The one thing that most people never figure on is an unscheduled visit from the unexpected. Falling into a situation that seems as natural as if it is a communion with their destiny. After the fact, of course, in places far away where one does not normally find one’s self. A place where the rules are completely different or perhaps without warning have suddenly have changed. Something terrible, yet unavoidable. A sudden fall off a ladder. A wrong turn down an unfamiliar street into a part of town never known, and suddenly a flat tire. Who could tell?
The state line wasn’t far from where both he and his occasional lady friend acquaintance had found themselves now traveling. They were off the main artery a toll road now as she declined to pay the fare seeking a more local lane of travel to seek out her destination. A small arts fair of traditional country artisans offering their goods upon a small town square. The two lane quickly narrowed as they headed north, the highway that they had left lost far back in the press of trees that hemmed their passage in from either side. Here and there a the evidence of what appeared to be a crossroad or dirt path stemming from either side. The lack of signs marking the identity of these crossing interrupted occasionally by a rogue concrete marker tagged with an enigmatic number. The two motivated to proceed ever onward with unblemished faith of seasoned explorers whose sense of unfailing direction would eventually overcome fears. It was logical that they must hit the main east / west turnoff that the tollway promised would be due north. On and on for what seemed like an hour until it was absolutely confirmed to the both of them that they were positively without a doubt totally lost.
They began to circle back to the nearest cross section that they had previously past. The trees and underbrush providing no specific geographic landmark the driver abruptly turned onto it without consultation from her passenger. Within another fifteen minutes both were arguing as to what they should do next. Consensus ranging from a demand for advice from her followed by another sporadic turn upon any divergent path that happened to appear in the midst of their bickering. Somehow dumb luck seemed to prevail and evidence of civilization appeared in the form of random buildings and a small sign suggesting that the state line to their own home state was a matter of less than five miles off before them. They would have to pass through the town of Gaetenfelt first. Remarkably, the speed sign that whisked by to the right specified forty-five and they would not be hindered any more than they needed to be as their frustration with each other was frayed to the point of near blows. The town’s main street shot by as their car’s speedometer indicated less than a mile further till the bordering state was a memory. A red light suddenly bloomed in the rear view mirror followed by the moan of an approaching siren. The woman cursed decelerating hard till she was able to pull over to the side of the road.
The magistrate of this small burg though perceptibly feminine was decidedly ‘butch. A bull dyke lesbian that would have reveled in the magical accumulation of five a clock shadow if her hormones would have permitted it. It turned out that she was not only this forgotten hole in the wall’s justice of the peace but its sheriff. The wrangling couple stood before her as the big bruiser eyed them up and down. “Lady you don’t know what a speedometer looks like, do you?“, their apprehender spat forth venomously. “But were know what to do with your kind so the two of you best walk back to main street while I follow you with my cruiser.” An odd request, the one newly christened offender quipped to his fellow suspect. “Shaddup, and keep walking!“, the best Neville Brand approximation of a female voice barked out from behind them. The cruiser spiked its siren when the tiny procession hit the main drag speeding to turn before them herding the two in the right direction. The town itself, if one could call it that, was a bygone assembly of small scale worn out thirties architecture. It’s municipal building at the far end looking like something out of an old toy train set from a forgotten yesteryear. Curiously, it’s citizens all appeared to be females in the guise of one gender or another. No one seeming all that taken aback at the two strangers that were being hurried along by their town sheriff.
“Sheryl Wakins as the driver of the car you will be paying a fine of $600.00 in cash payable immediately or be sentenced to serve thirty days at our county jail!“, the matching ‘salt and pepper shaker’ twin to the appearance of the sheriff droned on matter of factly from her high bench above the two standing below her. The pair looking dumbfounded first at each other and then up at their judge. “We don’t have that kind of money on our persons!“, the man griped. “What kind of a speed trap is this place!”, he continued angrily. “And you, sir, are also sentenced to thirty days for contempt of the court!“, came the woman’s stern reply. “Take them away!”
The man appearing as if he were to threaten a physical response to the outrage of this kangaroo court until he saw the sheriff fingering the strap of her holstered sidearm. “Get along and don’t give me any trouble lest you make things worse!” she graveled. The two were then handcuffed and swiftly taken outside of the building though a musty hallway and loaded forth with into an old panel truck that served as the town’s Black Mariah. The ride in the windowless cabin was bumpy and mysteriously long. The two exchanging looks of unease as the vehicle occasionally swerved and jolted them about at a higher rate of speed than they have been convicted of. It might have been a full hour until it came to a halt and the back door was open. Both of the prisoners registering shock when the vista before them turned out to be the back sheds of an old disused looking farm building. The two were hustled along by another set of rougher looking hillbilly types whose gender seemed completely in doubt. A pair of wooden storeroom type stalls with their doors laid open the destination found within the smaller of the ramshackle huts. “Strip off them duds!“, the skinnier of the two snarled. “And don’t bother giving us any of your lip, neither!“, the larger of the two snapped as she slapped the end of her oaken baton bat upon her palm menacingly. Without a sound the two complied. Even when after being pushed individually into a cell they were cincture’d around the neck by a steel collar that attached by a chain to ring set into the corner of the floor. The doors were then slammed shut as the two in their respective spaces tingled from the cool dampness upon their exposed skin. Some old straw and a bucket the only furniture afforded for them to spend the night.
Some hours later in the dead of early morning the man awoke to the sound of his companion sobbing in counterpart within her cell to the low sandpaper tones of the sheriff and the judge. “If you want to be nice to us maybe we can cut some time off your sentence?“, one of the two whispered. “You might even like to meet some of our townsfolk and get to know them. maybe even stay awhile?” Then more sobbing. “Lots of young ladies like yourself settle out here when the come to like it!“, the other voice chimed in. “This is a special place that not too many know about.” “Not local nor the rest of the world!” The man listened carefully not stirring from his fetal position upon the paucity of the pile of dirty straw that he had gathered below him. He didn’t like the lack of sound when the sobbing stopped and a long period of silence was followed by a sharp ring of a chain dropping to the floor. Sensing his own abandonment after many hours shivering himself back to sleep.
A day and another night passed without any nearby sounds of another presence. He figured that his friend had gone off with them. Made a bargain for God knows what price? Maybe just to find a means to escape? Maybe to get away to get help? But, he began to think to himself maybe just to save her own hide and cut bait as far as he was concerned! The level of enmity mutually experienced at the time of their arrest was not encouraging. He couldn’t imagine what might be in store for himself given that the speed trap business was proving to be some sort of ruse for what seemed to be an out of the way colony of hostile Amazons. Was all of this some sort of crude type of recruitment? Early in the morning the door banged open and he was startled awake by the impact of the pile of his own clothes impacting his head. The same pair of Appalachian sisters that had escorted him to his current fate scowled down at him from the portal. “Dress!” He grabbed at the clothes shorn of the same awkward modesty that he had exhibited with their removal two days before quickly clothing himself. What next? Was he being released now that they had obtained a prize of his female friend? But no, would they allow hims to escape with his life as it was too obvious that both he and his friend had been forcefully waylaid? Was there a shallow grave being dug, or had been dug? Maybe his friend had signed some sort of paper saying that she was staying here voluntarily? A pair of hands with a key unfettered his neck from the collar and he was pushed out of the room.
Once again he was prodded forward, this time into the larger of the adjoining buildings. An old barrel shaped Quonset hut from the era of the last major world war. The two with their fixed permanent grimaces pushing him through the doorway inside and slamming and locking the door with a metallic clang. The interior space a junk pile of all manner of castoffs no doubt collected from the surrounding repertoire of agricultural life. Bits and pieces of implements long disused with piles of bolts and tin cans of every size and configuration scattered across benches and rusting machinery. A few family lifetimes of stuff tossed about. Whatever light that was illuminating the dim space coming from six long rectangular ports, three on each side. The man lost for the next chapter in what was seeming a situations quickly running out of clear options with few possibilities clearing off a small stool halfway down a side aisle from the door. A few time getting up from his seat to test the door or attempt to peer outside the grime ridden windows using a box or inverted bucket. His face evidencing deep thoughts within each in turn seemingly postulating the chance of escape that might be afford be guile or some quickly mounted action of violent physical force. The minutes availing beads of sweat upon his brow that became long dried without a sign of any return by his captors.
While rummaging about he heard what sounded like displaced parts being pushed onto others tinkling metallic as they hit open spaces upon the concrete floor. With a start, he wondered if he was alone? He slowed to a more stealthful careful step as he neared the back of the hut paying more attention with each slow step to the clutter upon the floor. A curious plaster mannequin-like shape presented itself beyond a drill press uncharacteristically curled in a very characteristically un-mannequin curled up form. It was a man, or the corpse of a man, or what had once been a man. Leveraged half behind the press and a tall metal paint cabinet it appeared from the twisting crouch that the form had been left in it was attempting to escape something? To say that it was only a chill that ran up and down the spine of the discoverer of this oddity would have been vast understatement. A closer inspection yielded the fact that what had once appeared to be human was now a strange mesh-like thing approximating a human form. Something having pierced its surfaces both clothing and skin and giving it the look of a piece of tiny termite damaged wood. He pushed its middle with a broom handle and found that it deformed falling over in a manner that suggested it no longer had any firm interior structure. A gauze-like thing save the fact that the white cotton gauze part was a mixture of moldering cloth and rotten flesh. He pitched backward from the horror of the discovery and tumbled over an odd assortment of junk. His subsequent struggle stopped short again by the sound of other items in the middle of the room before him once again dislodged. His face now gone dead white drained of all color. Its sudden paleness evidencing his abject fear as he tried to keep still without displacing the items tumbled upon him. What in the name of God was in this hut with him?
A sudden ping of something falling from above hitting his forehead propelling him into motion to jump up to his feet and scramble over the varied debris to another corner of the room. He hopped up upon the clearing of a nearby work table violently twisting side to side crouched like a wrestler ready for action coming from any side. The room about him not responding evidencing only total silence. He trying to refocus his eyes peering into all the darkened shadows betwixt the cacophony of objects piled about. But nothing. The room of junk not responding with any noise beyond the soft echoing of his own heaving lungs. He felt frozen in a manner that he was reluctant to relax from lest the loosening of his vigil bring another assault of some sort. He couldn’t imagine what could be toying with him? Suddenly, the blur of what for an instant seemed a metal spring came at him directly towards his face. Instinctually he swept it away with his arms before it could hit him and he heard the thing ting a couple of times as it bounded hitting other objects before it disappeared into the shadows. To his shock he could not see what entity had launched it directly at him? It had just seemed to launch itself! What sort of madness was this that had taken hold of him?
He sidestepped incrementally in the direction of where it had tumbled by the edge of the table. An unconscious gut wrenching feeling struck him from within. Two other vaguely human looking amorphous masses lay one atop the other on the floor in the dimness below. The object came unexpectedly pinging up glancing his left ear as he folded over in a crouch trying not to fall forward onto the sticky mass below. His hand covering his ear in the next instant as he swung about trying to fend off another attack by whatever had hit him. The room again fallen to absolute stillness he brought the palm of his hand into view. It was bloody from where he covered his ear. A wet hole now notched on his edge under the subsequent exploration of thumb and forefinger. Once again he heard something small stirring nearby as if attempting to find a more advantageous point of attack. Not waiting, he bounding back onto the next surface that availed his rapid glance and then to the next. His natural bout of unexpected gymnastics having left him by a small stack of empty plastic paint buckets, a significant number of which he had just knocked over spread across the ground. Without even thinking he grabbed one intuitively raising it empty side forward towards the nearly simultaneous pursuit of his tiny adversary. The follow through of the motion of his arms slamming the bucket down upon an empty space of concrete floor. Frozen now above the overturned bucket with his tiny aggressor pinging, thumping and scratching angrily imprisoned within. He thought to take a moment’s rest but his adrenalin charged fears not allowing him to rest. God help him if there were more of these things!
Some minutes had passed and the noise within had stopped. He had taken a position of semi-rest with his leg bent the flat of his calf pressing down upon the bucket. He dare not move without some form of exit at hand. His captured insect, the first frozen image of it appearing to be a simple coiled type of spring that one might find in some innocuous repair shop. Something offering no explanation for its presence or the reason for its being or even the fact that it was here of all places playing henchman in the assassination of what appeared a number of others that had come before him. Could there be an answerable why to this insanity? His only thought was the most available exist as far and as fast as he could. He was a mere five feet from one of the narrow windows at the front. If he could find a way to break it open and bust it out then hoist himself up before the damn thing int he container below him could escape there might be a chance? It was a gamble and depended if he could find the right combination of objects nearby. Still kneeling hard he managed to drag a few of the buckets towards him and set them open end upon the floor. One by one he strained to push them towards the window creating a makeshift walkway. To his other side he extended his reach to leverage a plank around and swing it upon the line of buckets. The natural curve of the barrel sides of the Quonset hut left the window glass at an angle that if he could find an object or two heavy enough he might be able to break it. His efforts not going unnoticed by the fiend barely contained below him, the noise of his activity reawakening an accompanying effort by his nemesis. God help him if he accidentally tipped the container and let it squeeze out! The sound of its squirming frenzy driving his heart into a frenzy and his free hand to desperately pat about in the darkness for something heavy. A rock, or a hammer or a brick, just anything heavy enough to shatter the glass. The dim vertical of a rake leaning against the wall on the other side of the window coming into his anxious focus. If he could even find something heavy to place upon this container long enough to use the other end of the rake handle to knock out the glass he could pull himself up and out.
A sharp pain suddenly pricked the edge of his knee. He shifted it to the side slightly to pull it away from the source of the pain. A tiny filament was trying to push its way through the plastic. Its wiggling form burrowing frenetically upward and straightening into a slow curve as if recovering its distended shape into the original that it had started out as on the other side. The man’s heart sunk. The spring was coming straight through the thick bottom of the barrel unstoppable in its hellish guile to convert itself into a makeshift drill. His mind now seized in the grip of a fear that bordered on tvigorouslyhe edge of uncontrollable insanity he watched almost helplessly as it worked its way upwards convulsing and shaking wildly as it pushed through the tight fissure created haphazardly by its own industry. Little by little, its shape reforming into perfect undistorted symmetry as well fashioned as the day it had left its demonic maker’s lair. The man looked up helplessly at his own recent ministrations now seemingly futile. The damn thing would too soon be loose again and he would miss his chance. Tears exploded from his face as he verbally cursed his captors and his girlfriend. He cursed the damn spring as it vigorously struggled beside his knee still pressed down hard upon the bucket. He cursed the sky and the clouds that peeked through the dirty glass of the narrow window just above. A shockwave of his anger shot through him and he rose up suddenly grabbing the bucket in two hands and hoisting it overhead. Looking up he saw that the spring was still firmly if not temporarily lodged in the thick plastic at the bottom of the bucket. Gyrating madly as if it were aware that had been caught off guard by the man’s impulsive gesture. Without another thought the man instantly heaved the bucket with its tiny prisoner across the room and grabbed for the rake. Within a matter of seconds the man was upon the plank over the buckets and hoisting himself into the emptied window frame up and out towards the open blue sky.
Imagination in the midst of one’s struggle for life he couldn’t be sure but he felt another glancing blow from the last limb to swing free from his prison. He ran towards the thicket by a stand of trees wondering all the way what act of cruel fate would next confound him? Would the sound of shrieking female voices ring out in alarm? A shotgun firing double od buckshot at his middle cutting him down in mid stride? He just ran with his mind gone white and blank not stopping the animal within seeking to outrun whatever might seek to stop him.
It was a matter of another day and a night until he found himself near a highway and flagging down a state trooper emblazoned with the emblems of his own state managed to solicit help despite his strange unbelievable tale. The gist of which he was unable to anyone to believe. It was just left off to a report that detailed a thirty year old single male had somehow been the victim of a fever caused by a native plant subjecting him to hallucinogenic symptoms or some such things. The official explanation phrased in a more socially technocratic form of unbelievable mumbo jumbo? The investigating officer figuring privately that his subject had suffered a falling out with his girlfriend the both of them being high as a kite on a new form of uncontrolled substance. The town in question in the next state due north having never existed in the first place. Certainly not on any county map! Not every inexplicable thing related by an oddball ever made the papers anyhow. It was true that strange places where much in the way of unimaginable things might be gathered from shadowy repositories of lost knowledge beyond the comprehension of any conventional mind could exist? Maybe even innocuous objects with hidden powers that for conventional humanity could only be seen as a curse. But it was very certain that the girl that was mentioned was as unlikely as in his confused state he was unable to give a valid phone number or current address! The number supplied by the man now out of service. Who could tell about the level of sanity about a person that was deathly afraid of a common metal house spring?