Writing Prompt 6: Man in Your Backseat

in Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 6: Man in Your Backseat

This is a classic horror writing prompt. I’m sure you’ve heard this story or seen a version of it on television. I think the idea is overdone, but it got that way because it is such a seductive situation for a writer. Its suspense is inherit. I think the fact that it is overdone pushes you to do better, so there are multiple reasons to write these prompt. I think it will get you writing right away, and it will surprise you if you write this story.

Being that this is a classic prompt, if you write your 500 word or less story and post it in the comments, we will consider it for publication in our October issue of Every Writer the print issue. We are hope to get a lot of these. We get lots of EWR: Short Story and Every Writer submissions, but I think these will get a little more weight because it is a classic scary story.

We are looking for the best stories. We are looking for really scary stories. I hope this prompt will help you. Remember it has to be 500 words or less.

One a side note, this is one of the first scary “movies” or stories that I saw as a child. I can’t remember the name of the movie or tv show that played this, but I still look in the back of my car when I get in at night.

Share this prompt, and Keep writing!

Writing Prompt 6: Man in Your Backseat

Writing Prompt: It’s late. You got off the highway, slept for a little while, and you are now again on your way. As you adjust the rear-view mirror you notice a man in your backseat….

Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal...check our About Us page for more. Also here is info on our On Classic Articles


  1. “Please don’t panic,” he rasped, holding out a hand, placating. I stared at the blood dark on his palm, trembling. When I didn’t reply, the man lowered his hand again, gripping his other arm. It was then that I noticed the blood dripping down his skin. His clothing was torn and dirty, his hair tangled with leaves, his face pallid.
    “You’re hurt.” Even I winced at how stupid I sounded. He laughed, teeth showing bright against his dark stubble.
    “Yeah. Rough night.” The man cleared his throat faintly and shrugged. “Um… Hospital?” he asked. I started the car and pulled onto the road.
    “You look like someone tried to kill you.”
    “Like I said: Rough night.” The man sighed, sinking further into his seat.
    “I’m Jenny,” I told him.
    “Luke,” he answered weakly.
    “Why does someone want you dead?”
    “Wrong place, wrong person.” I frowned.
    “Honestly, Jen, I don’t think you’d believe me if I told you.”
    “Well, you’re asking for a hospital, so you’re probably not wanted.”
    “That’s… complicated.” A chill went down my spine and I glanced at his reflection again. His dark eyes stared blankly out the window as his limp arm bled freely. I swore under my breath, trying to decide if I should let him pass out. It would be safer for me, of course… but if he wasn’t a criminal, then I would be remiss if he bled out…
    Clicking my tongue in frustration, I pulled over and took the belt from my skirt.
    “Here; buckle this around your arm,” I said, throwing it back at Luke and driving again. “Remember; if you attack me, I’ll crash this car.”
    “I’m not going to attack you,” he muttered. I could hear him moving in the back seat and assumed he was doing as instructed. “I just don’t know how much I can tell you right now.”
    “All this ambiguity is seriously freaking me out, Luke. How do I know if that’s even your real name?”
    “It’s not,” he said, startling me. “But I—” Luke broke off as headlights flashed through the back window. I checked his reflection again as he carefully shifted to peek above the seat. He dropped down again, swearing, and I examined the car behind us; a sleazy-looking red car.
    “Now, that’s the kind of car you see drug dealers using on cop shows,” I drawled, thoroughly put out. “What trouble have you dragged me into, and why shouldn’t I just let them have you?”
    “Listen, Jenny; I shouldn’t tell you this, but it’s an emergency. My name is Jack Miller, and I’m an undercover detective.”
    “You got busted,” I surmised. Jack huffed, nodding.
    “Big time.”
    “So, what now?” I asked, watching the car coming up closer behind me, skin prickling as my hair stood on end.
    “Do you trust me?”
    “Nope.” Jack chuckled at that.
    “Fair call. But I’m gonna need you to gun that engine anyway.”
    “So much for being home for Christmas,” I lamented, pressing the accelerator.

  2. I felt my heart drop down an endless hole. I took a long, deep gulp and pretended I didn’t see him. I gathered my thoughts and had my eyes on the road, ‘I’m gonna look at it one more time just to make sure,’ I told myself. I took a deep breath, prayed to all the holy figures of every religion and looked again at my rear view mirror.

    He was still there. His eyes fixed on me.

    “What do you want?!” I gathered up my courage and asked boldy, while i was dying on the inside.

    He said nothing and continued to stare at me with his fixated look.

    “I said, what do you want?! I’ve got the police on the phone!” I said sternly, my phone in my hand with 911 ready on the dialler.

    He was still staring, eyes unblinking.

    I took a deep breath, stopped the car and turned back to the backseat.

    I felt my soul leave my body when I saw that there was nobody there.

  3. “Hi, what’s your name,” I said.

    “Hi, i’m Jon. Nice to meet you.” He said.

    “Out to kill someone tonight?” I said.

    “Yeah, that’s why i’m in here.” Jon said.

    “Well cool!” I said excitedly, “I can’t wait!”

  4. “Please, don’t hurt me!” I begged.

    “I won’t hurt you if you give me some cash!” the stranger hissed. I hit the accelerator desperate to get him off my back.

    “Slow down or I’ll slid your throat!” He roared taking out a knife.

    “If you say so,” I replied hitting the breaks momentarily.

    The man banged his head on the backseat. I rushed out of the car running and pleading for help. The last thing I saw were long, yellow headlights before all things became dark.

  5. ‘’who are you?’’ I asked.
    ‘’Where are you going?’’ replied he.
    ‘’Ahead…I even don’t know’’

    He laughed.

    ‘’Why laughing….?’’
    ‘’You pretend of going to new places. HAHAHA… No one goes. Actually you back virtually to your past experience.’’


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