Last summer, my family and I were traveling and decided to stop in a small town for the night. Tired, we drove into the parking lot of a well-known hotel chain hoping they had a room available. They did. At first it seemed like a quiet little town with pleasant locals. Almost too pleasant. The town was remote so the service on our cellphones was limited.
Before settling in for the night, we decided to stop by a local grill for some dinner. This is when things began to get weird. Opening the door, laughter and the sound of happy conversation echoed through the restaurant. But the moment we asked to be seated the entire restaurant froze, going dead silent as the waiter escorted us to our seats. Every eye in the room followed us with a dead stare as we proceeded to sit down.
Until that moment, I did not think it was possible to consume food that fast. Although the silence started to fade as new locals entered the restaurant, the atmosphere was still eerie. The locals had an unusual accent which I couldn’t quite place. My parents and I exchanged awkward glances as we quickly paid and exited the restaurant. Clearly, this town wasn’t used to outsiders.
On our way back to the hotel we attempted to get gas from the ONLY gas station in town….. Turns out, they ran out of gas. Even until present, this still strikes me as odd.
The next morning we woke up at nearly half past four AM to discover yet another set of surprises. The power had gone out. At first we thought it may have been an issue with our room or even just floor. But no,after a quick trip to the front desk we discovered the entire town had suddenly gone off grid. As we looked out the window of our room and onto the barren landscape of the American southwest. Things like spotlights, billboards, and streetlights that would normally be lit were completely dark. The light from the moon and stars reflected dimly on the pavement. Tired, and honestly still road weary, we returned to bed until daylight.
Upon waking, we packed up and left as soon as we could. On the road in the town, there was not a car nor person to be seen. It was almost as if the population of the town had disappeared. The only sound which could be heard outside was the howl of the dusty wind. Not an animal or insect stirred. I had never felt so removed from society. It was almost as if my family and I were transported to another planet. Shivers ran through my body as an irrational part of me feared we may never find our way out of that town. Something about it was wrong. So very wrong. It is a hard feeling to describe. Possibly it was a combination of the extraneous circumstances and bad timing. Either way, it was time to leave
Even to this day, a part of me wonders if this town really exists. Although my family was present for this little adventure, t it has somehow been cleverly avoided in conversation as an unexplained phenomenon.
“You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!”