Astonshing #17: "Drive Of Death!"

Astonishing #17
"Drive Of Death!"
September, 1952

Story: Unknown
Art: Unknown

Death is urging Rod Wilson to drive faster...faster!  Soon, the reckless
driver will reach the end of the road, and Death will claim him.  Rod
Wilson was fond of racing his car at high speeds through the streets at
night.  Confident about his skill at the wheel, Rod soon had his
automobile moving at eighty miles an hour.  EEAAAA!  THUD!  It all
happened in a moment...  The pedestrian found himself right in the path
of the oncoming car... Brakes start screeching... but it's too late...
and the sickening sound of solid metal colliding with soft flesh is

The streets are now silent, with Rod Wilson stepping out of his car, and
seeing what he has done to the poor man.  In his panic about being
arrested, Rod is thankful that there were no witnesses, and decides to
cover up his deed by disposing of his car.  Not wanting to take any
chances, and knowing that many hit-and-run drivers have been caught by
the smallest of clues, he decides to take the body of the pedestrian with
him.  Driving out of town, and grateful for the lack of traffic on the
road, Rod now has his plan together.  A small, isolated lake on a rarely
used road is his chosen route.  He is able to leap out of the automobile,
which keeps on going down the slope.  The car disappears under the water,
as does the numbness experienced by Rod Wilson.  He may have lost his
automobile, but the evidence is gone, as well.

The hit-and-run driver soon sees a ghastly shape rising from the lake,
and the guilty Rod figures that it must be his victim's ghost.  Crouching
in terror from the oncoming form, Rod Wilson begins to scream, and
suddenly realizes that he's been running from some windblown mist.
Regaining his nerves, Rod decides to head back towards the highway.  It
takes time for him to make his way through the woods, and he vows not to
lose his nerve again over "ghosts."

WHOOOOOOO!  The fear returns to Rod Wilson briefly, but he figures out
that this latest "ghost" is nothing more than an old owl.  When he sees a
large, black shadow reaching out for him, the hit-and-run driver sees
that the shadow is coming from a tree.  Having overcome his fears over
the "ghosts," Rod has finally reached the highway, where he succeeds in
thumbing a ride.  The grateful hitchhiker notices that his good samaritan
has the type of automobile he had.

Now resting in the passenger seat, Rod Wilson now feels at ease, and
starts to make small talk with the driver.  He sees that this particular
model car is indistinguishable from the others which had come on the
assembly line.  Rod tenses when he notices that there's a familiar
scratch on the car radio.  The passenger seat has the same tear, the
travel stickers are from the places he's visited, and there's a very
familiar grease spot on the ceiling.  The hit-and-run driver discovers to
his horror that he's somehow back in his own car.  It is then that he
notices the identity of the driver, who smiles at him, and asks Rod if he
doesn't believe in ghosts.  As Rod Wilson reels back from this sudden
revelation, the pedestrian sends their car down the slope, and into the
waiting waters.

This story was reprinted in Giant-Size Dracula #2 (September, 1974).

Mr. Wilson was in a hot rod to Hades when he ran down the elderly

An episode of the Twilight Zone focused on the hit-and-run driver trying
to conceal his crime against a small boy, but both his conscience, and
his own automobile caused the man to turn himself in.

The hit-and-run driver got "steamed" by mistake.

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the woods?  The owl knows,
that's WHOOO!

The dark shadow created by a gnarled tree are far from gnarly.

No longer in the driver's seat, Rod Wilson is taken for a ride by his
late victim, and this last trip is far from pedestrian.

Steve Chung
"Drive Of Review!"