Sometimes it is so easy to step through that door, the one that separates the realm of the real from the world of the unreal. That door can come disguised as any normal experience or object. Certain times of the year and/or day that door will swing open easier than other times. It seems that Halloween is one of those times that the separation between the visible and invisible is at its thinnest point.
It was one of those nights that seem to be the introduction for so many movies and stories; you know the type of night I'm talking about: dark, no moon, just stopped raining and now a thick fog is rising from the surrounding fields, causing every light to be surrounded with a misty halo.
Betty and Sam, short for Samantha, had been visiting Washington, DC on vacation. After a week of being typical tourists, taking in all the sights and sounds of our great nation's capital, they were now heading home. They had planned on getting an earlier start, but just couldn't leave without one more tour.
The radio had been playing all the popular tunes when an announcer broke into the broadcast. Sam broke the silence that up to this point had only been filed with only music from the radio, "Did you hear that?".
"Did he say that I-74 was blocked?"
"Something about a semi being involved in an accident and the west bound lanes blocked and traffic would be held up for at least 6-7 hours." "Let's pull over and see if we can find a way around that mess. I don't want to sit in traffic for the rest of the night."
Betty began to hunt through the glove compartment for a map. "God, we are in the middle of nowhere."
Pulling off the highway, Sam began to look over Betty's shoulder and both were trying to figure out a route around the accident. "If we get off at route 21, drive south for about 30 miles we can hit this road, which will take us to this town, where we can get back on a main route that will take us home."
"Let's give it a try."
Ten more miles down the road, they came to the exit that they were looking for. As they turned off, Sam made the comment, "Doesn't look like much of a road."
Before them stretched a narrow dirt road, "Are you sure this is the right road."
In front of the car, half hidden by the overgrown brush and made almost invisible by the fog was a road sign, confirming that this indeed was the correct route that they needed to be on.
"Let's give it a try, if it is too bad we can always turn back and see if we can find another way."
Slowly they began moving down the road, the fog was now intense, and closing in on all sides giving the road the appearance of a tunnel, Sam could only see the edge of the road and just a few feet ahead of the car. "Wow this stuff is thick."
The miles seemed to creep along; they couldn't travel more than a few miles an hour. From the ever changing elevation of the road they could tell that they were heading up one of West Virginia's many mountains. The radio station began to fad and do matter how hard they tried there were no other stations to be found on the dial.
Sam spoke up, "Turn that thing off, the combination of static and the fog is beginning to get on my nerves." The farther they drove the narrower the road was becoming, what had started as a two lane dirt road was now down to a single lane. From the grass growing in the center of the tracks it wasn't hard to tell that this road wasn't a well traveled route. The fog seemed to be changing, it was growing thicker the farther they drove, also the color seemed to be changing, from the normal white misty color to a light green, the headlight reflected almost a florescent translucent green.
"This is getting bad, I think we need to turn around and head back. Help me look for a place to turn."
About another mile down the road, Betty spoke up, "There, you can back in there and turn."
"I don't know that looks pretty narrow, but I'll give it a try."
Putting the car into reverse, Sam began to back into the narrow drive. She had managed to get the car off the road and shifted into drive, when that sound that all drivers hate to hear started, that sound of spinning tires. Both girls got out to take look, there is was, a big hole, filled with water, that neither had been able to see when they started to back in. It was so deep that the frame of the car was sitting on solid ground. "There is no way we can get out of this."
With a quiver in her voice, Betty replied, "What are we going to do, we are miles from civilization."
Both girls climbed back into the car and tried their cell phones. Nothing! No signal! Not even one bar. Now things had just gone from bad to worse. They were stranded, with no hope of escape.
"I guess we will just have to spend the night in the car and see if we can hike to a house in the morning." Not the way they had planned on spending Halloween night.
"We had better turn the car off to save gas, if we get cold we will run it long enough to warm up then shut it off again."
When Sam shut the car off, the world seemed to close in on them, with no moon and a thick fog, it was dark, not just dark, but so dark that you could feel it, taste it and even smell it.
After a few minutes passed, Betty was the first one to break the deafening silence, "I'm scared."
"Me too ... listen, do you hear music?"
Betty rolled down the window, "Yes, I hear it too. That means there must be a house somewhere close. Let's see if we can find it."
After the girls had exited the car, they strained to hear the music, "It's coming from that direction."
Slowly the two girls began to make their way toward the music. The music sounded strange, it seemed to be music from the 20's or 30's. With the thick fog, the music had a strange muffled sound to it, sounding unreal, almost ghostly. The girls looked at each other, neither wanting to speak. As they walked down the road, the music grew louder, now losing its ghostly sound and beginning to take on a metallic sound.
Off in the distance they could see pale lights glowing through the fog, the lights seemed more yellow than the normal white that they girls were used to. Soon a well kept driveway appeared turning off the right side of the road. After passing several trees, a large house began to take shape. It wasn't an ordinary house; most people would describe it as a mansion. The music was pouring from it and from every window both music and light was pouring, there seemed to be a party going on.
They stepped onto the porch, noticing that the porch was surrounded with large white columns. Slowly they walked to the door, no hint of a door bell, but there was a large metal door knocker. Sam lifted the metal loop and let it fall; the sound seemed to echo all through the house and the surrounding porch. As Sam started to lift the loop for a second time the door began to slowly open. A tall man dressed in a suit appeared, "Welcome," he turned and began to walk away, "We have been wa..." His voice faded away into the music.
With a quizzical look, Betty and Sam exchanged glances, and then began to follow their leader.
As they came to the end of the hall, the man was standing holding open a very large ornate door, indicating that they should enter, bowing as they passed. Inside there was a large party in full swing. Not an ordinary party, but a full dress party. Men dressed in tails, and the ladies in the most beautiful dresses that either had ever seen. Each had a mask, not the masks that the girls were used to, but the ones that only cover the eyes, the men wore theirs with a string tied in the back of their heads, the ladies mask seemed to be attached to a stick, and they used it to hold the mask in front of their faces. The music filled the room as the two girls walked in. The dancing stopped and all eyes turned to look at the two stranded strangers. From out of the crowd came a young man dressed in bow tie and tails, as he approached the girls, he bowed, took each of the girls by the arm and lead them into the room.
Maybe the electricity was out or maybe it was just for nuance but the room was lighted by nothing but oil lamps like the one that Betty's grandmother had, had at her house.
Sam was the first to speak, "Our car is stuck, we have no cell phone service and we need to use a phone to call for help." The man gave them a strange look, but continued to lead them to a table filled with all types of finger foods and a bowl of punch. He took a glass cup from its hanging position on the bowl, filling it with the pink liquid and offering it to Sam and then doing the same with a second glass and offering it to Betty.
The man had the deepest blue eyes that either had ever seen; they looked like a deep blue pool of still water. He had a friendly smile, although he was a complete stranger, somehow he looked familiar. As the girls sipped their punch, a second young man approached, he was no less handsome than the first. Walking up to Sam, he bowed, motioned toward the center of the room where the floor was crowded with couples dancing. Placing her cup on the table, Sam took his hand and let him lead the way to the center of the floor. He held out his hand, Sam stepped into his clutch. As he wrapped his arm around her small waist, he seemed to lift her off the floor, the couple floated among the other couples.
Sam lost herself in his deep eyes, "Dan, the party is beautiful." How did she know his name? It just seemed natural, maybe he had introduced himself.
.... There is more of this story ...