The dust was whirling behind their car as they sped down the gravel road. Dust and dirt swirled behind them like a dark cloud gaining on the small car.
David glanced at the dash board to see how fast he was driving and it showed sixty-eight. He wasn’t sure why he was driving so fast; they weren’t exactly in a hurry.
He and his friend, Ryan, were heading across the state after fall break to their school. They were both freshmen at Crestwood University.
Both of them were failing their classes due to all of the initial partying they kept doing. They didn’t care. To David, the thought of being an accountant like his father was like the dust behind them, waiting for them to take a wrong turn so it could catch up with them and choke them out.
“So dude, check this out. Do you remember Amanda Lytle? The blonde chick that used to hang out with my sister?” Ryan asked him.
“Is she the one who posted that video of herself on the internet playing hide and seek with a carrot?”
“Yep, that’s her. I ran into her at Johnny’s party Friday, and I’ve gotta say, vegetables aren’t her only talent.”
They both laughed and continued the topic of choice for awhile. They had several hours left ahead of them.
They had turned off the main highway awhile ago, and the Dark County road spanned out in front of them for miles.
“Are you sure we’re going in the right direction?”
“Yes, I downloaded this map from the internet.” He grabbed it from the seat beside him and handed it to Ryan “It’s supposed to be an hour and a half shorter.”
“Looks like a lot of squiggles to me,” Ryan said, tossing the map back on the seat in between them. “Dude, we’re not in a hurry to get back, so who cares about an hour and a half?”
“Ok, ok. My brother was telling me about this bar over near Millville. I thought we’d stop and check it out.”
“A bar? Why didn’t you just say so? I mean, I’m always up for a little beverage.”
“Well I figured that, but I wanted to wait to see it first; ya know, make sure it’s the sleaze joint it’s supposed to be.”
“Ok, so this doesn’t look like anything on the map.” They were sitting at a four way stop looking at the map.
“Well what’s the street sign?” David asked Ryan since he decided to take over navigations.
Ryan looked up from the map and tried to look out the window.
“I don’t see one.”
“Use the flashlight.”
Ryan clicked on the flashlight and rolled down his window.
“There’s not one here, maybe if we drive up another mile, there’ll be a sign there… Wait… What’s that?”
“Never mind, it looks like an old church or something.” Ryan turned off the flashlight and rolled up his window.
“Let’s just drive up to the next road.”
They crossed the intersection and drove slowly pass the church. It was an old wooden structure looming in the darkness on the right side of the car.
“Dude, I come from a Christian family, so churches are all peace, love and goodness, but that church looks creepy.” Ryan slumped down in his seat a little more.
“I know. I almost expect someone or something to run out and try to attack us.”
“Hey, shut up. Just…let’s go. Stop creeping along.”
David sped up and they started talking about other stuff, and settled on what they hoped would be the bar. A half hour later, David interrupted their discussion of booze and sex.
“Do you find it odd that we’ve been driving this road for several minutes and there’s not been another crossroad or any road at all?”
“What? What are you talking about? Right there’s a stop sign.”
David looked up just in time to slam on the brakes.
“God, man, what are you doing?” Ryan said slapping his hands against the dash board.
“Nothing, I swear. There was no stop sign in sight a few seconds ago.”
“Well, what do you call that?” Ryan pointed at the stop sign a few feet away.
“Ok, fine. Who cares? Just check the street sign.” David threw the car in park and took a minute to calm down. Ryan just looked at him for a minute mumbling to himself about people being testy and needing to calm down. Then he rolled down his window, grabbed the flashlight and looked for the sign.
“Hey, wh… David, there’s not a sign here, either.”
“Seriously? Well how the hell is anyone supposed to figure out where they’re going around here?”
“Wait…” Ryan swept the flashlight across the street. “Is that the same church that we just passed?”
They both glanced at the ominous structure. It was the church or at least it sure as hell looked like it.
“It can’t be the same one,” said David. “There’s no possible way. I mean, we would’ve had to turn around somewhere or have turned at all. We drove straight through for half an hour.”
“Maybe we should turn around and take the highway.”
“We’re fine; I mean, if we keep driving we’ll get there eventually. Do you know how many hours it would take for us to go back and start over?”
They both sighed and began to get going again. When Ryan started to roll this window up, a face appeared next to him in a silent scream. David threw it into drive and they took off.
Over and over again, as time seemed to tick away into the night, the boys kept driving and it seemed that no matter which road they would take, it always brought them right back to the crossroads next to the church. Finally, confused and angry, they pulled into the church’s parking lot.
“What are we doing?” asked Ryan.
“Well, I don’t know what else to do.” David was extremely frustrated by all the time seemingly spent going in circles. “Maybe we can just get out and take a look around.”
“Are you insane? I mean look at this place.”
“Well, do you have a better idea?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we took a wrong turn. Let’s just take a minute and calm down. We can try again. Hell, we can even take off through a field if we have to.”
The darkness around them seemed thick and heavy. Shadows seemed to creep and dance, playing tricks on their eyes. A low fog began rolling up around the car, shifting into shapes and enveloping the dark. Soon, the quiet weighted on their eyelids and slow breaths gave way to snores. They had no idea of the things that crept from the night, the things that came for them; leaving nothing but a piercing scream to be heard by on one.
The sun began slowly peeking from behind the shadows as dawn broke upon the few covered field. A slight haze hungers the air as a car stopped at the crossroads.
“Well that’s odd.” She said to her friend, pointing at the busted car, sitting in the odd church’s parking lot.
“I wonder who that belonged to,” she said as they drove away.