Categories > Original > Horror0 Reviews
Cameron thought he and his friends were on a normal road trip. Too bad they were driving to hell in a fast car. Language, somewhat graphic scenes.
I reached around, shivering, groping in the morning rays for the covers. Something was grabbing my arm. I leapt from bed, shaking my arm wildly, heart pounding. I tore at my wrist, feeling – fabric. I started laughing, my shaking hand struggling to untangle its partner. I’d somehow gotten my arm tangled in the covers. Dropping the red sheet back on the bed, I started looking around, my mind still sleep and adrenaline addled. The walls were unfamiliar, and the linen was mismatched. Oh, yeah, hotel. I’d stayed at Mandy’s hotel for the night on my way over to… Summer road trip, destination unimportant. Right, I remembered. Good thing Nick’s older sister owned a hotel in the area after the car broke down. Weird how these things always worked out.
I shivered, realizing there was a draft in the room. I took a step forward, looking around the corner to find…
“What the hell?” I’ll admit it, I shrieked. I flew towards the door, which was mysteriously open, not thinking clearly. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have been exiting through the back sliding door. When do I ever think clearly?
As soon as I slammed the deadbolt into place, I could feel the blood drain from my face. Someone was breathing in my ear. I turned slowly and sighed in relief.
“Funny, guys. You got me.” I laughed, clutching my chest. Someone was standing with their arms up, draped by the sheet from my bed. How they got out of the closet, which was next to me, and over to my bed and then behind me again I wasn’t sure, but congratulations to them. The sheet fell away, and I screamed.
The thing behind the sheet was completely white. White hair, white face, white eyes, white clothes, all the same shade. I wasn’t sure who or what it was, but it looked like it had been human, once. I’m not sure how I didn’t piss myself before that thing fell away, revealing a highly amused Mandy.
“You bitch!” I shrieked, launching myself at her. She sidestepped me easily, still laughing.
“Oh, if you could have seen your face, that was priceless, snookums!” She chuckled, kneeling to grab my cheek and shake my head.
“Stop calling me that, god, you only babysat me for what, a year?” I sputtered, scrambling to regain my feet and shake her off.
“Three, snooks, and your mother gave me permission to call you that until you were thirty.” She crooned. I growled, sulking as I gathered my sheet to throw it back on the bed, ignoring the chill down my spine I got from seeing that thing she’d brought and the strange slime that I’m sure I only imagined it left on the fabric, making the red shine like blood.
I noticed that the phone was blinking to tell me I had a message. I started fiddling with the device in order to ignore Mandy, who was steadfastly ignoring my technological difficulties.
“I think your phone’s busted, Mand, I’m pushing all the right buttons but nothing’s happening.” I finally whined, getting frustrated by pushing the same pattern of buttons as the instructions said. Mandy just leaned against the wall, smirking. Frustrated, I tossed the receiver down in disgust, walking towards the opposite wall, unsure of what to do. Tossing Mandy out would have been nice, but my room or not, it was her hotel. And there was no guarantee she would take that thing with her if she didn’t go in her own sweet time. The phone began to beep. I turned to glare at it, realizing I hadn’t managed to hang it up all the way.
“Cam, Cam get out! I mean it, hear me out, this is not a joke!” It took me a minute of glancing from Mandy to the phone to realize that the Mandy in the room was not the source of Mandy’s voice. I rolled my eyes, listening to the rest of the message with crossed arms. “This place… you should have never come here, I tried to warn you… get out, trust no one, we’re not who we seem anymore. I’m not… me… anymore! Just get out!” The dial tone cut off her dramatic Hitchcock scream and I began to applaud.
“Wow, I’m really impressed. I didn’t know your voice went that high. This is a really elaborate set up, you do know Halloween isn’t for another four months? I mean, sure this place is themed and all, but aren’t you pushing it a little, or is this special treatment for guests you know?” I asked, rounding on her. I was completely ignoring the contacts. And the plastic fangs. They were plastic. They were contacts. Her eyes were not red. Her teeth were not growing. That sound was not human. I backpedaled toward the back sliding door, and what had been Mandy seemed to be growing. She was not growing wings, people didn’t have wings, and ha! The door was open!
I tumbled backwards into darkness, further disoriented by the fact that light had been streaming in through the curtains moments before. And it definitely wasn’t cement under my hands. It wasn’t grass, either, or anything natural. It was carpet. I stood slowly, feeling around to get my bearings, and managed to find a wall. Turning around, I noticed a red light blinking, though the darkness afforded me no sense of depth perception. A familiar beep preceded a familiar voice.
“Cameron, buddy, listen up.” Jason sounded… terrified. He was actually hysterical, his voice quavering. I furled my eyebrows, my breathing filling the silence of the room, waiting for him to speak again. “Listen, I, I um, just get out of here buddy. I don’t know what’s going on, but something’s… something’s really wrong here. It’s just… wrong. I don’t know…” His voice cut off and the lights came on. I shielded my eyes, blinded, and scrambled closer to the wall, feeling vulnerable. I blinked stupidly, trying to clear my vision more quickly. There didn’t seem to be anyone in the room but me. The bed was mismatched, same as mine, red top sheet on a cream bottom with a black duvet. And there was someone in it. Someone who wasn’t moving.
I slowly edged towards the hall door, glancing at the sliding door I’d just come through. It was closed, and a lovely scene of grassy courtyard lay beyond. No way I was trying that again. My eyes kept gravitating back to the figure on the bed. I hit the end of the wall and needed to step towards the bed to walk around the closet. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and started forward, wanting to bolt but not managing to make my feet do it. My eyes opened and I froze. I could see the figure’s face for the first time. Jason. He hadn’t breathed, not once, he hadn’t… been breathing…
The red sheet was wrapped around his throat and his eyes were blood shot. His hands were still caught in the fabric of the linen from trying to tear it away. I realized I was crying, but my feet were taking me towards the door. I don’t remember turning the knob, much less unlocking the door, but however it happened, I was out in the hall. It stretched on interminably in both directions, garish red doors with stylized black numbers. This is what I get for sleeping in a creepy hotel, this had to be one hell of a twisted dream.
I was wheezing as I ran, drunkenly, down the hall, hoping that I would wake up or that the hall would eventually change, or that something would change. Nothing was chasing me, nothing was breaking the silence, nothing was breaking the monotony. I tried to stop, but my legs refused to cooperate. They were beginning to ache, and I wondered, tiredly, if legs could ache in a dream. I closed my eyes, unsure how much longer I could keep running before something gave out, when I suddenly wasn’t running anymore. My legs were moving, but I was in midair, falling into nothing. I couldn’t even make myself scream; I couldn’t draw in enough air to breath, much less make noise. The wind whipping past my ears would have drowned out any sound I made, anyway. I thought my head would explode. They say your life flashes before your eyes before you die. Well, mine didn’t. My death, however, that was another matter. I kept seeing myself, splattered against whatever surface lay beneath the darkness and the sound like paint on one of Jackson Pollock’s canvasses.
Finally, the falling stopped. It wasn’t really like I’d landed, I wasn’t jolted or hurt. It was just that I wasn’t falling anymore. But I was also flat on my back. Slowly I sat up and bent my legs, feeling along them to make sure nothing was broken. Then, I pushed forward, letting them support my weight until I was standing up again. That was anticlimactic.
I felt the darkness for a wall. There was a flashing red light up ahead, so I started moving towards it through empty space, testing the ground with my toes before each step. The flashing slowed, like one of those spinning spotlights. Or a pulse. I shuddered, continuing, not sure what else to do. All of a sudden, the ground was squishy.
“Fuck!” I turned to run and hit a wall that hadn’t been behind me a moment before, falling flat on my ass. My vision danced, my nose spurted, and pants were decidedly wet from whatever was coating the floor. “So. Gross.” I muttered, ignoring the metallic smell of the liquid.
Careful not to touch my face with my now dripping palms, I wiped my nose on my arm and struggled to my feet, supporting myself against the wall to keep from slipping again. I turned slowly, inching through the slick on the floor, having nowhere else to go but forward. Because staying still and waiting around for something to jump me? Not. Happening.
“Hello?” I called when the silence was getting too oppressive. “Nick? You there?” It was getting bad enough I was imagining a scratchy sound to go along with the rhythmic, red flashing. I definitely needed to get out of here. Wherever here was.
Finally, there was something in front of me besides dark, shifty passages occasionally illuminated by freaky flashing red lights. I was again in a room, this time without doors. The light was coming from the answering machine, but it was bright enough to be a flare; the noise, which had been getting louder, hadn’t been imagined. I slid down the wall behind me, hyperventilating, ignoring the junk that was soaking through my pants.
“Cam, get out while you can, it’s not worth it. It may seem better at first, it’s not, just run! Don’t be stupid, get out!” Nick’s voice. Nick’s words. Nick’s final message.
Mandy turned around slowly, her eyes as bright as the message light. Nick’s body, because it had to be a body, no one could survive all that, was still in its death throes; you know, when the muscles spasm after death. Nothing had seemed real until that moment. It had been surreal; just a bad dream. Now it hit me. My best friend was very, very dead and being eaten by something that looked like his sister. My roommate was strangled in his bed upstairs. And my babysitter had been turned into some kind of cannibal demon thing.
“So, what is this?” I screeched, unable to keep my voice down as she approached, dabbing the blood from her lips demurely with a tissue. “Demonic possession, some kind of paranormal hotspot, haunted house, living house, what?” I was running through every horror movie scenario I could think of, trying to figure out which one I preferred. They all seemed pretty bad, unless we went with the original “this is all a dream wake the fuck up now” scenario. I liked that one, the waking up and finding out none of it happened. Well, I was done. I was ready to wake up. Any time now. I imagined myself joking about all this in the car with the others, telling them how crazy my subconscious was, and started laughing hysterically. Mandy knelt in front of me, studying me, though I could barely see her. My eyes were too wide to focus properly.
“You don’t remember a thing, do you? Poor dear.” She soothed, stroking my face. I closed my eyes, skittering away from her touch, but ended up banging my head into a wall. The light was getting brighter, it was burning through my eyelids. I was in the car, everyone was okay, and I was in the car, and I was going to wake up and… why wouldn’t the light stop? It was just like…
The car, red lights, flashing, slick ground, dark… it had been raining. We’d been driving at night, none of us paying attention. I… I’d been sleeping. I’d woken up when…
I opened my eyes and found myself crouching next to a tree. Red lights were flashing from everywhere at once. Jason was at my feet, his neck at a funny angle. There was glass everywhere. I shrieked, skittering around his body, still laughing. It was a dream, it was a dream, it was just a goddamndream, and I was going to wake up…
The car was upside down, the roof partially crumpled. The guardrail for the road was… it was through the front seat. Nick was… Nick was… It was a dream, it was just a fucked to hell dream, when the hell was I going to wake up? I couldn’t even see Mandy anymore, she’d been sitting next to Nick. And I’d been in the back with Jason. So why was I walking around when Jason was…? Why was I walking around? I’d been the only one in the whole damn car with my seatbelt on. Dream logic, it doesn’t have to make sense, right? I suddenly realized my feet were moving me towards the car.
‘No, no. See, this dream is going to end before…’ But I was already kneeling next to the passenger-side window of the backseat. And I was… inside… why? Dream, right.
“Hello, dream me. You’re not looking so well. In fact, you’re looking rather dead. So I’m going to wake up now, that I’ve seen you, and ‘know that I’m dead’. Bye, dream me.” I called through the cracked window. I could barely hear my own voice, though I’d felt like I was screaming the words. The dream me didn’t move, and when I waved my hand… what hand? No body. Nice. But that body in the car was not me, because I was outside the car, or rather I was alive in the car dreaming about being dead in the car. Because I had to be. Because death didn’t work this way.
Voices. They were wheeling Jason’s body away, and struggling with how to extract Nick and Mandy. Apparently Mandy was in between the guardrail and the roof of the car. Nick no longer had a head. Mandy didn’t have a pulse, her neck was mush. When they checked dream-me, he didn’t have a pulse either. I began to laugh, but no sound came out. I backpedaled, hitting a tree and passing through it. Once I slipped into the deeper patch of night that constituted its shadows, I began falling through the ground, too. Ironically, I started feeling more solid as I was consumed. I felt my pulse in my ears again, heard my breath, could feel with my body. But none of it was real, right?
“We’re all here, Cam. Waiting. It doesn’t have to be like that; we can all be together.” Voices in my ears as the ground swallowed me up. Three of them, merging into one, laced with venom. Terrified, I struggled forward, inching toward my dream self, or my real self, or whatever it was that was being hauled away, tears obscuring my vision. I didn’t want to go back, I didn’t want to be in that hell. Anything was better than that place, right?
“Don’t run, Cam.” Nick’s voice. But it wasn’t. None of this was real. “If you go, you’ll cease to be. Stay with us.” Nick’s message. No, Nick told me to…
I ran. I ran forward, but the further from the tree, from the shadows, toward the flashing blue lights, the lighter I got. The harder it was to see me. I lost sensation, numb, intangible. I fell to my knees, but they weren’t there. I couldn’t feel the ground, could only barely hear the conversations around me. I panicked, but I wasn’t breathing anymore. I couldn’t hear myself. I had no voice, no matter how much effort I put into making a sound. I used the impulse that would have drawn my knees to my chest. Go forward, disappear. Go back… Shit.
I tried to rock myself, but obviously motion is a mute point with no body, so no comfort came from it. No warmth. If I went forward… would it really be better to disappear.
“Get out. Don’t run.” Their voices merged in my memory with the messages my friend’s had left.
“It’s not worth it.” Nick’s voice, as loud in my ear as if he were… I turn, and there’s no one. The world is getting hazier, whiter. I’ll be nothing if I don’t move, but if I go back.
“Stay with us…” Nick’s voice, soft, pleading. I couldn’t cry, tears don’t form if you don’t have a body. Stay… Go…
My nonexistent body willed itself to move. I couldn’t go back, couldn’t go forward, but I couldn’t stay put, either. Hell, limbo, or nothing? Those were my choices.
I felt tears on my cheeks and smiled.
Better the devil you know… right?