The Midnight Hour

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Chapter 4

We all pile out of the car and walk over to the barricade.

“Well, let’s start hiking.” Zac said.

I turn and press a button on my keychain, locking my car. The dense fog surrounds, covering most of the trees along the old road.

“So much for fog being caused by cooling, I’m sweating my ass off out here.” I state.

Zac shrugs. “I don’t know, that’s just what I read, don’t mean it’s true, I guess.”

We step over the knee-high barricade and continue down the road on foot. The air is thick and humid, making you sweat without any real activity, feels like a sauna. We follow the road, can’t really see much else. The road is overtaken by grass growing through cracks and holes.

It’s completely silent beyond our footsteps, real creepy vibe, I don’t like it. I always hated silence, makes me feel alone, trapped with my thoughts. I can’t even sleep in silence, I have a small radio in my room that plays all night long.

Brandy used to make fun of me for it, she said I was afraid of the dark, but I’m not afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of my mind.

“How much farther is it?” Brittany asks, squinting at Brandy in the dense fog.

“Um, it should only be a few more minutes down the road, I think.” She said, looking at her gps on her phone.

Brandy lets out a slight gasp, smacking her phone.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, peeking over her shoulder.

She continues smacking her phone. “Something’s wrong with my phone, look.”

I look down at the phone in her hand, the screen is scrambling, as if it’s getting some kind of interference. “Weird, maybe there is some tower around here messing with its signal, I don’t know.” I say.

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.” She responds, stuffing her phone in her back pocket.

Why do people do that, put their phone in their back pocket, I mean you know that’s where you sit down right? I know I wouldn’t want to crush my phone like that, but eh, not my phone.

We continue on, small figures begin to become visible through the thick fog, mostly just shadows of buildings in the distance. The closer we get the clearer they become.

We finally make it to the edge of the town, its emptiness is eerie, feels like the world after an apocalypse. Desolate. A church is smack dab in the middle of the town, a huge cross placed in front of the paint chipped white building. Chunks of wood are gauged out from the walls.

Small building of what once were businesses lay wasted along the streets, windows shattered out of most of them, decayed under years of neglect. The streets are mostly grass and weeds with small spots of has been asphalt. A few abandoned houses are just beyond the businesses, boarded up and hollowed. A few buildings and houses have collapsed, leaving nothing but wooden wreckage in their wake.

Old cars are strung out throughout the crumbling roads. A large bell tower is placed about a block behind the church, a broken clock under the bell, forever stuck at noon, or midnight I suppose.

“Creepy shit.” I say, looking around at the town that once was.

“Agreed.” Zac states.

Brittany stands there in awe at the desolate area.

“Well, where you guys want to go see first?” Brandy asks, looking at us.

“Hey, it’s your parade, lead the way.” I say.

“You’re the man, you lead.” She jokes.

I look over at Zac. “You’re a man too, you wanna take lead?” I ask, hesitantly.

He laughs. “Pussy.”

I smile raising my hands with a shrug.

“Alright, why don’t we go check out that old church, it’s closest.” He says.

We all nod, starting towards the church, the tall weeded grass whipping at our feet as we go. The dense fog acts as though it can’t enter the town, stopping like a circle around it, blocking it from the view of outsiders. Can’t see in, can’t see out, like a place outside of reality.

The front door of the church is a thick dark wood, a large circular knocker for a handle. Zac grabs hold of the knocker, yanking the heavy door open. The door swings open, letting out a gust of ancient air. The room has a musty stale odor, like rotting wood trapped in a moist basement.

The room is filled with pews, still lined neatly row to row. A pillar is centered in the front of the room, as if prepared for the next church gathering. Crosses are strung throughout, placed on the walls. It’s dim, only allowing glimmers of light through the stained-glass windows that remain.

Spider webs are laced throughout the entirety of the ceiling, so large it looks like a genetically enhanced spider made it. You know something unnatural from a movie that a mad scientist cooked up. I hate spiders, can’t stress that enough, if one touches me, I will scream like a little girl.

Old bibles are ripped apart laying on the ground, as if dropped in a hurry.

“This place is huge.” Zac said, plopping down on one of the pews.

The wood cracks under his weight, giving way, sending him crashing to the ground with a shriek.

I can’t help but let out a loud laugh.

“Mother fucker.” He shouts, pushing off the ground back to his feet.

The girls giggle at him.

“You should’ve seen your face.” Brittany chuckled.

The whole place is falling apart, no surprise the pew gave way.

“No rest for the weary, I suppose.” Zac said, trying to play it off. “Let’s get out of here before something else breaks.”

We all head for the door, pushing back out into the front of the church.

“Did you see that?” Brittany gasped, pointing towards one of the businesses to the right.

“See what?” I asked.

“Something moved over there, I seen a shadow or something run by that building.”

“Probably some stray animal.” I say.

“Wanna check it out?” Zac said heroically.

I shrug, no I don’t wanna check it out, why don’t we go poke a sleeping bear while we’re at it. Maybe I am a coward, but maybe I’m just not stupid.

Zac leads the way over to the building, I trail behind in the back. I figure if anything bad happens they will be busy with them and I can run. Jeez, just saying that in my head sounds cowardly. But I have no intention of dying out here, no thank you.

“Is anyone out here?” Zac shouts.

He is met with the steady silence of the town.

“Hello?” He shouts again. “See there’s nothing out he…”

A snapping sound followed by a deep growl interrupts him. He turns facing the noise as he backs up.

Brandy lets out a gasp, crossing her hands up by her face. “What was that?”

I freeze in place, panic shoots up my spine, paralyzing me. I open my mouth to speak, nothing comes out.

Whatever the noise is, it’s hidden in the deep fog. We all slowly back step away from the building, trying to gain some distance.

“Maybe it’s some stray dog, or wolf?” Zac whispers.

“That didn’t sound like any dog I’ve ever heard.” I whisper back.

“Shut up, it’s a dog.” He whispers, not wanting to believe me.

Another snapping sound creeps from the fog, followed by another blood curdling growl.

I feel a shiver pulse through me at the sound. My eyes stuck as wide as they can go, staring into the fog. Watching, waiting for whatever it is to strike. We continue backing up.

Zac turns to look at us. “Run.” He whispers. “Back to the car.”

I nod at him, as do the girls. We have had enough fun for one day.

We all turn and sprint down the grass filled road, back towards the car. We burst into the fog covered road leading to the barricade. My lungs exploding in my chest, utter fear pushes me forward.

We run as if the noise is chasing us, like that beast is hot on our heels. We fly up the road, finally making it to the barricade. We all stop, frozen, staring.

“Where’s the car?” I ask.

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