The Hitchhiker: Part 2 of Sarasota Mist Dugan’s story #fridayflash #amwriting


Welcome to my new site, This Side….Over Yonder!  Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

Read part 1 of Sarasota Mist Dugan’s story, The Trip, on The Other Side of Deanna here.

The Hitchhiker is rated PG-13, according to my standards.

The Hitchhiker, by Deanna Schrayer

Sara had been driving for six hours with the music blaring so loud she hadn’t heard her phone ring. When she pulled into a convenience store lot she saw there were several new voice mails. Her husband would still be at work another hour, he wouldn’t have even found her letter yet. Sara knew Michael would be calling when he saw all the lights on at home, never mind the letter.

She scanned through the missed calls and understood why there were so many messages – Alex had called seven times since noon. He’d been trying to get in touch with her all week. She’d ignored every ring and immediately deleted every message he left without even thinking of listening to them. Now, as she stroked the phone and stared at a scrawny man marching into the store, Sara turned the car off and punched in her code to retrieve voice mail.  

Propping her head up with her hand, she placed the phone against her ear and listened.

“Sara, it’s Alex. Where are you? Are you all right? Please call me, I’m getting worried.”

She deleted the message and listened to the next.

“Sara, I really need to talk to you. Why aren’t you calling me back?” There was a moment of silence and then an excessive sigh. “Listen, I’m sorry about what I said. I just…I’m…will you please just call me?” Was that exasperation in his voice? Sara had never heard such from him before. She pulled the phone away from her ear and stared at it as if she might see Alex’s denim blue eyes coming through the screen. For a second she almost wished she could, but quickly she forced herself to forget about her lover; she never wanted to see him again. Her thumb hovered over the keypad, twirling a circle in the air as if unsure which button to land on. Finally she clicked end. “No more drama in your life Sarasota,” she told herself.

A rapping on the window of her car startled Sara into dropping the phone. It hit the console and bounced into the passenger floorboard. A young woman gawked at Sara through the glass, holding her hand salute-style across her forehead and squinting as if she were bird-watching on a blinding bright day.

“Are you all right ma’am?” the girl asked. She bobbed her head, causing her short blonde ponytail to jump about like an overexcited child. Sara thought maybe she should be the one asking the question. She reached for her phone as she rolled the window down a couple of inches.

The girl looked as sweet as she could be, but something told Sara to be careful. “Yes, yes, I’m fine, thank you,” she told the girl and started to roll the window back up.

The girl shot her hand through the crack, “Wait, wait, hold on,” she screeched. Sara backed away from the multi-colored, bitten fingernails nearly scratching her face. The girl glanced about nervously and Sara saw that what were likely beautiful green eyes were now puffy red and widening with fear.

“Listen,” the girl said, settling her gaze on Sara, “I know this seems weird and all, but I’m not a thief or anything, I just need a ride down the road a piece. Do you mind?” 

Sara’s mouth hung open in astonishment. She’d never picked up a hitchhiker before, couldn’t even recall having the opportunity. The girl looked towards the store and began trembling. “Please,” she said, her wrist dangling in the car window like bait waiting for the big catch. She bounced in place as if unable to hold still.

Sara shook her head to dislodge the warning signals firing through her brain. What could it hurt to give the girl a ride a couple of miles? Obviously she was scared to death of whoever waited in that store for her, and she was no bigger than one leaf of a willow tree. “Okay,” Sara said, “come on, get in.” She rolled the window down for the girl to retrieve her hand and unlocked the door. The girl ran around the car and jumped into the passenger seat before Sara could even reach up to start the engine.  

She studied the girl a moment, doing her best not to wrinkle her nose at the putrid stench of cigarette smoke mixed with something like…was it diesel? Maybe it was fear. How old was this girl anyway – sixteen, seventeen? Oh God, was Sara helping a runaway? What had she gotten herself into now?

The girl looked through the windshield and a tiny peep escaped her. She slid so far down in the seat she was almost on the floor. “Please,” she said, covering her head with both arms, “please hurry.”

As Sara pulled away she looked in her rear view mirror and saw the man this poor girl was afraid of. He was a lot smaller than she’d expected, scrawny in fact, in stained jeans and a dirty tee shirt. His dark hair looked to be stuck to his skull with grease. He scanned the parking lot and stopped mid-stride, looking around suspiciously.

“Hurry!” the girl screamed, beating the back of her seat with open palms. She was sitting up now, watching out the back window.

The man’s eyes lit upon Sara’s Camry and landed on her own in the mirror. When he saw the girl those sweet little boy blues changed to a blazing purple ringed by fiery orange. He rushed to an old scarred pick-up and jumped in fast. Sara reflexively gunned her engine making the tires screech as she pulled onto the road. She looked over to see the girl hugging the back of her seat, her eyes opening wide with fright. Sara had time to realize shattering glass was the loudest sound she’d ever heard before dark engulfed her.


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Click here to subscribe to This Side….Over Yonder.

Click here to visit Deanna’s former nonfiction site, The Life of a Working Writer Mommy.

Click here to visit Deanna’s former fiction site, The Other Side of Deanna.


Change: small word, BIG meaning

Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Change – Such a small word for such a big meaning. We all experience change every day, mostly in small ways that we barely, if ever, even notice. For instance, I use a stapler for work so rarely, (everyone on my team knows it’s a Big Sin to use staples instead of paper clips), that the first time I ran out, a full three years after I started working at the company, it surprised me. The other day, as I was washing dishes, I noticed my hands were much more wrinkled than I’d have sworn they were the day before, yet of course they’d been gradually aging with the rest of my body.

Then there are the sudden Major Life Changes that seem to happen in a split second: after twenty years of loyal service we learn we’re among a hoard of others laid off from work, suddenly finding ourselves without a job; we learn of a close family members’ death; the bank tells us our grace period for our mortgage is up and we’re suddenly homeless…..though there are but a handful of Major Life Changes, there’s a reason they’re called “Major”.

I have always believed things happen for a reason, even though it could be years before we know what that reason is (sometimes we never know). But now I’m a little closer to understanding, or maybe I should say believing, that these changes – both small and large – are not coincidental, that instead they’re ingrained into our “Life Plan” before we ever take our first breath.

Sure, we all see those wrinkles now and then and are mostly unconcerned because we know that aging is inevitable. But how often must we face a Major Life Change? I Googled that, certain there would be an average number per lifespan, but the only results were mainly lists of how often we change careers in our lives, (approximately seven). Apparently Major Life Changes vary from person to person so much there simply isn’t an average number. However, I did find an interesting site on the subject – Manifest Your Potential, which includes articles such as finding your bliss, how to discover yourself, making sense of wisdom, etc. I perused a few of the articles and look forward to learning more.

This is where I am right now: at 43-years-old I’m essentially starting my life all over again and attempting to learn not only what I enjoy about life, (aside from spending time with my sons and writing), but also who I truly am. Although the idea of starting over in general is a bit overwhelming, (to say the least), I am doing my best to view this Major Life Change as an opportunity to “grow into myself”, and I pray I teach my children, through example, that exploring what we enjoy doing, discovering who we really are, can be as exciting as it is frightening, hopefully more so.

If you’re comfortable with sharing, I’d love to know what you feel has been the greatest Major Life Change for you thus far. Whether or not you share specifically what that change was, did it feel like the end of the world only to end up being a blessing in disguise? How do you feel you handled the change: with negativity or as an opportunity to improve your life? Your words of wisdom are encouraged – they may very well help someone who happens to stumble upon this post.


NOTE: Comments are held for moderation until the first one is approved; after that you will be able to comment without awaiting moderation. I will get to each one as soon as possible and I appreciate your patience.

Click here to subscribe to This Side Over Yonder.

Click here to visit Deanna’s former nonfiction site, The Life of a Working Writer Mommy.

Click here to visit Deanna’s former fiction site, The Other Side of Deanna.

A brand new year = a brand new….everything!

Hey y’all, I’m back! I greatly appreciate your patience with my MIA status and I’m even more thankful for the true friendship you’ve shown with the emails, phone calls and prayer you’ve sent my way these last several months. I have missed writing, a lot, but I’ve missed the camaraderie of the wonderful Friday Flash group and all my other internet friends even more and I look forward to posting and interacting with you all again. Now, and with a brand new site, it is time to get back into the swing of doing what I enjoy so much: writing and reading.

The good news is that the inspiration is overflowing; the no-way-am-I-going-to-call-it-bad-news is that said inspiration is a bit scattered about for the moment. While forcing waiting for those ideas to settle down and get organized I’m creating this new place: This Side…..Over Yonder. Most of you know I’ve had two blog sites for – wow, a few years now, The Life of a Working Writer Mommy for my nonfiction articles and The Other Side of Deanna for my fiction. What better time than the new year to combine those sites? At This Side….Over Yonder you’ll find my short fiction, including the ever-popular Friday Flash, as well as my essays, articles and general ramblings about life. And you should have no trouble at all distinguishing them, (though there was that one time Jim Bronyaur read my story about my thieving dog on The Life of a Working Writer Mommy, and swore up one side and down the other it was a #fridayflash). But that’s one of the main reasons I’m merging my work into one place – so you can simply look at the category (fiction or nonfiction) and know what you’re getting into, er, uh….I mean, know what you’re about to read.

Since this is a new place and we all know how chaotic fun it can be to start all over, I appreciate your feedback very much. Is the background too bright? Let me know. (That’s a real question by the way). Do you want to see more fiction than nonfiction? Let me know that too. Did you think that #fridayflash was a true story…..really? Go sit by Jim and scratch your head. Seriously, I’d love to hear what you think, so please do leave comments, as many as you like.

I hope you all enjoy This Side….Over Yonder and I look forward to this new venture and all it has to offer. Happy New Year everyone!

(P.S. I just penned the first [fiction] story I’ve written in over five months; we’ll let it set and determine soon if it’s ready to post for #fridayflash this week.)

Click here to subscribe to This Side Over Yonder.

Click here to visit Deanna’s former nonfiction site, The Life of a Working Writer Mommy.

Click here to visit Deanna’s former fiction site, The Other Side of Deanna.

Stories and Musings by Deanna Schrayer

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