[an error occurred while processing this directive] ZEPHYR Magazine
                              T H E
                           Z E P H Y R
                  __     M A G A Z I N E
                 Issue #20                6-28-86
            A weekly electronic magazine for users of 
                        THE ZEPHYR II BBS 
                    (Mesa, AZ - 602-894-6526)
                owned and operated by T. H. Smith
                    Editor - Gene B. Williams 
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                            (c) 1986

  Imagine this. 
  You've been at one of the best parties that was ever held. 
It was a wild time for everyone, but eventually it had to end,
and then came the drive home.
  You go outside, start your vehicle and head off. Maybe you 
had too much to drink (or whatever) - knowing inside that you 
shouldn't really be on the road. Maybe you dozed at the wheel, 
or maybe the road him is so familiar that you just weren't 
paying attention - for whatever reason you find yourself on a 
road in the middle of nowhere.
  You have no idea where you are. Nothing looks familiar. It 
seems that you are on a mountain road somewhere. And it must 
be a long, long way from civilization because there is no 
sign of a city anywhere, and the radio has nothing but static 
on it.
  Just as you're trying to figure out where you are - and how 
you got there - a creature appears and wants to take your 
life. It looks human enough, but nothing you do affects it.
                     THE GHOST OF HIGHWAY 12

  Bob felt great. He had the road all to himself. For hours his
only company had been the thousands of tiny insects dancing in 
the beams of the headlights.
  Cool mountain air rushed into the cab through the open window.
It carried a hint of rain, but the sky was cloudless, marked 
only by the countless sparkling stars and the thin glow of a 
cresent moon.
  The feeling of freedom and power as he pressed down on the 
accelerator was overwhelming - almost intoxicating. Only one
thing bothered him at the moment. He didn't know where he was.
  Not that he was lost. Bob never got lost, at least not for 
very long. He just didn't know where he was. Or why. Or how 
he'd come to be there, or where he was going.
  He was just driving, all alone, in the middle of nowhere, 
for no reason that he could remember.
  He knew other drivers who would fall into a semi-sleep at
the wheel. They'd experience a temporary disorientation. But 
Bob knew that he hadn't dozed off. He was wide awake, and fully
aware of everything around him.
  He thought back, trying to remember when he'd stopped last.
  Two days before he'd been in Tucson. That's where Sara 
lived, so he certainly couldn't forget that.
  After Tucson . . . nothing. Two days were missing.
  He looked straight ahead through the darkness, trying to find 
the telltale dome of light of a city or town. Eventually he must 
come across a town - something that would give him his bearings.
The road stretched out, surrounded by dense forest, on and on, 
with no signs of ever ending. The view in the mirror was the 
  The radio was silent. Its light tried to tell him that it was 
working, but nothing came through the speaker but soft static. 
Every channel was the same. Either he was too far from any 
transmitter, or absolutely nobody was on the air.
  Without warning a man appeared in the road ahead. In the 
frightening and helpless second before collision Bob saw that 
the man was just standing there, arms raised, and smiling.
  Bob's hands automatically tightened on the wheel. But there 
was no impact. No thud. Bob clearly saw the image of the 
man slide through the cab and then disappear through the back 
wall of the van.
  Bob braked hard and fought to keep the van from going out of 
control. The right wheels bit into the gravel of the shoulder 
and sent up a wake of dust. Just inches from a large and very 
hard tree the van came to a stop.
  Adrenalin shot through his veins as he hopped from the van. 
He looked back through the darkness and saw that the man was 
now walking toward him, and still smiling. Just fifty yards 
away the man stopped, then waved.
  "Hello. I was wondering if you'd be by tonight. I've been 
waiting for you."
  Bob felt the blood rush to his face, leaving a streak of icy 
cold along his spine. His hand was shaking badly. Fighting a 
desparate flood of panic he reached into the van and pulled 
out a large wrench. 
  "Hold it right there, fella," he commanded.
  The man shrugged. "Okay, if that's what you want. But you 
might as well put the wrench away. It won't do you any good."
  "Step closer and we'll see just how much good it does. Now 
who the hell are you, and what do you want with me?"
  "It doesn't really matter who I am. You're Bob Sawyer, right?"
  "Yeah. So what?"
  "Well, Bob, I've come to release you from this world."
  The chill along his spine exploded, spreading a tingling 
numbness all through his body. Breath came hard. The man 
began walking toward him again, arms open.
  "Stand where you are!" Bob screamed, choking.
  The man ignored it, and was smiling even wider than before.
"There's no need to be afraid, Bob. Accept it, and it will be 
much easier."
  Using both hands Bob raised the wrench and hurled it at the 
approaching stranger. It sailed through him and slid along the 
road behind.
  "Calm down, Bob. I'm not here to hurt you. I'm going to 
help you. I'm here to release you from this world."
  Bob tightened his fists, knowing very well that all his 
strength wouldn't help him against this . . . this creature 
of darkness. "How can I fight a ghost?" he thought in panic.
  The man came very close before he stopped, and then stood 
looking at Bob and smiling. "Being dead isn't so bad. You'll
  "But I don't want to be dead!"
  "I'm afraid you have no choice, Bob. There's nothing you can 
do about it." The man opened his arms again, as if to take Bob 
into his embrace.
  Bob backed up quickly and yelled, "Get away from me. No spook 
is going to touch me!"
  The man smiled and lowered his arms. "Do you know what a 
ghost is, really?"
  A drop of sweat fell down Bob's nose and into his mouth. "Yeah.
They're dead people."
  "Not all dead people are ghosts, but you're right, in a way. Some 
who have died just wander around, and won't let go of this 
physical world. They sometimes stay around the spot where they 
died - such as this road."
  Cold kept spreading through Bob until now he was shivering. He 
swallowed hard, trying to remove the grapefruit sized lump in 
his throat. "Then why don't you just leave!!! Why do you want to 
go haunting a road for?"
  The stranger stared at Bob, the smile gone. "You don't understand 
yet, do you Bob? It's not me who's haunting this road. I'm quite 
alive. YOU are the ghost. You died on this road three years ago 
and have been driving it ever since. Now you can leave. There's 
no reason for you to stay lost any longer.
  "You're dead, Bob."


  Well, response was a *little* better this past week. True, 
the discussion turned into electronic, hairless cats (with 
and without RAM) - but that was more or less in keeping with 
the general silliness of the issue.

  I wonder what this week will bring? Maybe a few personal 
ghost stories? Or just opinions on the subject? I just hope 
we don't go back to the little or no response routine.

  What should the magazine be? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Not at 
all? (Out of maybe 200+ users I hear from 4?)
  Is it worth a couple of minutes of your time? Or am I spending 
hours each week to entertain myself?
  Well, if you care enough, there ARE several ways you can assure 
that the issues will keep coming each week.
    1.)  Post some participatory remark on the magazine board.
    2.)  Send me some mail, if only to give me your opinion of the
         present issue.
    3.)  Attempt an issue as a "Guest Author" (contact me in E-mail
    4.)  Bring a new user to Zephyr (and let me know about it).
    5.)  Download the file called "Question" then fill it out and
         send it to me, then make copies and hand it out to every
         appropriate person you can think of. (After well over a 
         month, I have yet to get a single response.)

(on the other hand, if having weekly issues doesn't really matter 
 to you, all you have to do is to continue doing what you're doing
 now - nothing at all.)

  That's simple enough, isn't it?

Next week:
  It depends on how much time I have. In the past I've given the 
issues of the magazine a position of priority. But since this is 
the "lowest paying market" I have (writing *is* how I make my 
entire living) . . . .

Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.