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It was eleven at night, the long dark road stretched before me, I had been driving for over twelve hours, and I was the most tired I have ever been. No radio stations would come in, static was the only sound in the speakers, I hadn’t seen another car in hours, and I wasn’t even sure where I was. I glanced down to my phone, there was no service. I told myself the next time I went through a town I would stop and get some sleep…that was when the car died. I coasted to the edge of the road and glanced down to the gauges on the dashboard, the needle was below E. “I’m an idiot,” I said aloud, startled by my own voice as it broke the deep silence.
I opened the door and got out of the car, stretching my aching muscles, I turned a full 360 looking for any signs of life. I noticed the glow of lights on the horizon in the direction I had been driving. Seeing no other choice I reached back into the car collecting my purse and my still useless phone. I locked the doors, and then I started to walk.
After about an hour I finally reached the outskirts of what seemed to be a small town. My plan was to find a hotel and get some sleep, and then go back to my car in the morning.
I looked at my surroundings; I was walking down a typical neighborhood street, tall dark oak trees reached over the street blocking off my view of the houses behind them. I reached in my purse to see if I had a signal yet, there was still nothing.
Frustrated I put my phone back in my purse, “That won’t work here miss.” Startled, I screamed and whipped around searching for the source of the voice. A small blonde-haired boy, probably six or seven stood behind me.
Relieved, I managed to find my voice, “Oh, hello,” I said, “what did you say?”
“I said,” the boy spoke in a low voice staring at the ground, “those won’t work here, they never do, they don’t allow it.”
“They who? Do your parents know where you are? It’s very late.” The boy was beginning to freak me out, there was something off about him, and he talked and moved in a jerking sort of way that made me uncomfortable.
“I can’t say, it’s not allowed, and my parents are here, they’re always here.”
“Okaaaay, thanks for the help.” Shaking slightly, I walked quickly away. Behind me the boy started to laugh, I walked faster. The laugh continued to echo in my ears even as I reached the end of the street. Looking both ways I saw a flickering sign to the left, Indigo Inn, Vacancy. Maybe my luck had finally began to change, I turned the corner and speed walked to the hotel.
I soon reach the hotel. It is a normal looking slightly run down small town hotel, the light blue paint is peeling and the door is scratched, but the red sign flashes Open, the best news I’ve had all night. Tentatively I push the door open and enter. I walk straight ahead to the desk, no one is there, I ring the small silver bell on the counter.
“One moment please,” a disembodied voice floats towards me.
“All right thanks,” I respond, relieved.
I turn my back to the desk to look at the room around me, the walls are painted a deep crimson color and old unframed photos fill the wall. Moving closer I realize the images are unclear, I can tell they are people, but the images are blurry as though they haven’t been developed all the way.
I hear a throat being cleared impatiently behind me; I turn quickly, “Hello,” I say as I approach the desk once again. She just smiles in response. “So…” I begin, but the query dies in my mouth, I am shocked this woman is the scariest thing I have ever seen.
Small dark dots and lines reach up her arms and around her face; at first I thought it was an unusual tattoo, but I can now see it’s really made of buttons and string. The thread is black the kind you would use for surgical stitches, but it’s twisted and crooked, and is lined with crusted blood.
My stomach churns; I have never been good with blood and my pulse thunders in my ears. The lady smiles again, she steps closer, her long coarse black hair floating around her. I am frozen in fear, but I find myself able to move again, slowly I back away. A small hand at my back pushes me forward, I scream, it’s the boy again.
“I told you we never leave, we are always here, and we want you to stay with us.” He smiles up with big dark eyes, and outstretches his hand to me. His long sleeves fall back to show the same brutal lines up his arms. In his hand he holds a long curved needle already strung with thread and buttons.
“Oh my god, what the h*** is this place?” I shriek.
“It’s just that,” the woman smiles in the same creepy way, “h***!”
I can’t stand there any longer defenseless; I throw my purse and phone at them and race out the doors. Outside the sun has begun to rise, and I can see the town as it really is. The streets are cracked and broken, houses I couldn’t see before are dilapidated and falling in, it’s a ghost town. I hear feet pounding behind me and look back, there is a whole group chasing me, laughing. I run as fast as I can, my only hope for survival now. They are getting closer I can hear their laughter and feel their excitement and eagerness in the air. I turn again to see how close they are, and that’s when I trip on a tree root grown up and through the broken road. I feel myself falling and can do nothing to stop it, the last thing I hear is them cheering and laughing…
Blue and red lights flashing, my eyes flicker weakly, I moan and open them all the way. Something happened, have to run; have to get away, my pulse races. I look around, feel warm blood trickling down my face, I can taste copper in my mouth.
Ma’am,” I hear. And a police officer leans through my window, “please don’t panic we’ll have you out in no time, it’ll be all right.”
Somehow I’m in my car, “wha what happened?” I slur.
“Looks like you fell asleep a the wheel miss, you should be more careful.”
Thank God I think, it wasn’t real, but then logic breaks through the fog of my mind, “How did you find me? There’s nothing out here!”
“We got a call, a young boy, he didn’t identify himself.” That’s when I pass out.