Ego Vivo Chapter One

"How much?" "W-what?" "How much? How much do you want for the truck?" A thumb gestured over the shoulder towards the nightmare that had been parked on his lot for 3 or 4 intermittent months. "Y-you want to b-buy it? Really?" He was getting excited now. This woman was probably gullible, and stupid as shit, as with most drivers who stumbled upon the used-truck lot. "Err yeah… That's kinda why I'm asking. How much do you want?" "Well, ahh, don't you want to test-drive it first? Take a look?" She raised a brow, "Nobody ever taught you how to wheel and deal, did they?" "'Scuse me?" "Nothing!" She replied hurriedly. Better be nothing! He thought.

"It's a good looking truck… The paint is ugly, but I mean, I would think a truck like that would be well taken care of. I should guess that you're a reputable dealer, are you not?" She asked with a snicker. "Oh, absolutely! The best in the area-" The standards must be lower than I thought around here. "-and some of the best prices for only the best trucks!" He was lying through his teeth and they both knew it. She simply stared at him, unconvinced, and turned back towards the truck. "Right… Well, how 'bout I go get you some keys and we can take a ride in 'er." She ignored the hinted double meaning that was implied by the suggestive tone in his voice.

Men. She huffed mentally. Hnh. It is a good looking truck… Why hasn't somebody jumped on it? That part was the dealer's little secret, though it was quite an elephant in the room, amongst the 6 or 7 guys who'd purchased it previous to now. They came along, bought it, and within a week, two at most, returned, frantically demanding a refund of their money. It was possessed, many claimed. It had jerked the wheel out of their hands, driven itself where it pleased, disappeared from truck stops on numerous counts, leaving their loads in parking lots that were miles from their intended destination, etc. Quite plainly, it was a problem child. The dealer, Rick, was ready to take the truck to a crusher and rid himself of what was, without a doubt, the most problematic vehicle he'd ever purchased at a public auction.

"Here are your keys." He stated, holding out a ring with two keys, and a small emblem, with a weird, box-face logo on one side, and the classic Peterbilt on the other. She took them promptly, and moved towards the truck.

~X~X~

Something about this truck was intriguing… Maybe it was just the paintjob, (or rather, what was left of it) or the general rarity of this style of the model, or the fact that it was different from the rest in the gravel parking lot. I couldn't stop coming back to it. I'd circled the lot at least twice, looking at all the trucks, but I always came back to this one. It was so eerie, the way it looked. The paint was dulled, and chipping and flaking in many spots, and the overcast weather, and looming rain clouds overhead made it that much more dull seeming. But it was like I could imagine it's glory days, glowing flames licking off the hood and across the body, hauling ass from place to place, like a deep blue Smokey and the Bandit rig, minus the famous country singer and his lazy pup behind the wheel. All I knew now, was that I wanted to get in the truck and drive like Bandit himself. But I didn't. I wasn't about to get in with this creep, Rick, the owner of the so-called dealership.

In reality, the place was a bone yard, a final resting place for a bunch of rigs that would likely never leave the lot, except it they were destined for a crusher or a blowtorch. I twirled the keys on my finger, as I approached the truck, slowly, as though I was approaching a skittish horse. I flicked a glance back at Rick, then hesitantly unlocked the truck. It wouldn't be the first time I found something seriously friggin' weird in a truck. The topper on my list, so far, was dead animals - squirrels, raccoons, a skunk, a few rabbits, all of them hanging inside the truck. But what about this truck? The door handle popped and I opened the door, taking a large step back, just in case.

Amazingly, it was normal. Clean, in fact, despite the look of disrepair on the outside. Leather seats that matched the paint, a dark wood on the dash and immaculate chrome detailing. I hauled myself up into the driver's seat, and immediately sighed. Soft seat was damned soft. I could've fallen asleep on the spot if it weren't for the creep. "Does she start?" "Huh?" Was this guy deaf, or what? "The truck. Does. It. Start?" "Oh! Err, yeah, I think so…" I rested one hand on the steering wheel, and threw the key in the ignition. "Well… Here goes nothing, I guess." One foot in the clutch, the other hovering above the gas. First try, barely a choking cough. The second, same. The third, with a few revs of the gas, and I was met with the thunderous growl that I'd become so familiar with, with these trucks. I grinned wide, and patted the wheel and gave the dash a good look. All the gauges leapt to life, lit up, and the needles rose to their appropriate places. I smirked. I flicked over to the radio. No power. Huh… I tapped the tiny screen, played with the volume dial with no luck, squinting at it, in search of a power button. "The radio don't work." "What?" I mentally face palmed. Was this guy paying any attention? "The radio doesn't work. There's no power button, and it ain't lit up." "Oh… Huh…" I snorted. "Well, ahh, wanna take 'er for a drive?" I grimaced slightly. The brakes were probably worn, and it probably had little or no fuel. I just wanted to take the friggin' thing home already! "Nahh… I wanna talk numbers." "Well then… How 'bout we head on in, and talk it over? Get out of the cold?" "Sure." I mumble, killing the engine and climbing out, handing the keys back.

~X~X~

The trailer that served as the office was small, tight, and very cramped. Dropped ceilings, few windows, and numerous filing cabinets made the small space claustrophobically tight. There was a desk immediately in front of the door, and cheap plastic chairs against the same wall as the door. There was an older woman seated behind the desk, who looked up from a book, to stare at me, her expression screaming boredom, like she would've been thrilled to watch paint dry or grass grow. I nodded silently to her, and followed Rick around her desk, into what seemed to be his office, though it was tight enough to call a walk-in closet, instead of an actual room. He rounded a metal desk, that reminded me of my school years. A teacher's desk. That's original… Not. He gestured to a chair across from the desk, as he sat in one behind it. "Coffee?" He offered. Maybe he wasn't quite as much of a sleaze ball as I thought… I shrugged, "Ehh, sure." "It's out there." He stated, thumbing back out towards the rest of the office. "Oh." Jerk. I left for a brief moment to retrieve the life-fluid and returned quickly with a small cup in hand.

"So what are you thinking? What price range?" I started for him. "Well… Ahh… Hmm…" He mumbled to himself, tapping his fingers against his chin. After a few minutes of hmm's and huh's and buhmaybe's, he replied, "Twenty-four-hundred." Just as I was taking a sip. I nearly choked on it. "T-twenty-four-hundred?" I exclaimed. Are you forgetting a zero in there or something? Twenty-four-hundred. As in, a two, a four, and two zeroes?" "Yeah… Why? You willing to pay more?" He said. Too late now, dumb-ass. "No! No, I was just… Making sure…" I sipped my coffee, in an effort to wave off the sudden outburst. "Two-thousand dollars…" I murmured under my breath again. "You take cash?" He perked up immediately. "Yeah! Err- yes. We do. But there's a no-returns policy. No returns, no refunds, no complaints." "I'm down with that." I responded, smiling. We both stood up, shook hands, and he pointed towards the woman at the desk. "Go talk to Lynn, and she'll pull up the title and the reg. and we'll get you on your way!" I nodded, and moved back to the front of the tiny office. The woman, Lynn, looked up from her book. "Hi." I said shortly, flashing a smile, and half-waving. "What can I do for ya?" "$2400! Ima pull the title and registration!" came the shout from Rick, who then exited his office. He opened one drawer on a filing cabinet, pulled out the corresponding sheets of paper, and placed them on the edge of the secretary's already cluttered desk. The phone rang, and said woman promptly picked it up, with a sharp. "HELL-O!" and followed with soft mhmm's and uh-huh's. Must run in the family, I thought to myself. Rick pulled open another drawer on a different cabinet, pulling out other papers. Lynn snapped at whoever was on the other end of the phone. Rick slammed the drawer shut. A pile of papers on the edge of Lynn's desk tipped and scattered, prompting a fight -more of a chicken squabble- between them. I awkwardly rubbed the back of my head, and stepped back, parking myself in one of the plastic chairs. It finally ended with a sharp snap from Rick, and Lynn ended up crouched down in her heels, picking up the papers. I grimaced. Rick snapped my attention back to him, waving the title in my face. I smiled, and stood back up, taking the title, and reading it. God help me that this jerk doesn't rob me blind with a counterfeit title or registration. I nodded, with a shrug, and pulled out my wallet. I had just purchased myself a new -new to me, at least- truck.

~X~X~

When Rick disappeared back into his office, to sign his half, Lynn rolled her eyes, and pulled open one of the file cabinet drawers behind her. She grasped the glasses hanging around her neck and pushed them up, onto the tip of her nose."So what'd ya buy?" She inquired. "The red and blue Petey." I responded with a real, glowing smile.

She suddenly looked back at me, intensely, as if I'd grown two extra heads, doubled limb count, and fish scales. "What?" I ask, startled. "Oh, nothing. Nothing…" She said aloud, with a glance over her shoulder, then she dropped her voice to a murmur.

"He's been trying to get that thing off the lot for forever. Like, three or four months!"

Shit.

"A bunch of people bought it, and came back within two weeks, complaining, demanding a refund!"

Oh God…

"A couple of them said the truck drove off and left them behind. Left their cargo miles away from where the driver was stranded, and came back on it's own!"

Damnit.

"Supposedly it started talking to them! It also changed into a monster! But I think they're just on crack."

Changed into a monster?

"And, it kept taking over, and driving to random places! With it's driver inside!"

Fuck me.


A/N: So... This is my first fic that I've actually posted. I know damned well it could be better, but I also know damned well that it's a good start. Relatively good grammar, and automatic spellcheck on my comp, to boot. So I'm confident, but not cocky about it. :3 R and R please! :)