In Which I Discover a Portal to Western Canada & Narrowly Escape Death at the Hand of an Axe Murderer

by - November 16, 2014

Everyone forgets how to drive that first bad day of bad weather.

The ground was wet earlier in the day but then the mercury fell and suddenly everything is ice and no one knows how to navigate it.  Traffic is crawling.  It's nearly 9 pm and all I want is to be home, wearing jogging pants, and eating bonbons.

The row of cars stretches out ahead of me, now at a dead stop.  There must be an accident ahead.  I wait in the line, red brakes punctuating the night like lonely Christmas lights on a forgotten planet.

No one moves.  The clock creeps forward.  Has there ever been a night darker than this?

I weigh my options.  Blake Shelton is singing a sad song from the radio. There's no way of knowing how long we might all be stuck here in this endless line of waiting.  I crank my wheel and pull into the opposite lane, heading back the way I came - slowly.  Because we haven't put on our snow tires yet.  Because we're fools.

I take the first right and intend to take the next side road north, miss whatever is blocking the highway, coming out beyond it close to home and no worse for wear.

Seriously, has there ever been a darker night?

I think our headlights need cleaning.  The high beams barely break through the black which seems to float down and consume the car.  I miss the first road.  I don't even see the sign until I'm already passing it.

Not a big deal, right?  The next road will go to the same place, right?  Right?!

So I take it.

It's okay for a minute.  I pass a driveway on the left and a field access on the right.  The road slowly narrows.  The trees pull closer.  The darkness, which I'd been sure was total before, becomes thicker and more ominous.  Snow covers the road but I'm no longer sure it is a road.  There is no colour.  The car lights cut ahead of me, looking as weak as a poor campers flashlight. 

There's no way this is a road!

But my head tells me it has to meet up with the main road at some point. 

A towering pile of logs stretches out beside me, unstripped branches scratching the car and sounding like fingernails.

I've just traveled through a portal that's slammed me down in the middle of a British Columbian logging company!

I bounce in and out of huge ruts.  More piles of logs creep up beside me.  I think I've been driving for three hours.

I follow the curves as they wind to the left and right and I think I should turn back but I just know the real road has to be right up ahead.

I see red lights as I round a deep turn, spilling out on the snow so that they almost look pink.  I slow to a crawl.  There's a truck up there.  I stop 100 meters back.  It's not moving.  The road is too narrow to fit around them.

I tap the wheel and bite my lips and "I don't know...I don't know," and it doesn't matter that I'm talking to myself because no one is there to call me crazy.

The brake lights start flashing.  Is it a message?

Tap tap taaaap.

It either means 'Help me, I'm stuck!' or 'Come here, little girl and I'll show you my chainsaw!'

Tap tap tap taaap tap.

I feel a cool wave of panic.  What if-?  {The blessing and curse of a writer is a ridiculously overactive imagination.}

I flip the car into reverse and pull back into a wider area of the 'road', turning myself around and getting away from those flashing lights as fast as I can.

It's highly possible that I'm abandoning some poor woman who bottomed out in the massive ruts and is now weeping as the headlights she thought were her salvation disappear back where they came from.

It's also possible that I just escaped a trap that lured me into an axe murderer's creepy forest portal...

It takes forever to find the end of the road.  The same reaching branches scratch me as I pass them a second time.  Two deer wander out and stare at me.  Move deer! I'm running for my life here! {If they only realized what was going to happen to their big buck of a cousin only three days later at the hands of this very same car they would either move a heck of a lot faster or they'd stand on their hind legs and slam their hooves through the windshield and into my throat in a huge pre-revenge plot.}

I stop to take a picture because I have enough sense to think I'll probably want to tell this story and when I finally reach the end I see a large post covered in signs that say things like 'No Winter Maintenance Beyond This Point' and 'Warning! Logging Operation'.

Thanks a lot over-labelled road!  Your signs mean nothing in this pit-of-hell-darkness.

{Contrary to what you may think, this is not a still from a horror movie - this is where I found myself - this is what it looked like - and the blur of the photograph perfectly represents my frantic state of mind as I navigated this experience.}

I take the next northern road.  It is actually a road.  It even has a few lights.  And houses.  And signs possessing that rare magic that causes my headlights to reflect off them, making them beautifully visible.

It is the wrong road.  Again.

It twists and turns and takes me well beyond my own destination to the little village that lies just beyond our home.

I am annoyed and flustered when I finally come through the door.

"How was that?" my husband asks, on his way to the fridge to top up his Pepsi.

"Well, I didn't die," I say.

{p.s. November is National Novel Writer's Month and I have joined a global community of crazies who have made a commitment to write every day with a goal of 50,000 words between November 1 and 30. Come on over here if you're interested in seeing how I'm doing...}

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  1. Super creepy.

    Can't wait for the deer story.

    Now get to writing!

    1. Just did! Four words ahead of my minimum! This is tough.

      I'm looking forward to writing the deer story. Truth is way better than fiction - even if it wrecks your car!


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