The Town did not see many visitors anymore and with a dwindling population, Etensburg was not what it used to be. The Town’s people were made up of multi-generational families that only knew Etensbug as home. Unfortunately, the majority of the younger generation decided to move on looking for more outside the old mining town. It was not long before the small Town started to develop a reputation by people who would pass through. Known best for its mining industry Etensburg had begun to Decay with the mines dying out. Passersby started making strange and audacious claims about the proverbial thing that goes bump in the night. While residents of Etensburg denied these claims vehemently. Over the years more and more reports of people who went missing while passing through the town would arise, leading to many inquisitive people wanting to go and see for themselves. I was not one of those people. My name is Myles and this is my story.
Two years ago after graduating high-school, I decided to pursue a career in acting and unlike so many people making the journey to Hollywood I took my chances and moved to Atlanta. As far as making movies is concerned Atlanta is the place to be right now. After two years of struggling to find work my agent finally found something promising for me. It was a lead role in an action/adventure/sci-fi. I play as a half robot half wizard 200 years in the future as mankind’s last desperate hope for survival as the world is on the brink of complete annihilation. So awesome, I know. The Casting was being held on location of the movie about two hours north of Atlanta. The audition was set for Friday at 9 am, so instead of chancing traffic out of Atlanta in the morning and missing the audition I decided to drive up the night before and stay in a motel in Addison, Ga. My girlfriend decided to come with me for moral support. She always does thing like that to show she cares, or to make sure I don’t do anything stupid when shes not around, not sure which. Any way the plan is to leave Atlanta around 6 pm Thurs, arrive in Addison by 8 pm, get a late dinner, check into the hotel, rehearse my lines a couple hundred more times and then bed. Got it all planned. As I look at Jennifer and ask, “you sure you went to the bathroom?” “We are about to leave and i don’t want to stop 10 mins down the road.”
“Yes!! She say’s ferociously.
“OK, OK, I just want to be sure. You know I like sticking to the schedule.”
“I do babe, don’t worry, I’m good.”
“OK, lets go then.” I say with a knowing smile on my face.
The trip started as I expected it would. We stopped three times so she could pee before making it out of Atlanta. I love my girlfriend.
“Do you believe in ghosts?” she asks.
“Hell no, and people who do are crazy in my opinion. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I have been watching Ghost Hunters on TV a lot and to be honest I think they are real, so do you think I’m crazy?”
“Hahahahaha.” I cant help but burst out in laughter. “Of course I think you are crazy babe and the ghost thing just helps prove my point.”
“Ugh! You are such a jerk”, she says.
“It’s a part of my charm boo, one of the million reasons you love me so.”
“Whatever.” as she flips her hair and changes the subject.
“Are you nervous about the audition?”
“Hell yeah, this is my first big audition since I did that Corn Flakes commercial.” ” I am a nobody trying to land a Blockbuster role, this does not happen all that often.”
“Well I think you will do great. Are you going to do a voice?”
“A voice?” I ask amused by the question.
“Yeah a voice, like Christian Bale’s Batman.”
“Oh, well I don’t want to sound weird and blow it.”
“Yeah well you have to do something to stand out, like dress up like a robot or something.”
“Well that’s not going to happen maybe I can try a voice. What does a half robot half wizard sound like anyway? Like a mix between Robocop and Harry Potter does not strike me as Heroic.”
She laughs at how ridiculous it sounds. ” What a weird idea for a movie anyway, who comes up with this crap?”
“I think its pretty cool.”
“Yeah it will be real cool, especially if you get the part and become a superstar.”
“That’s the hope. Will you go over some lines with me?”
The remainder of the trip is spent trying out dumb voices while working my lines with Jennifer, as she tried to keep from laughing to hard at how crazy I sounded. In the end we decided to go with a slower gravely sounding voice with exquisite diction. I thought it sounded pretty neat.
“Only 25 ins out!” I say excited to reach our destination and try and unwind for a bit.
“Can we please stop, I am going to burst.” Jennifer complains with so much pain and desperation in her voice.
“You have to be joking. We stopped an hour ago.”
“I am serious. Take this next exit they have a bunch of places that sound clean.”
“Fine but this is the last stop we are seriously less than 30 minutes out.”
Exit 13 A Etensburg:
“That name looks familiar, doesn’t it? Has it been on the news or something?”
“How the heck am I supposed to know you are always reading and watching weird stuff.”
“Oh REALLY Mrs Ghost Hunters.”
“Whatever Myles, look just stop here it looks clean.”
I pull into a Citgo that looks nice enough but these places can always be deceiving. The outside never is a true indicator of the horror that lies in wait in these gas station bathrooms. Parking the car, I decide to stretch my legs and walk in with Jen. The gas station and in fact all the surrounding gas stations seemed rather deserted but I guess I shouldn’t expect to much from a small town in North East Georgia. The attendant behind the counter looks like what I would imagine a pig in lipstick to look like donning a nice green Citgo shirt and smiling proudly. She sure does seem to like to smile a lot especially considering the lack of teeth. I guess Ill give her some props for having such a seemingly positive attitude under the circumstances. As I browse the store and wait on Jen, another couple walks in and these people seem just as weird as the attendant. Pretending to look at a bag of obviously expired chips, I watch as the two approach the counter. Heads tucked down, arms at their sides, only looking up every so often to see whats in front of them. The smile fades immediately from Mrs. Piggies face as they place the money on the counter with out looking up or uttering a single word. I could almost feel the heat of anger radiating from the attendant.
Jennifer suddenly appears from around the corner with a look of absolute disgust on her face and I can only imagine the terror she was just made witness to. Waving to her from behind the stand of chips, time seems to collapse. Mid wave her eyes suddenly go wide as her mouth falls open in shock and horror. I couldn’t move fast enough the blade was staring up at from her chest blood running down her stomach the scream that never came hanging in the air.
There was no one near her. How did this happen? Finally reaching her I bring her slowly to the ground. I look up to yell for someone to call 911, but no one was there. The three people who had been there only moments ago were now completely and utterly gone.
“Babe, hold on I’m going to call fr help don’t move.”
Something flashed past my vision as I went to get up, moving as quickly as possible I found the Phone. It took 20 minutes for the paramedics to show up. By the time they had arrived Jennifer was unconscious from the blood loss but amazingly still breathing, as shallow as it might have been. I begged the police to let me go with her to the hospital but since I was the only person around the police made me the number one suspect. I was cuffed and brought back to the tiny police station. As we drove I tried going over what happened n my mind. It was un-explainable there was no one within 10 feet of her, I was looking right at her. The couple that was in the gas station had been standing directly in front of the attendant, then seconds later they were all gone. Where could they have gone? Where did this giant knife come from? What did I see when I stood to run to the phone? Something was there then it wasn’t? I had more questions than answers and the thought of Jennifer not making it was almost to overwhelming to take. I prayed I was dreaming but knew I wasn’t and there was no waking up from what just happened. All I knew was that I needed to get to Jennifer as fast as possible. She wasn’t safe here and neither was I.
“Where are you taking me?” Acting as if I hadn’t said anything the officer just looked on straight ahead.
“Please you have to let e go to my girlfriend she could be dying.” No response.
“I am innocent, look at the surveillance tape from the gas station.” Still nothing.
“There were three other people there when it happened then all of the sudden they were gone.” Finally he spoke.
“Son I don’t know what your talking about , but that gas station has been abandoned for over five years. The door had been pried open when we arrived and you were covered in your girlfriends blood standing over her.
“Ha Ha Ha”. I had to laugh that sounded absolutely insane.
“That’s not what happened my girlfriend needed to use the restroom we were on or way to Addisonville for an audition. I stopped so she could use the bathroom. You will be able to ask Jennifer when she wakes up…”
“Listen son none of this looks good for you, I just got word that Jennifer did not make it. If I were you I would stop talking until you get a lawyer.”
It felt like a nuclear bomb went off in my head. I couldn’t breathe or think… The world went dark.
I woke up cuffed to a small metal cot bolted to the hard gray cement floor of a 5×5 cell. When I woke up no one was around. It looked like I was in a private holding cell in the back o a building. The room I was in was only slightly bigger than the cell. One florescent light hung from a low ceiling. It was more like a bunker than a jail cell. The door leading out of the room looked to be reinforced steel with a single small window that showed its age. Scratches and blood spots decorated it, while the door it self held similar war wounds. Sitting up I found my voice.
“HELLO! Is any one there?”
The lock began to click open on the heavy door. Fear was holding me tight as the door slowly creaked open.
“Look who’s up, the cold blooded killer.”
“This is all a huge mistake…”
“You know what Myles Thorton, you are right this is a huge mistake. Thinking you could come into our town and kill someone and get away with it. You are gonna be locked up for a long time.”
“Wait don’t I get a phone call?”
“Ha Ha, Son you waived that right on the way here, I have the signed paper on my desk. I would get comfortable if I were you. You wont be going anywhere anytime soon.”
Turning with out another word and slamming the door in his wake, I was alone again. The absolute insanity f what was happening was too much. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. What the hell am I going to do? The light in the next room suddenly cut out, followed by the light in my own cell.
“Hey, whats going on!?
A small voice sounded in the dark from the corner of my cell.
“Stand!!” The cold disconnect of the voice as if it were being spoken through another world made my hair stand on in. Hesitantly standing in fear a small click sounded as my cuffs fell off and onto the bed.
“Come Forward.” It whispered
As if in a trance I moved. Where the cell should have ended light poured in as I walked forward. Somehow I ended up on the highway by exit 13A as car lights came flying by in the night.
The voice spoke again.
“The sacrifice has been accepted leave and never return or you will meet the same fate as your beloved.”
“Wait… No… No… Where is she!!!”
The disembodied voice was gone leaving me disoriented and terrified. I had to move. I had to do something. I couldn’t leave Jennifer, dead or alive in this place. I knew I had to do something. I had to find her. I need to find the other people that were in the gas station. The Police will be looking for me so I better move now while its dark.
The walk back to the gas station took me 20 minutes, twice I had to dive into a ditch as a police car slowly drove by with its search light on. The man hunt had begone it would seem. Walking towards the gas station I could see lights and signs on as if nothing had ever happened there. It definitely contradicts the abandoned building story the officer told me. The realization that I hadn’t completely lost my mind was at least somewhat reassuring. It also gave me hope to believe the other things the officer said were a lie. But why? Why would someone do this to me? To us? I had to believe Jennifer was OK and move fast.
I slowly approached the gas station, no cars were outside. I looked inside and could make out someone standing behind the counter big smile on a big fat toothless head, same green shirt. Well isn’t this a surprise Mrs. Piggy magically made her way back to work. I had an incredible urge to run inside and shake some information out of this woman. She must know something. Before I could make a move I had to duck behind the building across the street as a car turned to park at the gas station. I wish I could say I was surprised to see he couple when they got out of their green Volvo but something in my gut prepared me for this. Just like last time the couple walked heads down into the store. Just like before the Mrs. Piggy stared at them un-speaking with anger and malice on her face. It was time to make a move.
Slowly I approached the door of the gas station keeping my eye on the people inside not talking but standing almost motionlessly in front of one another. As I reached for the door handle my vision flashed and everything around me went dark. Looking down at my hand that now held an old 2×4 that I was prying off the building. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Quickly turning expecting to see the green Volvo, I get another surprise as it too had disappeared and instead was just an empty dirt parking lot, not a car in sight.
“What the fuck is going on?”
The night was deadly quite as if all the life had left this place years ago. I began to walk towards the street and away from the gas station. I couldn’t make sense of what was going on. Am I losing my mind? A sudden squeak caught my attention as I turned to look I saw the outline of a man in a heavy coat pushing a grocery cart down an alley just up the street. As it appeared no one else was around I yelled.
“Hey! You. Sir. Stop.” I ran after him catching up half way down the alley. He didn’t turn to look at me when I spoke to him.
“Sir, whats going on in this fucking town, where is everyone? Where is the hospital? Hello, can you hear me?”
“Listen kid, there is no point hanging around you should leave before they find you.”
“How do you know they are looking for me?”
“I wish I could help you kid but it’s a lost cause. No one makes it out of that hospital.”
“Who are you?” I ask like it matters.
Slowly the man turned to look at me. But where a face should have been only darkness appeared. It was as if this mans whole form had been taken over by darkness and all that was left were red slits where eye should have been. I would have run from the sight of him had I not lost complete control of my body. All I could do was stand there terrified and eyes wide afraid of what would come next.
“Calm down Myles Im not the one you should fear.”
“How do you know me?”
“That is not important right now. What is important is that you leave this place now and never return.”
“I can’t the have my girlfriend I have to get her out of here.”
“You don’t understand Myles there is no getting her out. The Fathoms require sacrifices to be held at bay.”
“What the hell are the Fathoms?”
“They are the darkness of the world, they are the manifestation of all the evil and hatred present in your world. They have come her to feed and soon they will grow beyond this place and devour the world of Light.”
“Ha Ha, come on man what the hell are you talking about? Fathoms devouring the world of light this is all some seriously lame bullshit.”
“No Myles this is some seriously real bullshit.”
“This is a really fucked up day. Well I can’t just sit around and let these things take my girlfriend as some kind of sacrifice and then destroy the world. We have to do something. Are you one of them you are all fathomy looking.”
“No, I am what is left of the town’s population I only exist iin the realm of the town’s shadows, not of life or death but damned to wonder and watch the world be devoured.”
“But what about the others I saw today? The gas station attendant the police officer the weird couple with the green volvo?”
“Those were simply projections made by the fathoms to draw people in. I told you when I got you out of that cell to never come back. You should have listened. Once they know you are here you to will be sacrificed.”
Desperately I asked. “Please you have to help me, we can’t allow these Fathom things to destroy anymore life.”
“I wish I could help but I don’t know how to fight them.”
“Well there has to be a way. You said no one leaves the hospital alive right? Well whats in there what happens?”
“I don’t fully know what happens Myles. The Fathoms feed off of the hopelessness, despair and fear of their victims.”
“Well what if I don’t have any fear, despair or hopelessness?”
“Myles that is impossible everyone fear’s something, especially in our current situation you will not be able to control you feelings.”
“Well you obviously underestimate me. I am going to be a great actor and I know that if I can act brave and hopeful, then I will become brave and hopeful. It’s time to show these Fathom’s what Myles Thorton is all about.”
“Listen Myles you are going to get yourself killed.”
“I would rather die a hero than sitting on the sidelines as everything is taken from me. I wont sit by as the world is destroyed because of fear. I will go and get my girlfriend and destroy what ever unholy peace of shit that gets in my way.”
“Wow that was some pretty riveting stuff. I feel like I might even becoming back to life. Oh wait no still totally dead. Oh well, anyway I can help you get in but after that you are on your own.”
“Great, I would appreciate the help. Now lets go kick some shadowy fathomy ass.”
The man shadow thing grabbed me by my shirt sleeve and I felt a tug on the inside of my stomach like when your a kid on the swings and you go to high. My stomach dropped back in place as my feet connected with solid ground again. I started blinking thinking I had my eyes closed, it was just so dark inside the hospital I couldn’t see anything. Clicks and bangs came echoing from every direction. The slow rattle of air through a vent off in the distance, or was that someones breathing. My heart was in throat. Immediately remembering my acting lessons I started focusing on my breathing and pretended I was playing a game trying to trick my own mind in to believing there was nothing to fear. I really hope this works.
“Ha HA HA HA!” with as much conviction and joy as possible I laughed, I thought of all the funny things I had ever seen. Like that time I was playing whiffle ball and hit the ball back at my dad who was pitching and it hit him in the nuts. All those you tube videos of kids after they get their wisdom teeth out. Sitting around my dorm in college watching Anchor Man for the first time with my friends. Running naked through the girls dorm my freshman year. Those commercials where old people fall and can’t get up. I laughed and laughed until my stomach hurt. I could barely breathe. Lights started coming on I was in a hall way. Laughing and howling, “Woohoo.” Something started moving towards me at the end of the hall way. I knew I had to keep laughing and not showing any fear. What ever was coming towards me seemed confused. It was like an invisible thing that was only visible because it distorted the images around it.
A high pitched, and for some reason British voice spoke.
“what the hell are you doing?”
“Ha ha ah, oh me… Ha ha ha.. oh I am just here to… Ha ha ha pick up my girlfriend. Ha.. ha.. ha.”
“Well you can’t have her. She is ours now and stop that ridiculous noise you are making it is driving me mad.”
“Ha ha ha ha…. Oh you don’t like my…. Ha hahahah ah aha.. laughter?”
“Oh God no its absolutely awful and it makes my belly hurt stop it now or else.”
“AAAAAHHHAHAHAHHA… or else what? hahahahaha… What are you gonna do? Hahahaha you sound like the Queen of England sucked on helium… Hahahaha.”
“Shut…. UP…. Uggghhh. What the hell is happening?”
Lights began to flicker as the creature started to what I can only relate to as throwing up. It looked like someone mashed a bunch of different color play-do’s together and then microwaved them and dumped it on the floor.
“Ha ha ha ha that is the grossest thing I have ever seen hahaha you gotta stop I can’t keep laughing it hurts so much.”
“ARRGGHHH. Noooooo! I am dying. Your incessant laughter. How is this possible? I am all powerful.”
“Hahahahah… Looks like someone really can’t…. Ha hahaha… take a joke… hahaha. Oh my God this is the funniest thing ever… Hahahah I have to record this Hahaha.”
I reached in my pocked laughing hysterically at the invisible play-do puke machine and grabbed my phone and began to record.
“Ha ahaha… This is gonna totally…. hahaha… go viral… You look so ridiculous.”
With one final shriek and an explosion of color as all the light that had been sucked into this monstrous Fathom came pouring back out. The lights stabilized, I finally stopped laughing and there was silence but only momentarily. As the sound of people crying and screaming and moving erupted around me.
“Where are you?”
“Myles? Myles? I am here. I am here.”
Running down the hall way to an open operating room on the left I fly inside to see Jennifer sitting on an examination bed completely unharmed.
“Myles, what happened how did I get here I cant remember anything.”
“I am so happy you are ok I thought you were gone forever.” I grab her in a big embrace and we kiss.”
“Myles what the heck is going on? What do you mean you thought I was gone forever?”
“Ill explain everything later lets just get out of here.”
“What happened with your audition?”
“Crap my audition, we might still be able to make it I think its almost 8 am. Lets go.”
As we made our way out of the hospital all the people in the town that seem to have been taken were waking up confused how they got to the hospital. Walking outside, the sun was making its way over the hills and the Town that was just hours ago abandoned and boarded up looked like it had come alive again.
“Hey our car, how did it get here?” I wondered allowed as I stood next to it parked at the front of the hospital. Just out of the corner of my eye I saw a man standing next to a grocery cart in a big brown coat. Looking at me his arm raised and he shot me a big thumbs up and a smile from a face that he now had.
“Welp, Jennifer lets get the fuck out of this weird ass town.”
“Yeah good idea Myles. I have to pee like a race hoarse though you mind if we stop for a second?”
My laughter fades as I strangle Jennifer to death and kick her life less body out of my car and drive off to my audition.