“On Highway 18” by Rebecca Campbell
Card picked: 10♥
Found at: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September-October 2017
The kids in the 7-Eleven parking lot knew everything that happened from one ens of the highway to the other. They knew, for example, about the last girl who’d been found—the one in the ditch beside the Petro-Can.
“Be careful, man,” he said, a kid Petra had known in the tenth grade, “you know how ghosts like highways. Watch out for hitchhikers.”
Maybe ghosts, maybe time slipping visitors from the future. Both of those concepts are too big, too loud for this story. Campbell captures the quiet smallness of summer for a couple of 16 year-old best friends in the early 90s: the dangers of hitchhiking, the changing social statuses that happen when friends get boyfriends and jobs, the inevitable changes that will occur post high school. But who are the girls who hitchhike on the 18 and why does one look so much like Petra’s friend, Jen?
Highway 18 of the story refers to BC-18, a route on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.