Westpoint

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Newly weds find themselves lost in the worst possible place. Comments welcome

Submitted: November 08, 2012

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Submitted: November 08, 2012

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Westpoint

Jamie Stier and Elizabeth Stier, his new wife of less than 24 hours, found themselves lost on the back roads of southern Indiana on their way to Florida.  They had been traveling south on I65, until they came upon a detour 40 miles south of Indianapolis, but after 15 miles, and no turn offs, the detour signs disappeared. 

Now 30 miles later, Jamie had no clue where they were.  He had tried the GPS on his phone, but only got SEARCHING FOR SIGNAL.  Jamie figured if he headed south he was sure to find a highway or interstate that could get them back on track.  Instead of getting back on track, they were beyond lost, and both frustrated.

Elizabeth had leaned her head against the window and fallen asleep while Jamie grumbled under his breath.

If this had been a scenic tour, it definitely would have been worth the lost time, but that wasn’t the point of this trip.  The newly-weds only wanted to be sitting on the beach drinking pina coladas.  Not view the trees and hills of southern Indiana.

Jamie took a long final drag off his cigarette and tossed it out the window.  He exhaled with a sigh and ran his fingers through his short hair.  He took a quick glance at the instrument panel and the gas gauge caught his eyes.  The needle had just dropped below and eighth of a tank.

“Shit,” Jamie sighed and looked back to the road ahead.

Ahead, Jamie could see a bright green road sign.  He hoped it was for a town, a close town.  As he got closer, his heart began to race.  It was bad enough that they were lost, it would be even worse to be stranded in the middle of nowhere, and without phone signal.  When he was close enough to read the letters, he sighed in relief.

 

WESTPOINT5

 

 

6 minutes later, the two entered the town of Westpoint, at least he thought it was a town.  It was only a single road with, from what he could see, two or three smaller roads off the main road.  There was four houses on each side of the road before the large gravel parking lot of a grain elevator on their right.  On the right, across from the grain elevator, was a small church with a smaller playground off to the side.

On the right just after the grain elevator, were two more houses, then a final shinning light in an otherwise miserable day.  A gas station.

Jamie crept up to the pumps and put the car into park and shut it off.  In the passenger seat, Elizabeth woke up and stretched as she looked around.

“Where are we?” she asked.

“Some small place called Westpoint,” Jamie answered, stretching himself.  “We’re low on gas and I’m hoping somebody here can tell us how to get back to the interstate.”

Elizabeth turned and looked to the station.  It was a small unpainted wood building with a glass front door and one window.  The front of the station was littered with old tin advertisements for soda and cigarettes that were nearly faded from sun and weather.  On the left side of the station, she could see a blue sign swinging in the slight breeze.  When the sign was forward she could see the letters RESTR.

Jamie may have been looking for directions and gas, at the moment, her main care was her full bladder.

Jamie turned and looked at the pumps.  Instead of the digital pumps in gas stations across America, they were the old pumps with the dials and shut off arm.  Jamie opened the door and stepped out of the car, arching his back.  There were two loud pops and he felt the stiffness in his back fade away instantly.

Elizabeth followed Jamie’s lead and climbed out of the car as well, keeping her eye on the swinging sign.  She turned to Jamie.  “I have to use the bathroom, I’ll be back.”

Jamie nodded and turned to the ancient pumps, hoping they worked.  As he looked at the dials on the pumps his heart sank.  The price was at 2.25, all hope that these pumps actually worked disappeared, but he still had to try.  He lift the nozzle and flipped the arm, there was a short buzz as the numbers spun to zeros.  He opened the little door and unscrewed the cap, set the nozzle in and squeezed.

The pump hummed to life and he could hear the gasoline splashing down into the tank.  He smiled and leaned back against the car.  Now if he could get directions back to the interstate, this may just turn out to be a better day.

They had lost nearly an hour already, and he figured another hour getting back to the interstate, not ideal, but he would take it.

As the tank filled, Jamie looked around at Westpoint.  It was a small quiet place, he could hear the distant chirping of birds, and that was all.  He couldn’t hear any dogs barking, no motors running, and even the slight breeze blowing through the leaves on the trees didn’t make a sound.  All the houses around were one story homes, well kept lawns, flower beds along the sidewalk, but strangely, no vehicles.  Surely not ever person here worked at the same time.

Jamie was beginning to get a strange feeling about this place and was anxious to get back on the road and leave this place behind.  Being from Chicago, he had never been to a small rural town like this he had no idea if this was the normal way, but he had no interest in finding out.

The pump clicked off when it reached $37.83.He replaced the nozzle and screwed the gas cap until he heard the click.  He walked around the car and headed for the door looking to the left side of the building where Elizabeth had gone.  She still hadn’t come out.

As he opened the door, there was a chime of a bell above the door.  Jamie looked to the counter and there sat an old man in a overalls and a white T-shirt, a faded blue baseball cap sat on his head with shoulder length hair a bright white flowing from underneath.  The man also had a long white beard the reached to the middle of his chest.  The man said nothing, he only watched as Jamie turned down one of the isles and headed to the cooler in the back.

Walking down the single isle, Jamie was only focused on the single cooler in the back of the store.  He was thirsty, and sure that Elizabeth was as well.  He only wanted to get two sodas, a pack of cigarettes, and get the Hell out of here.

The isle ended twenty feet from the cooled and in the empty space sat two round tables with 6 chairs each circling them.  Jamie quickly crossed the empty space and opened the cooler.  Inside the cooler, there was not one popular brand of soda, only four different flavors of one brand.  Westpoint Cola, in blue and white cans.  His choices were Cola, Root Beer, Lemon Lime and Ginger ale.

Jamie quickly grabbed two Westpoint Colas and hurried to the counter.  He reached the counter set the Colas down and the old man leaned forward and began pressing buttons on the antique register.

“I have 37.83 in gas, and I need,” he started and looked to the cigarettes behind the man.  Just like the cooler, there was only one brand, Westpoint Tobacco in the blue and white packages.  “A pack of Westpoint cigarettes,” he sighed.

“I’ll need some ID,” the old man said as he turned and picked one of the packs off the shelf.

Jamie pulled his wallet from his back pocket and retrieved the license.  He handed it to the old man who quickly glanced at it then began pressing buttons again.  The old man handed the license back and there was a ding from the register.

“That’s $40.59,” the man said.

Jamie handed the man 2 twenties and a one.  “Could you possibly tell me how to get back to the interstate, I seem to be a little lost.”

“Just follow this road,” the man said pointing towards the road.  “There’s a highway about 10 miles from here, hang a left and that’ll take you straight to the interstate.”

Wow, that was easy, Jamie thought as the old man set his change into his hand.  The old man’s fingertips brushed the palm of his hand and they felt cold.  A little too cold, almost as if the man’s fingers weren’t fingers at all, but ice cubes.

Jamie shivered.  “Thank you,” he said gathering up his purchase and turning to the door.

He was relieved to finally be back on his way and soon would be back to the hustling world he was used to.  As he walked the short distance to the door he glanced to the car.  There was still no sign of Elizabeth.  He grabbed the handle to the door and pulled.

The door moved back a fraction of an inch and stopped.  Jamie pulled harder.  The bell above the door rang, but the door still wouldn’t open.

Jamie looked back to the counter, hoping the old man would tell him the door stuck sometimes and you had to pull real hard, or lift, or something to help him get out, but there was no one there.

He began to pull frantically, the bell ringing with ever tug, still nothing.  He even pushed, knowing it wouldn’t work, but he just wanted to get out.  There was no lock anywhere on the door, so he knew that wasn’t the problem.

Giving up, Jamie turned back to the empty counter.  “Excuse me, sir, I can’t seem to get the door to open.”

Silence.

“Excuse me….” He started, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him.  He turned to see the old man behind him.  But it wasn’t the old man was different, in a bad way.  His long white hair was hung in thin strands from under the blue hat, now riddled with holes, the beard was as thin as the hair on his head, in the few small patches that remained.  The man’s skin was an ashy grey and decayed away on the left cheek so his cheekbone and three of his teeth shown through.  The eyes were milky white, and the overalls the man wore hung loosely from his body, like the hat, riddled with holes. 

Jamie stepped back, his hip bumping the counter, his eyes wide and speechless.  He wanted to scream, but all that escaped his throat was a silent squeak.

The old man didn’t move, his arm still outstretched and his boney fingers dangling lifelessly from his hand.  “There’s no leaving this place,” the old man whispered.

Bullshit, Jamie thought to himself and finally found a small amount of strength.  He stepped forward and pushed the old man backwards.  The old man stumbled back and hit the door.

Jamie turned to the counter and grabbed the antique cash register.  He lifted it, amazed for a moment at the weight, and raised it above his head.  From inside, Jamie could hear loose change rattle around.

With a yell of effort, Jamie cocked his arms back and threw the register at the glass of the door.  The old man fell to the side as the register closed the space to the door.  Jamie watched as the register hit the glass, prepared to hear the shattering of glass.

To his surprise, there was no glass shattering, it was as if the glass had suddenly turned to a thin film of rubber.  The register pushed the “glass” nearly a foot out, before the strain shot the register back into the store.

Jamie watched dumbfounded as the register sailed back at him.  His last thought was this is going to hurt, just before there was a bright flash of light.  A moment of pain erupted through his head and he heard the ding of the bell inside the register, then nothing.

 

Slowly, the darkness began to fade back into consciousness.  With that consciousness came pain.  There was a throbbing dull ache above his right eye, and a tightness on his temple.  Along with the pain, Jamie became aware of his position.  He was sitting, leaning forward with his head resting on his crossed arms on a table.

Once he came around, he could hear voices.  The first was the old man.  “You know the law, no one who enters leaves.”

“But we can use him to bring more people,” another male voice, younger from the sound of it.

“And the girl has already been changed,” this was a female, older and raspy.

Was the girl the lady was talking about Elizabeth, and what did she mean changed?  Jamie felt a lump his from his chest, what had happened to Elizabeth?  He hadn’t given it a thought about her not being in the car by the time he was done.  What had happened to her?

“I still believe we should use him,” the second man said.

Then a voice chimed in that stopped his heart.  “He’s my husband, I want him here with me.”

Jamie didn’t lift his head, if the old man was any example of what the people of this town looked like, he didn’t want to look.  And if Elizabeth looked the same, he couldn’t bring himself to look at his wife in that shape.

As an after thought, he remembered the fact that the sodas and cigarettes all bore the brand name Westpoint on them in the blue and white packages.  He thought back to the moment they had entered town and couldn’t remember any factories, only the grain elevator.  He began to wonder what else in this place bore the Westpoint name.

Jamie reached into his pocket and felt the coins the old man had given him earlier.  He pulled out the dime and felt under the table until he felt the upraised metal of the screw.  He inserted the dime into the notch of the screw and gave it a turn.  The screw popped loose.

The voices of Elizabeth and the other three became hushed mumbles as he concentrated on the screw.  The screw came out easily.  Once it was out, he let it drop into his palm and held it at his waist, he looked down and examined the head of the screw.  On the head of the screw Westpoint Metal was stamped.

Confused since there was not a factory here, Jamie reached under the table again and began to loosen the next screw.

Just before the second screw was out, the old man’s voice caught his attention.

“Wake him.”

Jamie could hear approaching footsteps, but refused to lift his head.  When the four reached him, one of them laid a hand on his shoulder.  Even through his shirt, he could feel the icy cold hand on his shoulder.  He went instantly numb and felt his heart skip a beat.

Taking a deep breath, Jamie sat up in the seat.  He was sitting with his back to the cooler and facing the door.  The old woman was the one with her hand on his shoulder.  The woman was dressed in a long skirt and a white blouse with floral print and looked to be in her early sixties with her long white hair pulled back in a pony tail.  Next to her was a man dressed in a faded flannel shirt and blue jeans, both spotted with oil stains, he looked to be in his late forties, his rough with stumble and short grease salt and pepper hair.  Next to him was the old man, and Elizabeth stood slightly behind them.

The old man was no longer the ashy skinned nightmare from early, and the other two looked normal as well.  It was Elizabeth that looked different.  Her skin had gone extremely pale and there was a thick red line along her throat.

“We have decided to give you a choice,” the old woman said.  “You can either join us and spend eternity with your lovely wife, or we can let you go to bring others to us.”

Jamie looked at all three a moment, staying quiet.  Elizabeth stepped forward and pushed between the men.  She smiled at Jamie.

“Stay here with me,” she said.  “We can be together forever.”

“What do you mean join you?” he asked. 

“We live forever,” the woman said.

“And how is that possible?”

The woman turned to the men a moment and turned back to Jamie.  “You have to die.”

“What?” Jamie said surprised.  He looked to his wife and a lump rose in his throat.  He loved his wife, but now she was dead.  For a brief moment, the thought of dying to be with her crossed his mind, but the thought of never seeing his family and friends overtook him.  And he wasn’t ready to die.  “I don’t think so,” he said.  “I’m gonna stand up and walk right out that door,” he said pointing to the door behind Elizabeth and the two men.

He could see a tear roll down Elizabeth’s cheek.  He wanted to hold her and stop her crying, but he wasn’t sure it was even Elizabeth any more.

“There is no leaving,” the old man said.

“Watch me,” Jamie said.  He quickly stood, pushing the chair back into the cooler, and pushed the old woman out of his way.  The old woman fell face first into the wall. Before he reached Elizabeth, she stepped aside.

Jamie grabbed the old man around the throat and pushed him backwards. As the two reached the isle the two’s legs entwined and the old man fell backwards.  The old man swung both arms out to try and catch himself on the shelves.

Instead of stopping the fall, he ended up knocking bags of chips and loaves of bread on the right and canned goods on the left.  The two hit the ground and the old man’s head bounced off the cement floor.

Jamie tried to stand, but the old man grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him back down.  Blindly, Jamie grabbed for the closest thing to use as a weapon.  His hand fell on a large can, he had handled enough cans to know it was beef stew without looking.  He lifted it above his head and brought it down as hard as he could.

The can landed a hit between the old man’s eyes.  The can split the skin and blood began to gush from the wound.  The old man’s skin quickly went to the ashy grey and nearly decayed look from before.  Jamie repeatedly bludgeoned the old man until the can was through the man’s face and breaking small chums from the floor.

Jamie felt a hand on his shoulder.  Without a thought, Jamie spun, swinging the can at the person who had touched him.  The can connected with the other man’s jaw with a wet thud and the man’s jaw now sat at a 45 degree angle on his face.

The cold hand slid from his shoulder and he quickly went back to the beating.

“Help,” the old woman began screaming.  “Somebody get in here.”

The sound of the bell above the door ringing caught his attention.  Jamie looked up and saw the door opened.  From his angle, the world outside wasn’t the bright sunny day it had been when he came in.  Instead the world outside looked rust red.  His attention was suddenly turned from the world outside to the two who entered.

The first was a little girl who looked about 6, dressed in a long yellow sun dress.  Her long brown hair was a tangle of knots, her skin was the same ashy grey as the old man and her eyes milky white.  The second was a man with long hair and beard dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans, a large belly proceeding him.  Unlike the others, his skin was merely pale, just as Elizabeth’s.

Jamie cocked his arm and threw the large can.  It hit the girl’s forehead.  The little girl’s head shot back, a small spurt of blood shot straight into the air and landed on the front of her dress before she fell flat on her back.

Jamie blindly grabbed another can and threw it at the man.  The can hit the man in the chest and fell to the ground. The old man stepped on the can and it burst open, spilling out black, mold covered corn.

Unphased by the can, the man started down the isle towards Jamie.  Jamie tried to get to his feet as the man got closer, but was far from fast enough.  The man reached out, grabbed the front of jamie’s shirt and lifted him off the ground.

The man carried Jamie back and slammed him in his back onto the table.  Jamie felt it wobble under him.  Jamie struggled to get loose and ended up turning so the door was to his left and the cooler to his right.

Jamie grabbed the man’s wrist and tried to pry himself loose, his hand went numb from the cold of the man’s skin.

“Stop,” the old woman yelled.

Jamie stopped and turned to his right.  The old woman was standing at the cooler.  Her long white hair was nearly completely gone and what little skin was left on her face was the ashy grey of the others.  Her lower jaw was held on by a thin strand of skin on each cheek, and her eyes were empty black sockets.

Jamie froze in fear.

The old woman opened the cooler and pulled out a can of Westpoint cola and closed the door.  As she walked towards the table, she popped the tab.

“You will join us,” she said.  She reached the table and held the can above Jamie’s face and slowly turned it.  A thick black substance began to ooze over the lip of the can.  A thick glob dropped and from the can, when the glob was inches from his face, Jamie turned his head.

The glob landed on his cheek.  At first it was cold, then it began to burn and he could feel the skin on his cheek begin to bubble.

Jamie yelled out in pain and wiped his cheek on his shoulder, he then felt a cold hand grab him by the jaw and turn his head straight.  Above him, the old woman was tipping the can again.  Jamie shifted trying to get out of the grip of the large man. 

Below him, Jamie felt the right side of the table rise a fraction of an inch and fall back down.  There was a quiet ting of the screw hitting the cement floor. 

Jamie quickly raised his leg and kicked the large man in the armpit.  The man let go of Jamie and staggered backwards.  Jamie rolled to the left.  The right side of the table rose and hit the old woman under the chin.  She fell back against the cooler and Jamie fell to the floor.

As quick as he could, Jamie crawled on his hands and knees towards the door.  Once he reached the old man’s body, he stood and closed the distance to the door.  His hands fell on the cold metal handle and he began to pull frantically.

The door still wouldn’t budge.

Jamie turned to see the large man charging at him and he pulled harder, still nothing.  He turned towards the large man again in time to see him grabbing for his hand.

Jamie let go of the handle and pulled his hand back.  The large man, slower than Jamie, grabbed the handle and pulled. 

The door opened a foot and a half before starting to close again.  A bright light of hope finally entered his mind.  Quickly, he turned his foot to stop the door.  He then took a swing at the large man.  His fist connected with the man’s nose and he felt it break under his knuckles.

The large man stepped back and Jamie took the opportunity.  He opened the door as wide as he could and stepped out of the store.

 

Jamie got three steps from the door and stopped in his tracks.  The world outside was not the world he had left a short time ago.  The sky above was rust red, the sun set on the horizon, and the whole world looked completely decayed. 

His car still sat at the pumps, what was left of it.  The tires had completely eroded away, the passenger door lay on the ground beside the car, and inside the upholstery was gone.  The pumps next to the car completely covered with rust and the hoses were gone.

Breathing herd, Jamie turned around.  The gas station was a pile of bricks, except for the door.  The door stood as clear as it had when he first entered the store.  Through the glass he could see the store just as he had left it seconds ago.

The large man still stood inside, framed by the metal frame of the door.

A moment later, Elizabeth appeared and stared blankly at him, tears running down her cheeks.

 

 

THE END


© Copyright 2018 Derek Stepler. All rights reserved.

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