down my beast and entered the camp site at Harding Lake. It took a couple of laps to find the object we sought - my parents' tent.
After a brief discussion with my Dad - who was pissed that I woke him up - I had what I was after. I passed it to my enemy - what the hell was that guy's name anyway? - and told him to get lost.
By this time my blood was full of caffeine. Where once I was tired, I was now ready to drive all night.
"Now what the fuck do we do?" I asked Jeremy, who no longer looked demon-esque.
"Take a trip around the lake?"
I nodded my head in agreement. We hopped back into my chariot and quietly exited my parents camp area. We cruised down the dirt roads with the radio low and the speed even lower. Once we hit the lake Dom piped up from the back seat.
"Hey, I know those guys," he said as we saw a couple of large-sized fellas come walking away from the lake. Their clothes were water logged and mud caked giving them the look of one who just mud wrestled a pig.
"Hey! Can we get a ride to our camp site?" they asked.
"Sure! Ya bastards, but you aint getting my seats dirty, get on the back." I knew them, too.
Dom decided he would accompany our new guests and asked to be let out of the car.
"Holler when we get there," I said as I punched the gas forcing my riders on the trunk to cling desperately to any crack they could find.
I sped through the lake area and entered the camp ground at break neck speed. I slammed on the breaks throwing up dust and gravel, and plastering chubby faces to my rear window.
"You're cleaning that shit!" screamed Jeremy as he lit a smoke and once again looked like the side-kick of Lucifer.
We rounded a couple of corners when my occupants in the back asked to be let off. I figured I had scared them enough so I brought the car to a stop. The engine growled in protest at being dropped so low.
"Get off!" I said, revving the engine. The two jumped off and Dom informed me he wanted to stay on the back.
I stepped on the gas and continued around the parking lot. That's when we heard the shriek. Somewhere, deep in the woods surrounding Harding Lake, a monster had risen and had caught our scent.
"What the hell was that?" I asked, looking at Jeremy.
"Oh shit… you better haul ass!" Jeremy said as he looked in his rear view mirror.
I did the same. Not more than fifty feet from my car it stood, acid dripping from its mouth, it's fur shimmering like razor blades, it's eyes full of hate and hunger. A hound of hell had come.
"Let me in!" Dom screamed from the back.
"Sorry! There's no time. You are going to have to fight it!" I screamed back as I stomped on the gas.
My car roared to life flinging dirt at the hound. The beast shook it's head, snarled and then leapt after us.
Despite my expert driving skills the beast over took us in three leaps. I felt it slam into the back of my car as I pushed harder on the gas, desperate for more power.
The screams of my brother filled my ears.
"Fight it you friggan bastard!" I screamed.
Jeremy rolled down the window and situated himself on the door of the car. He pulled out a gun and vied for a clean shot but one wouldn't present itself.
On the back of my trunk an epic battle ensued - man vs. beast, heaven (sort of) versus hell.
"Fight it! You tubby bitch!" I screamed again as I whipped the car around a corner.
The battle raged on. A slam on the roof caused me to look upward and see the top of my car coming down. I knew it was over. Dom was dead. There was nothing I could do.
Jeremy pulled himself back into his seat - his visage white.
"I think it killed Dom," he said.
I slammed on the breaks of the car, flinging the beast and a bloody body off the top of my car and into the dirt road below.
"Give me that fucking gun!" I shrieked as I ripped the pistol from Jeremy's hands and stepped out of the car desperate to avenge my fallen brother.
"Go back to hell ya prick!" I said as I lined up a shot.
I started to squeeze the trigger when I saw Dom leap on the demons back. With a scream he slammed his hands into the monsters back and ripped out its spine.
"Ha ha ha!" He laughed as he stomped on the beast's head.
Harder and harder he stomped until the beast was a mess of blood and brains on the road.
I dropped the gun and walked over to my brother.
"Dom… you ok?"
He looked at me, blood covering his face, brain fragments on his shoes, a look of hatred in his eyes, "Airbags, can you fucking believe it!"