A man was driving down a winding country road late at night in the pouring rain. There was nothing around but farmland for miles. Suddenly in the headlights, a figure appeared, standing by the side of the road. It was a female hitchhiker. The man wasn’t normally the type to pick up hitchhikers but he felt obliged as it was raining and very desolate where she was standing. He backed up alongside her and rolled down the window. “It’s an awful night to be out. Want a lift?” She lifted up her head, brushed her wet hair out of her face and looked at him. She was a beautiful young girl with pale skin and unusually dark eyes that almost appeared to float above the white plane of her face. She said nothing, but opened the rear door and slid into the back seat. Immediately, the man felt icy cold. He rolled up the window quickly and turned on the heat, but the chill remained. He caught a glimpse of her arm in the rearview mirror. Her skin was so white it was almost translucent.

“What’s a girl like you doing out here in the middle of the night?” he asked. She replied in a voice so jarring, deep, and hoarse it made his hair stand on end: “Tell me, does your cell phone plan have rollover minutes?” As she spoke, a powerful rotting stench filled the entire car.

“Yes, I-I think I have 3000 rollover minutes m-monthly,” he stammered. His tongue was numb in his mouth and he found it hard to speak.

“What about roaming charges?” she demanded in that same sepulchral tone. He saw her black eyes in the rearview mirror and they seemed to enlarge infinitely. She bore little resemblance to the attractive girl he had picked up moments ago. Her skin looked as though it was too tight; it seemed about to crack apart, and the contours of her skull were clearly visible. Her white fingers had grown as unnervingly long as twigs and she was waving them around slowly in front of her like a soft coral bending in an undersea current.

“99 cents a minute roaming,” he gasped, unable to tear his eyes away from her mesmerizingly awful reflection in the mirror.

“99 cents a minute! That’s outrageous! With Cingular, roaming is only 79 cents a minute and also you glumph,” she added as her jawbone abruptly fell off and tumbled down to the floor. After a slight pause, some scrabbling noises and a brief sucking sound, she continued, “Cingular’s everyday plan would be perfect for your amount of cell phone use. Plus you can take photos with your new free phone and email them to friends.” Her voice was closer, hovering right by his ear. Her elongated fingers encircled his neck lightly.

“Can I sync it to my palm?” He asked, almost hysterical with fear. Her grip tightened, bony fingers digging into his flesh. What in god’s name was this thing in the car with him, and could he get free nights and weekends?!

“Why don’t you change providers right now,” she hissed. He did so as if hypnotized. It was an easy process that only took about five minutes! All at once the girl-creature shouted, “Stop right here!” He slammed on the brakes in the middle of a sudden hairpin turn and almost spun out of control. He turned around to check on her, but the back seat was empty. Empty except for a brand-new cell phone with an integrated digital camera with 640 × 480 resolution and 3.4 MBs of memory! He got out of his car and looked around for his unusual passenger but saw no one. While he was looking, he stumbled upon a makeshift shrine on the guardrail dedicated to a girl who died in a horrible car accident, seven years ago that very night! He squinted at the weathered photo attached to it. It was the same girl who had ridden in his car! Shaking with fright, he leapt in his car and drove from the town at breakneck speed, pausing only to change his ring tone from “Mexican Hat Dance” to 50-Cent’s “In Da Club.”