The phone roused me from of my thoughts about the dilemma I was in. I had been contemplating what to do about the other night.
“Hullo,” I answered in a slurred voice. Sure, I had been drinking. What else could I do in my situation? Yes, it didn’t solve the problem I had, but it took the edge off.
“Ellie, I need you to do me a favor,” Robert’s voice came from the end of the receiver. Robert was a good friend I met in college, but I hadn’t spoken to him in awhile.
“What’s the matter, Robert? You sound upset.”
“I’ll explain everything when you get here. Can you come and pick me up?” Robert spoke in hushed tones with a touch of panic in his voice.
“Well yeah, I guess,” I mumbled and tried to sit up, groping around for the shoes I had tossed off earlier. I wondered if I should even get on the road, but I felt compelled to help if I could.
I rummaged around on the cluttered coffee table, knocking things on the floor, as I searched for the notepad and pen I knew was there – somewhere.
I could feel Roberts’s angst as he sighed into the phone and waited, then proceeded to give me directions that I scribbled down, hoping I could read my own writing.
I managed to find my purse and car keys, grabbed my jacket off the chair, and stumbled to the door. I needed to shake off this woozy feeling and wake up. All I needed was more trouble.
I grabbed a bottle and splashed some on my face before locking the door.
Moments later, I was in the car and traveling out of town looking for the road Robert told me to take. Luckily, most everyone was in bed so there was no traffic. However, I was still aware of my drunken state and tried to manage the car as best I could so as not to draw any attention to myself.
Soon I found myself traveling down the gravel road looking for the old barn Robert said would be there. A half-moon showed dips and ruts in the old road. I tried to stay in the tracks and not veer off to the side, or to the middle where a ridge of grass grew undisturbed. I wondered what kind of trouble Robert had gotten himself involved in, and how that would add to my own problems. I didn’t have a good feeling about this.
I found the whole setting to be on the spooky side and began to wonder why I had agreed to meeting anyone out here in the middle of the night. The phone call did sound urgent, prompting me off the couch, getting me out of my apartment.
Everything looked abandoned, as you would expect it would be in the middle of the night. The hoot of an owl brought me back out of ghostly thoughts. My hand instinctively reached over to lock the doors. My spine tingled, my nerves were on edge, and I felt cold even though it was a balmy June night.
I drove on, inching along, the gravel crunching under my tires as I made my way down the road. Bushes flanked the edges in places, the expanse of field stretched on for miles.
At last, the half-moon provided enough light to silhouette an old barn in the distance. My breath caught, it looked frightening, the only structure around for miles. I thought of a Halloween party years before and took a deep breath.
I inched closer, the ringing of my cell phone made me jump catching me off-guard. Who would be calling me now? I was too afraid to stop, to look at the screen, so I let it go to message and proceeded down the road at a snail’s pace.
The barn loomed dark and ominous in front of me. I pulled up in front of it and then....