The Road a short story 6/14/24


                       The Road

a short story by 

Elaine Troisi


Loretta and Mick were driving down a lonely road one summer night. The car hit something, making a loud noise. Loretta and Mick bickered about whether he was driving drunk or not, then they got out to see what was hit. They peered into the darkness, seeing nothing.

Watercolor by Elaine

 “See?” Mick argued. “I told you it was nothing. To be honest, Mick knew he was at least one sheet to the wind. Perhaps he’d run over some large piece of trash.


The stretch of road between the McLaughlin’s beach house and their cottage traversed ten miles of serpentine mountain road, rising abruptly from the bright lights of the grand beach homes in East Bay to the smaller village of West Bay, bisecting the island between the haves and the have-nots, according to Loretta’s cynicism.

Green and lush by day, this harmless garter snake of a road transformed into a viper by night, as it slithered along the cliff’s edge. Add the approaching storm and the thing that went “bump in the night.”


 What had started out as a romantic evening of wine and dancing had turned ominous in a single flash of lightning.


While it was true that Mick and Loretta loved each other with a sexual lust, they bickered constantly, but never in public.


Appearances were important to the couple. Loretta hated sports; Mick loved sports. But the deeper aspects, the stuff that builds a love trust, were lacking. Loretta was narcissistic, and Mick always wore an air of superiority, often treating Loretta like a child.


 Still, they couldn’t be together in public without touching … hands, shoulders, legs, even feet, some body part connecting in a secret intimate contract.

Mick and Loretta at the party, dancing for hours
watercolor by Elaine


When it came to lovemaking, they were equally matched, with a thirst that could not be quenched. Mick and Loretta were the envy of others who longed for their brand of passion in their own traditional relationships.


Oh, but the look on Loretta’s face earlier in the evening when he’d asked her to reach in his pocket for the gift envelope for the host, and, instead, she withdrew the miniature velvet box! Unforgettable! A shimmer of tears and the deep sigh that rose from her toes to her quivering belly, and finally to her lips, she promised their ardor would endure.


The guests rejoiced as he slipped the ring on her finger. Tiny twinkling lights blinked from the trees, as if signaling their approval. One hundred rose-scented lit candles floated in the pool. Champagne corks took flight in celebration.


The stiff breeze was harbinger to an approaching storm, but no one noticed, and the revelry went on past midnight.


But stopped now by the side of the desolate road, the drizzle quickly became a deluge, and the breeze an angry howl, as if wounded.  The road disappeared into the abyss of the blackest night.” Ah,” he thought, “whatever we hit, it’s gone … maybe it’s just a tire flat.“


“I’m really scared,” Loretta shouted, her voice straining over the storm. “Do you hear that howling? God, it’s creepy! That can’t just be the wind!” Punching at her cell phone, searching hopelessly for a satellite connection, Loretta angrily stomped it into the ground. “Dammit, no signal on this god-forsaken road … this is your fault, you know. If we had left the party before you got sloshed …. ”


 “Loretta, honey, just get in the car before you catch your death. Let me investigate! Truly, I can take care of this. Please!”  

With the dimming headlights as his only guide, he crept his way around the car, wrestling with the wind, feeling for tire punctures.


“Good news, Loretta, the tires are fine!  Loretta, did you hear me? Loretta?”


As he rounded the car, discovered the passenger door agape, the rain pouring in, but Loretta was gone. Panic rose, quick and ravenous. “Loretta!”  


He crashed through the woods that skirted the cliff, shouting her name, over and over. “Loretta?”


 He stumbled over slimy rocks and felled tree limbs. But his voice was carried aloft by the gale, lost in the treetops somewhere closer to the Angel of Death than to Heaven’s Gate.


Mick slipped and struck his head on a jagged rock. Just like that, his search for Loretta ended, twenty yards from the car.


Mick was found dead the next day. Loretta was never found.


The sheriff concluded that Loretta had fallen over the rocky cliff, claimed by the sea.


 Questions surrounded the case. Why had they abandoned the car? No answer came from the wind, no explanation from the sea.


Tell me what you think really happened to the couple. Or perhaps you have a different ending! I’m listening!

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