The car was starting to feel stuffy when we saw the blinding lights in the distance. They burned bright and huge, and every second they seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. The closer we got, the more I felt unsettled and intimidated. The car was filled with screams of excitement and anticipation. The fluorescent lights burned at our eyes and as the car stopped, the lights captivated me for a few seconds before I realized where I was. We stumbled out of the car, and it sped away, leaving my three friends and I completely alone in downtown Pontiac. I knew I was about to make many memories.
“Maybe it’ll be fun?” Randa stammered, making the statement sound like a question. Disturbing sounds played in the background and long lines of equal parts excited and terrified thrill-seekers of all ages were lined up around an dusty, but far from abandoned warehouse. We were at Erebus, and I was painfully aware that I was in for the fright of my life. I knew the theme was zombie clowns, and my phobia of clowns made the pit in my stomach feel even worse. I felt like I didn’t belong, and that everyone else here was better prepared than I was. Every second that went by, I felt more and more terrified by what I was about to do. I had always been too scared to set foot anywhere near Erebus, and now that I was finally here, I wanted to leave before I even started.
As we walked into the house, I heard a quiet “Good luck...” whispered from behind me and I was led into a large, open room. People everywhere yelled for us to “Move up!” and “Fill the space in!” in raspy, deep voices. My friend Randa and I were standing next to each other with smirks of anticipation on our faces, and my other friends Aliza and Erika stood together, holding hands, wide eyed with fear. We tried to stay unnoticed, hoping that they would leave us alone. We heard a scary trailer played for us, depicting lab experiments going wrong, and then they let us into another corridor. By this time, I had no idea where we were or even which floor we were on. Randa and I nervously shuffled forward, with Aliza and Erika holding onto the back of my shirt, and when someone leaped out from the shadows, straight at Randa, I let go of her hand and sprinted up the nearest flight of stairs.
Then, we moved through the spaces indicated to us with Randa and I in front, and Aliza and Erika trailing behind with the same sense of terror. There were too many people to count and a ton of different places, and we had no clue where we were or where we were headed. We kept moving with a sense of deep foreboding and suspicion, though we never knew what scare we were going to face next. We kept going, seeing chainsaws, clowns, and even a fast-moving bus. Suddenly, we were in a space with mirrors covering everywhere that we could see. Erika started running away from someone behind her and ran straight into a mirror, scaring all of us. We picked her up from the ground and cautiously stepped forward, knowing we had to keep moving, and a clown popped out directly next to me. I stifled a scream and shuffled forward, hoping it was just an effect of the mirror. Apparently reading my mind, he said “I’m not a mirror, sweetie,” and leaned in closer to my face.
I was so scared, until I looked deep into his eyes and realized, this isn’t someone I need to be scared of. This is just an actor standing here, probably trying not to laugh at all four of us freaking out. I knew that no one else really believed this, so I started talking to him with Randa to help Aliza and Erika not completely freak out. We, of course, were all still completely terrified, but realizing that these were all just actors stopped us from barreling out the first emergency exit we came across.
As we walked out the last set of doors and realized we were in a lobby, the sense of relief was greater than I could imagine. We all took a minute to breathe, and cheered at our own triumph. Overall, my experience of Erebus was terrifying, but in the end, it taught me many things about who I am and the life I want to live. It taught me to be bold, and to go for it because I only have one chance to live this life, and I don’t want to waste it. Also, this experience taught me to face my fears, even though I always thought that sounded cliche. It helped me learn that even when I’m terrified, facing my fears head on will help me get over anything I’m scared of, and that good friends will get you through any experience.