It was most decidedly not a dark and stormy night.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I was supposed to take off work so that I could drive home to my mother's for the usual dinner. But no, this year I just had to go to my friend Julia's house for sweet potatoes and turkey. My mother had warned me that nothing good could come of traveling through Tennessee but I didn't care; I was so excited about new folks and good pie. So late Tuesday evening I started my drive across the great Midwest...
Somewhere in the foothills of Missouri, around 2 a.m., I began to get tired. Rather than spend money on a motel, I figured I could stop at the nearest gas station, fill up, and grab a few gallons of Mountain Dew. I searched each exit for "GAS STATION;" finally one paid off. I took the exit and wandered to the right.
But soon the cleared-off land turned into woods, still no gas station in sight. I started to worry when the road turned to gravel, but summoned all my courage and continued on. Soon the trees were growing right against the gravel, which dipped off about two feet on either side. Then the two-lane road turned to a one-lane road. I was frightened and ready to turn around, but it was too late. If I tried to turn around now, my car would run into a ditch and I'd be stuck in the woods alone, and nothing good could come of that. I continued, exhausted.
I have to admit, I drifted off a few times. But every time I dozed off, the rumble and thud of the tires against the old country road woke me up again. I had to pull over for sleep.
And just when I was ready to sleep in the woods, they stopped! I was driving through fields of old corn and clearings that suddenly turned into hills. In the moonlight I could see huge tracks along the side of the road; surely someone had a tractor running in this direction--probably from that old corn to a--a house! At the top of that hill! I'm saved!
My relief quickly turned to a sense of dread. The house had high windows, and a lone light on that, come to think of it, looked sort of creepy. Hitchcock would have loved this piece of real estate, complete with disheveled barn and peeling grey paint. I heard my mother's words as I let my car keys fall into my pocket. My boots tracked over the muddy, grassy land and I began to climb the hill. The full moon beamed above my head; I was completely alone, like a lost little nodeshell.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
Pause. Breathe. Wait.
Slowly--too slowly--the door creaked open...
A little old lady in her robe and slippers stood in front of me. She seemed angry to be disturbed. "Please ma'am," I explained. "I'm sorry if I woke you, but you see, I was on my way to Tennessee for Thanksgiving and my car is almost out of gas and I'm so very tired I just need a place to stay so I can get a few hours of sleep and I was just wondering if you..."
The door slammed. "Absolutely not," she said through the door. "I don't have no bed or blankets for ya. It ain't safe here, anyway. G'on get back in yer car now before y'all get hurt."
"Oh but ma'am, please! If you're worried about my safety, give me shelter! I don't need a bed--I'll sleep on the floor! Please?!? Have a heart!" The door opened in an identical creak. The old woman motioned me in impatiently and sighed.
The house was a wreck: broken glass and trash and torn up furniture everywhere. It looked like the aftermath of a BAP gathering. Just as I was about to ask her if she knew donfreenut, she put a finger to her lips. "SHHHH! Don't you worry 'bout that now."
We'd reached the room where I was to sleep. "Now I've tried t'help y'all all I can. You'll be right as the mail if ya keep the door locked 'til mornin'. Don't go snoopin' 'round my house an' don't open any closet doors! Too dang'rous..."
What a strange old woman. Really, all I wanted was a place to stay for the night, so I shrugged and looked around the room. Black and white photographs lined the walls, pictures of an old, crotchety man and a younger, more handsome one. In the corner was a pile of old potato sacks and pie tins. I bundled myself into the corner, leaned against the wall and fell asleep.
I hadn't been out for long when I heard screams coming from downstairs. Cries and wicked laughter intermingled with industrial sounds. Glass was breaking, the walls were rumbling--it sounded like someone was destroying the house! I tried to sleep and ignore the sounds.
In my dreams, a pretty young girl ran around with baked goods, chanting "it ain't safe... don't go snoopin' 'round..." I was hopping through the house on a pogo stick, trying to snoop against her will when the house turned into a giant encyclopedia and dem bones started chasing me with a hacksaw! It was awful. I woke up sweating and screaming.
Maybe the old woman wasn't crazy; maybe jp was right, but I had to know what was going on downstairs. I slipped on my shoes and crept down the stairs as quietly as I could.
A quick look around told me the sounds were coming from that closet over there. Step by step, I inched closer and closer to the closet door. My hands were shaking, my teeth were chattering but I had to know. I took a moment to breathe in deeply, collect myself. Under my breath I chanted soy, soy, soy. The closer I got to the door, however, the calmer things seemed to become. Whatever was in that closet knew I was on the other side of the door. "What's going on," I thought to myself, terrified.
I reached for the doorknob.
I took a deep breath and braced myself. Slowly, I opened the old, wooden door.
TEETH. The longest, sharpest, whitest, meanest, most horrible teeth I'd ever seen and they were moving towards me!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!" I screamed as I turned and bolted out of the house. Whatever it was that owned those teeth--I didn't want to find out! All I could think about was how that old woman had said not to go snooping and my feet had taken off.
Running now, out of the house and down the hill, I heard a low laugh behind me. It was chasing me! Chasing me! My entire life flashed before my eyes: my first writeup, my first vote, that time dannye cool!ed one of wus... I'd never see Everything. Never get a homenode picture. Never edit someone's node, never meet Cletus the Foetus. I ran faster.
I could feel it gaining on me. I ran as quickly as I could toward my car, threw myself into the driver's seat and took off. My foot slammed on the gas pedal and soon I was tearing down the gravel road.
The road was so bumpy that I couldn't properly see out of my mirrors, but I didn't want to see what it was. I could hear it well enough, grunting and gasping and laughing that horrible laugh as it chased me. Even now, in the car, it was catching up to me. What creature could run so fast? I pushed the pedal all the way to the floor and desperately tried to outrun the monster.
But then the worst happened. My car stopped accelerating. It sputtered before dying. The gas tank. It was empty.
"Well, this is it," I thought. "That big, mean thing with the big, mean teeth is going to catch me and eat me." I closed my eyes as tightly as I could and hoped it would eat me quickly. The huge creature with the huge teeth and the horrible breath loomed over my car and moved in for the kill...
There I was, sunk down into my seat with my eyes squeezed tightly shut, waiting for the monster to gobble me up just like the old woman had warned me. I thought of my mother and cursed WonkoDSane under my breath for his stupid Thanksgiving idea. Why oh why had I decided to go on this horrible trip? I began to cry and looked up, horror all over my face.
The humongous monster grinned a humongous, toothy grin and let out one last rumble of laughter. It hunched over the car and opened the door, reached in to grab me...
and said, "Tag! You're it!"
I opened my eyes in disbelief. I blinked. I blinked again. I blinked a third time. "WHAT?!?!!?!" Slowly, I looked up at the ugliest, most hideous monster with the biggest, meanest, whitest teeth ever. He chortled.
A game of tag with EDB cannot end well.
The original story was told every Thanksgiving by my aunt. I think she ripped it off a movie or tv show or something, since she's not very clever, but she's never said. Since I'm not very clever, either, I ripped *her* off and adapted the story for e2. Happy Haunting.