As she started to round a hilly curve, the engine of the SUV let out a strange grinding grunt, then died. "Fuck! God Damn! What the fuck is this!" She tried to start the engine. No luck. It was dead. The gages all appeared normal. She was stumped. She glanced at her watch. 2:00 am. She hadn't passed anyone in the last 3 hours. She was totally stranded, and to make matters worse, the wind and the rain were getting stronger. She grabbed her cell phone and scanned through the numbers, until finally she found her Triple A membership. She pushed send and waited. Nothing happened. She started to cry in frustration. "Fuck! I'm stuck out here in the middle of a hurricane. The phone won't work. I'm screwed!" She exclaimed. The display on the cell phone showed the out of range symbol. She looked around her. If anyone was coming up the hill, they would surely smash into her when they rounded the corner. There was no place she could even push the SUV to.
In frustration, she popped the hood and hopped out. She went around to the front and began desperately searching for the problem. She couldn't see anything. Suddenly, from out of no where, there was a deep, southern, male voice behind her.
"Do you need some help?" He asked. She spun around, heart pounding from surprise. There, in front of her, stood the biggest man she had ever seen. He was at least seven feet tall. He wore a black bandana and a black leather vest. His long, wavy red hair was soaking wet and his jeans, too, clung to his skin. What amazed her the most was his lack of a jacket, for being out in such a storm. His large, tattooed arms were bare. She stood stunned, mesmerized by his sea green eyes. They seemed to glow.
"I...uh...I...I'm having some engine trouble." She finally managed to stammer. Behind him, she saw a black Harley Davidson with a blue flame job. The flames seemed to share the luminescence of his eyes. It must be a trick of the lightening. She thought to herself.
"Oh? What's the problem?" He asked, drawing her from her thoughts.
"I'm not sure." She replied. "The engine just died. It made a weird kind of grunting noise, and then it just died."
"Well let me take a look at it, we'll see if we can't get you on your way again."
"Thank you. I'm Nandini, by the way. I'm a road agent for the National Wrestling Alliance and I'm on my way to Miami to set up for a show."
"I'm Mark." He replied from under the hood. I wonder what he's doing out on a motorcycle in a storm like this! And without a jacket! She marveled. She decided not to ask, since he hadnít expanded with his name. Five minutes later he emerged.
"Hop in and fire 'er up."
"Okay." She said, wondering if it would work. She was soaked to the bone as she climbed back in. Turning the key, the engine roared to life.
"Wow! What'd you do?" She asked.
"Oh, just worked a little magic." He replied with a sly grin. She smiled. He was very attractive. God, I wish I knew what to say! I want to get to know this guy. Something pulled her to him like a magnet. He dug around in his pocket and pulled out a dollar.
"Here, go get a coffee at the Dew Drop Inn. It's at the top of the hill, and tell them Mark sent you."
"Oh, thank you so much! Won't you please join me?"
"No...I have to be going now." He said, and turned away.
"Thank you Mark!" She called after him, but just as quickly as he had appeared, he now had vanished into the stormy night. She listened closely, and she heard the sounds of a Harley engine in the distance. If I didn't know better, I'd think it were coming from the sky. It must be a trick of the thunder and the cliffs. She thought. She put the SUV into gear and headed up the hill.
By the time she arrived at the Dew Drop Inn, the rain had stopped completely. She walked in and sat down at a booth by the window. A kind-looking old waitress came over to her.
"Hi sugar, why, you look like a drowned rat! I hope you didn't get caught in the storm?"
"Yeah, actually I did. I had some engine trouble. I was lucky though. Mark stopped to help me out. He sent me here for a coffee." The waitress turned pale and at the name "Mark." Everyone in the restaurant, who had been listening with one ear open, went silent.
"Mark helped you, out on the highway, and sent you here?" The waitress asked.
"Yes, why?" Nandini asked curiously.
"Because Mark died in a motorcycle accident, in a freak storm, out there 10 years ago. He rounded the corner and a semi was coming the other way. The semi was in the middle of the road. It hit him dead on and he was killed instantly."
"Well, this must be a different Mark. I saw him alive tonight."
"No, honey. This happens every once and a while when big storms come up."
Someone will have some trouble out there, and he will stop and help them out, then send them here. This was his favorite eatery..."
Nandini was shocked. She couldn't believe that the help she received had come from beyond the grave.
"Go out there in the morning, you'll see a little white cross, right on the side of the road where it happened. I'll go get you that coffee. It'll be on the house. You keep that dollar as a souvenir from Mark."
"Thank you." Nandini sat and marveled at this amazing thing that had happened to her. She gazed out the window into the storm.
The next day Nandini headed out early. A single rose lay on the seat beside
her. She wanted to stop back at the spot and say her thanks to Mark. Sure
enough, there was a little white cross at the curve. She pulled over at a
rest stop at the top of the hill, then hiked back to the spot. She put the
rose down at the foot of the cross. "Thank you, Mark." She said softly,
gazing out over the ocean. She could almost swear that she heard a Harley in
the distance, and smelt cologne on the wind.