The Rider of Route 666
a faux urban legend
by Hawk O'Brian
(disclaimer- This story is not a real urban legend.... I take no responsibility for anyone to believes in it or any other urban legend)
According to some stories.....
There's a section of RT. 66 that is haunted by supernatural beings. Sometimes these beings make themselves known to the truckers and other people who travel this road. But there is a tale that most people are too scared to tell... the story of The Rider of Route 666.
The story starts in the 1950s, with a teenager named Jimmy "Hotrod" Lynch. He was a cocky young man, who loved to drag race his '51 Chevy BelAir. He was very proud of his car, so proud that he loved it more than anything. He supercharged the engine, modifying his car to be the fastest thing on four wheels, and often challenged anyone to race him. At first, it was fun and exciting for people to race Jimmy, but that changed very quickly.
Jimmy was gaining a reputation for being the best driver in the area, and rivals came from all around to challenge Jimmy's claim of "Drag Race King". But with every challenge, Jimmy would win. And with every victory, Jimmy's ego would get bigger.
But Jimmy's car could only be supercharged so much, so Jimmy started to build a bigger, better, faster engine. Jimmy would disappear for days looking for the right parts that he needed, and then install them in his car. And it was during this time, that Jimmy became consumed with creating the fastest car ever. There were some rumors that Jimmy even made a deal with the Devil.
And then, one day, Jimmy was done. His Chevy BelAir had been transformed into the ultimate speed machine. It was painted black with red and yellow flames on the hood, and chrome everywhere else. But it was the engine that stood out the most.
The engine came out thru a hole in the hood of the car, rumbling like an earthquake. And whenever Jimmy stepped on the gas, the engine roared like a beast from Hell. People would shiver whenever Jimmy drove by, some because they were afraid of what Jimmy had become.
Just like his car, Jimmy had changed as well. Before, he was a cocky, reckless punk, but he had a charm about him and he was a bit of a ladies’ man. But after, he had become cold and uncaring, and when he smiled, it would run a chill up your spine, like he was walking over your grave.
And with his new super charged car, Jimmy waited to be challenged to a race, and he didn't have to wait long....
Jimmy was parked at the local drive-thru burger joint, "Mort's". He was sitting in his car, staring out the windshield, but looking at nothing. The other kids steered clear of Jimmy, except for the roller-skating waitress, who would occasionally roll up to Jimmy's window, ask if he wanted to order something, and quickly roll away when he didn't reply.
Jimmy turned his head to the road, as if he knew something was coming, and another hot rod entered the parking lot. The Ford Roadster drove up next to Jimmy, and the driver looked at Jimmy.
"You Jimmy?" The driver asked. Jimmy nodded his head…
"Heard you were fast, and I wanna see if you are faster than me. The winner gets the loser's car," the driver said with a sneer. Jimmy smiled, and replied, "The Old Crossroads."
The Ford Roadster left the parking lot, with Jimmy behind him, and the parking lot kids followed quickly behind Jimmy. This was going to be the race of the century, and no one wanted to miss it. When the crowd of cars arrived at the Old Crossroads, Jimmy and the Ford Roadster lined up at the intersection.
Maryann McKenzie walked between the cars, pulling her scarf from her around her neck. The Driver of the Ford Roadster said a few dispatching words at Jimmy, hoping to make him flinch. But Jimmy just looked down the road, emotionless.
Maryann shouted out the rules. "First car to the old Billboard and back wins...." and the engines of both cars roared. Maryann walked between the cars, lifted her scarf above her head, and looked at both drivers. The Driver of the Roadster gave Maryann a wink. But Jimmy just stared at the road… until Maryann gave the signal.
The tires of both cars squealed, as the cars tore off down the road. The sound of the two engines drowned out the cheers of the crowd, and both cars fought like demons to out race the other. If one car took the lead, the other would take the lead back, only to lose it again shortly after. It was neck and neck, until both cars passed the old billboard and quickly changed direction to head back to the finish-line.
But the Rival misjudged his turn, allowing Jimmy to take a small lead, and hold on to it. Both Drivers pushed their cars to the limit and beyond, causing their engines to groan under the strain. For every inch of road they drove, Jimmy and his Rival fought as the finish-line got closer.
The Rival desperately shifted gears, hoping to get a little more power to overcome Jimmy, but couldn’t close the gap. Jimmy smiled, because he knew he had won, all he had to do was cross the finish-line. But then something happened.....
The Ford Roadster veered into Jimmy's lane. Jimmy turned to avoid his rival, and went off the road, into the dirt. Jimmy's engine sputtered and stalled as the Roadster zoomed by. Jimmy frantically started his car up again, but it was too late, The Roadster reached the finish-line. The crowd booed, as the Driver got out of his car with a big smirk. He knew he cheated, and he didn't care. He just stood in the middle of the road, smiling, waiting to receive his prize.
Jimmy was furious. He put his car in gear, stomped down hard on the accelerator, and drove towards the finish-line. Jimmy stared at his rival, as evil flashed in his eyes and pushed his accelerator down to the floor.
It’s what happened next, that would shock the crowd of onlookers. Jimmy drove his car into his rival, flinging him into the air like a ragdoll, and slammed on his brakes as the rival's body hit the ground. The tires squealed to a stop, as the broken, bloody rival lay on the ground.
The rival's body twitched, trying to cling to life. The crowd stood on the sides of the road, jaws gaped open, not able to believe what they just saw. But Jimmy sat in his car, looking in his rear view mirror, emotionless.
The silence was broken, as Jimmy's car shifted into reverse. The metal beast slowly drove backwards, towards the now moaning rival. The crowd could only scream and shout, pleading for Jimmy to stop, but he didn't listen.
Jimmy's '51 Chevy BelAir, slowly drove over the rival, crushing the last ember of life from him. The sounds of bones cracking were outdone by the cries of the young girls in the crowd, and the thumps made when the tires rejoined the road. Jimmy shifted his car back into Drive, and drove away from the scene, as he gave a small smile.
It wasn't long before Jimmy was arrested for murder, and the trial was almost as fast. With all the evidence and witnesses against him, Jimmy's fate was sealed. No one was surprised about the verdict when the jury foreman stood up and said, "Guilty".
The judge looked at Jimmy, and spoke. "James Lynch.... In accordance to the statutes set down by state, I sentence you to Death via Electric Chair". The courtroom quietly murmured over the sentence handed down, but Jimmy barely reacted. He just gave a little smile, and was escorted back to his cell, as the sound of the gavel echoed thru the courtroom halls.
Now, here is where the strange part begins. As Jimmy sat in his cell, Jimmy's car was in the Police Impound Lot, under the watch of the lot attendant. He claimed weird events happened with Jimmy's car, and couldn't explain any of them.
The blood on its fender was used against Jimmy at the trial, and was never cleaned off. But even when it rained, the blood never washed away. The doors remained unlocked, but no one was able to enter. At night, the headlights would turn on, and the engine would start up and run until dawn. And sometimes, the car flame paint job would seem to move and dance like actual fire. But the lot attendant's stories were dismissed as drunken delusions.
On the day of the execution, everything started out as normally as possible. The electric chair and generators were inspected. The execution room was cleaned and the guest's seats were set out. The top of Jimmy's head was shaved clean, and was served his last meal. The last rites were read, and Jimmy was led from his cell, down to the execution room. The room was filled with people, like the Prosecutor and the prison's Warden, all there to bear witness of Jimmy's demise.
After he was sat down, the Guard's began to strap Jimmy in, attaching the electrodes to ankles, wrists, and head. A black hood was placed over his head, and then Jimmy was asked if he had any last words. Jimmy lowered his head for a moment, and when he looked back up, and said his last words, "Let’s burn rubber so I show you what this Hotrod can really do."
The Warden gave the signal, the switch was thrown, and a million volts ripped through Jimmy. With every jolt of lightning, his body thrashed, jerked, and jumped around in the electric chair. The slight odor of cooked skin, floated in the air, as wisps of smoke appeared around Jimmy's hood. After a few seconds, the current was turned off, Jimmy's body slumped down into the chair, and it was silent... for a second.
A quiet, yet sinister laugh came from Jimmy's smoking body. He began to lift his head, and seemed to be staring at the crowd. "Is that all you got," Jimmy taunted, "I have some place to be". And then the switch was thrown again.
The lights flickered on and off, as the electricity ran through Jimmy once more. His body gave off a slight reddish glow, as it contorted in the confines of the chair. His prison uniform turned from light gray to char black, as sparks flew from his fingertips, until the switch was flipped off.
Jimmy was pronounced dead, the straps were removed, and Jimmy's body slumped to the floor. The Guards rolled Jimmy to the morgue, and removed his hood. It revealed an evil demented smile on Jimmy's face, and the electricity turned Jimmy's eyes as black as the darkest night.
And while Jimmy was being executed, something else strange occurred. In the Police Impound Lot, Jimmy's car was shaking and contorting as if it was being electrocuted. In certain spots, its paint had turned black, and the interior was smoking and charred all over. It would seem the Jimmy's '51 Chevy BelAir had shared Jimmy's ride on the lightning.
And the strangeness continued, because the night before his funeral, Jimmy's body and his car disappeared. The Police couldn't figure it out, since the funeral home and the impound lot's gate were still locked in the morning. It was if Jimmy and his car had just vanished, but it wouldn't be long before people would see them again.
It's been said, that on dark nights, if you are driving on a certain section of Route 66, a pair of red headlights might appear in your rearview mirror. If they do, don't speed up, because those headlights belong to Jimmy.
And he is challenging you to a race, but he is not racing to win bragging rights, and it's not to win the pink slip to your car. Jimmy is racing you for your soul.
If you try to outrun Jimmy, and lose... You die, and Jimmy claims your soul. If you try to outrun Jimmy, and win... You keep your soul, but he will kill you because he lost. If you want to live, there is only one thing you can do. Pull over as quick as you can and let Jimmy pass you. Its only way you will stay alive after being challenged by the Rider of Route 666.