A Phantom in the Blizzard

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OCTOBER 4, 2018

my best friend and i were driving from seattle to chicago. we thought we had planned everything out. somehow we neglected to factor in bozeman pass as our final mountain crossing before staying the night at a hotel in billings. we stopped in bozeman for one last rest stop before the final push to billings and heavy snow began to fall. oddly, the cashier at the gas station was from my small hometown in washington state. we decided to get back onto i-90 despite the impending snowstorm and take the next exit into a town with a hotel if we found the conditions too dangerous. my friend was driving, and as we pushed deeper into the darkness, we realized that there were no exits that weren’t closed off by barriers. we were on the pass for better or worse, and had no choice but to make it to the other side. the snow fell even harder. there was at least a foot of snow on the ground now, and every sign on the freeway was completely obscured in white. it was almost impossible to see anything, yet there were many cars on the road with us. we drove on in grim nervous silence, the album playing in the car on loop, neither of us willing to peel our eyes from the road long enough to change it. (moon colony bloodbath by the mountain goats & john vanderslice). i looked out the passenger side window into the landscape, all pitch black and eerie white. ghostly-looking train cars parked on the railway running parallel to the road. it felt like my vision was swimming but i said nothing. suddenly i saw a faint flickering greenish glow near the train cars, and as i peered closer it appeared to be emanating from a lantern held high by a humanoid figure, starkly featureless and black in the snow. it was striding along? or hovering slightly? i couldn’t tell if the snow was falling in front of or through it. it was about the height of an average human man, judging by the boxcar it was next to. in those few seconds as the car passed, i felt it look right at me. i don’t know how i know, but it knew that i saw it, it looked back, and then it faded away, lantern and all, just as it had appeared, back into the blizzard.

Submitted by a traveler