family, gratitude, rant, travel

My night in a slasher film…

From time to time, in the crisp month of October, I have been known to watch a scary movie or two. I don’t know why… I do get a little scared, and truth be told, sometimes they really stick with me and I do not care much for that part of it. 
Even so, October rolls around and with the invitation to watch a frightfest with friends or snuggle into the crook of my husband’s shoulder and do the same- I decide why not?… 
Why not?
My youngest has seen very few scary movies, and a good chunk of the ones that she has seen, she can thank her brother for… Even so, while she (and I) pretend we aren’t scared of them- their lingering effects are a whole other story. 
Grab some popcorn, snuggle in and get ready for what was seriously the scariest night of my life… 
(though I 98% blame the scary movies i have seen.) 
We found ourselves in Nevada, Saturday. The air wasn’t as October crisp as my body felt it should be, given the warm desert sun pounding through the car windows. Nearly a hundred miles north of Vegas, and with a setting sun, we were ready for this leg of our trip to find it’s way to hot shower and a comfortable bed… 
The room we had booked, pretty last minute, had us turning onto Nevada highway 375. 
The website we had trusted ensured us this was one of two rooms, on our path, and with a four star user rating, it was the obvious of the two… 
The turn to 375 greeted us with a state highway sign informing us that this was the Extraterrestrial Highway. The sun barely beamed, in the distance, as we traveled down the road that seemed to stretch on forever. 
With the increasing darkness the ethereal outside seemed to become more and more unsettling. 
“Can we have some music?” asked Gen, from her back seat, shifting nervously. 
Glancing at my iPhone I noticed that we had NO SERVICE. “I guess spotify is out.” I murmured for no other reason really than to further break the suffocating silence.  I turned the radio on, and hit scan. The tiny threads of remaining daylight proved it was a long shot. 
The light and I were both wrong… 
We had stations and stations, and stations. 
We had spanish stations, french Canadian stations… We had country stations being broadcast from Vegas and a rock station coming from California. Without any exaggeration at all, every point on the FM dial had a brand new, crystal clear station. 98.7, 98.8, 98.9… What was really cool, quickly became really eerie… And then, just as it scanned through the entire dial twice- every singly station was gone and it cycled through black silence… 
Weird, we all three managed at one… 
I checked my phone again- NO SERVICE. 
For nearly forty long, silent, pitch black miles, an unknown darkness spread out before us. When we finally came to the first building on our left, Chw took the turn with enthusiasm- as if the idea of continuing the way we’d come could drive him mad. As relief for human faces and noise began to recenter us back into reality, we took in our surroundings… 
Surely this wasn’t… 
But it was. 
This tiny, thrown together building was our “hotel”. The pluthera of ancient mobile homes behind it proved to be the suites. 

After a few expressions of shock and anger were cycled through, we decided there was little to do but make the best of what could turn out to be a really fun memory/adventure. We feasted on Alien burgers and apple pies while listening to other guests talk about various UFO sightings and rumors. We were tired, we were really just killing time prolonging the moment before we inevitably had to step into our own trailer suite… (Shared with random strangers, I’ll point out.)

The time did come, and so reluctantly we went.
I sent Chw in to check it out… Last thing anyone in central Nevada wanted was me walking into a piece of crap trailer and finding rats, snakes or a murder victim…
He gave us the all clear, while wearing an expression indicating that this could be really bad, and in we went…

Dark brown paneled walls, one full size bed (we’d been told upon booking that we had a private bathroom and two full size beds) Management offered us a moldy hide a bed mattress to compensate for the one bed, though the fleas on the carpet and the lack of it ever being vacuumed (there is no way it had, at least in this calendar year) made us decline.
The dust on the furniture was an inch thick and gummy. The sheets in the bed were covered in crumbs, hair and other shaded though dried fluids. The bathtub (not private bathroom) had a fungus. The heater didn’t work and the desert temperature was dropping faster than my anger was rising…
I was livid, Chw was beside himself with guilt and Genny was near tears with terror.
Carefully we sat on the sofas, in the trailer’s living room, to access our options.

We had already heard the horror stories of the many people killed on the highway, at night, due to open range cattle. We were trapped.

To break the silence that was once again smothering us, I gave a laugh and said “Next thing you know, we’ll find a stack of video tapes, and out of curiosity we’ll watch the one that will make this trip go even more sorts of wrong.”
Chw laughed.
Genny began to cry.
In that exact instant, Chw’s cell phone rang and “UNKNOWN CALLER” flashed on the screen.
Genny screamed, plunging against his torso, all pounding fists and shrieking sobs…
The line was dead.
Chw and I laughed at the absurdity of the situation, while also exchanging chilling glances with one another.

We took turns, him and I, sitting in the one chair while the other one was propped against our door. We brought our own pillows and blankets and spread them out on the bed. I allowed him to sleep longer, as he was driving and needed rest the most.

When light barely became visible above the mountain range, we booked it out of there, driving 90 until we reached the turn towards home.

The morals of my Terrifying Saturday the 13th story are this:

– Even if they don’t scare you, horror movies fester in your brain waiting to terrorize you, and they will… Every little sound, every eye sized hole in your paneled walls,  every visible breath of icy air and every gravely shuffle outside will make you question that fine line you believed in, between slasher film and everyday life…
– Time really is a matter of perspective, and those five and a half hours were about twenty five years in length.
– Never, ever, ever, ever plan to spend any amount of dark time in Rachel Nevada…

THE END… 
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