How I Learned That Reality Is An Illusion And The Universe Is Far More Horrifying Than We’ve Ever Imagined

Kids, don’t do drugs. I mean experiment if you must, but just don’t be stupid about it. Here are a few basic guidelines that will help you out with that:

Any high that involves a syringe is definitely not worth it and cocaine is the reason why the 80s was a thing. Marijuana is relatively harmless, though it will also make you hella dumb if you do it too young or too often. So if you decide to smoke weed, remember to pace yourself. Now that we’ve covered the Do’s and Don’ts of drugs, let’s talk about the Probably Shouldn’t But Fuck It I’m Gonna’s! Or, as it’s more commonly known: LSD.

If you’ve never heard of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, it’s basically the narcotic equivalent of taking your conscious mind sky-diving. “Acid” (as all the cool guys call it) elicits its effect on the human brain by flooding it with dopamine, inducing a psychedelic state of catharsis similar in outward appearance to a schizophrenic episode.

But what makes LSD such a notoriously fickle bitch is that the actual high the user experiences can vary wildly from person to person and dose to dose. An acid trip can range from “Truly magical” to “Good god, make it stop!” levels of insanity.

At this point you’re probably thinking: Wow, Joel. You sure know a lot about acid. That’s kind of weird. But there’s a simple reason for this. And it’s fucking ridiculous, so strap in.

At this point, I should remind everyone that I like to blend bits of fiction in with my facts when telling certain stories. For the record, this is not one of those stories: When I was 16, I spent a year trafficking acid for a group of misfit chemists known as “the Beige Family.”

You see, legend has it that the formula for synthesizing genuine LSD-25 has been all but lost to time and if the rumors are to be believed, there are only 15 to 20 chemists alive today who still know how to synthesize acid in its truest form and all of them belong to one of several highly secretive groups or “families” and it’s these families that are responsible for every hit of LSD produced since the late 1970s.

How I came to work for the Beige Family is a story that involves a summer job washing dishes and a hot waitress I wanted to bang and is, for the most part, fairly uninteresting aside from the fact that it resulted in teenage-me trafficking gallons of pure uncut LSD.

The hot waitress’s contact within the Beige family was a guy named Cassidy who looked like Brandon Lee in The Crow if he had been a ginger (and if that description is kind of hard to picture, believe me when I say that it was even stranger to look at). It didn’t help that Cassidy was also just plain weird. For example, when I first met him, I happened to be wearing a red-and-green Freddy Krueger sweater. As soon as Cass saw it, he pointed at me and said, “Cool Christmas sweater.”

I gave him an uncomfortable chuckle, unsure of whether he was joking or not, and replied, “Thanks. It’s actually a Freddy Krueger sweater. But it does double as one of those.”

Cassidy tilted his head, looking confused as he said, “A WHAT sweater?”

“Freddy Krueger. From a Nightmare on Elm Street? You know, the guy with the…” I held up my hand, the fingers curled into the shape of a claw. “…the glove? It’s a movie.”

Cass nodded slowly. “Oh… Never heard of it.”

How the fuck have you never heard of a Nightmare on Elm Street? Never seen it? Sure. The horror genre isn’t for everyone. But never HEARD of it? That’s just stupid.

Needless to say, I immediately didn’t trust Cassidy. But I kept my mouth shut because the guy was offering me the rarest of drugs in bulk quantity and at an absurdly cheap price. The whole situation had seemed too good to be true and when the waitress had first told me she could get “gallons of the most pristine shit I’d ever eat,” naturally I had my doubts.

Those doubts didn’t stop me driving her all the way to Bumfuck, Arkansas and back in the hope that I might get laid as a result. For the record, I didn’t. Though, looking back on it now, I realize that was probably due to the fact that the waitress was 21 at the time and crazy-hot and I was 16 and looked like this…

That is the smirk of a man who knows his way around a dungeon quest.
That is the smirk of a man who knows his way around a dungeon quest.

But when I finally laid my hands on those first two plastic jugs full of acid and felt how warm the liquid inside was, it all seemed worth it. This was the real deal alright. Pure LSD, so fresh from the hippie’s bathtub that it was still warm to the touch.

I had no problem selling every last drop of it and when the waitress asked me to drive her back up there for more a month later, I didn’t hesitate. We kept this routine going for about a year and I won’t tell you how much money I actually made in that time but I can promise that, as a 16-year-old with no rent or responsibilities, I spent every last dollar of it on frivolous bullshit.

Then the DEA busted the Beige Family and my endless source of funny money instantly evaporated. I was left with nothing to show for it aside from a nice computer, a bunch of video games, and a deep wealth of knowledge concerning LSD. I should be thankful I wasn’t up there when the proverbial hammer came down and I am. But if you think that means this tale of low-level narcotics transportation has a happy ending, you probably haven’t read any of my other stories.

Fast forward to December 25th, 2014. That night, my buddy Doyle was hosting his annual Christmas party, a gathering which was sure to include some of my oldest and dearest friends. It was an event that I looked forward to every year and the last person I had ever expected to see there was the hot waitress who used to help me traffic acid.

She had never really been friends with anyone in my circle of peeps and I hadn’t seen her since the Beige family got busted over a decade ago. She friended me on Facebook a couple of years back, but that had been our only real contact until I walked into Doyle’s house Christmas night to see her standing there, talking with some guy I vaguely recognized.

We did a simultaneous double-take as we spotted each other and the waitress shouted, “Joel?!”

I opened my mouth to respond but she quickly cut me off. “Holy shit, this is so weird! Come here.”

She turned back to the guy she had been talking with and held up a finger. The waitress then grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me into the adjacent kitchen. When we were safely out of sight, she pulled a tiny eyedropper from her purse and waved it at me with an almost mischievous grin on her face. “Look what I’ve got.”

The eyedropper was half full and contained a pale brown liquid that looked like bourbon. “Wow, I haven’t seen any of that since…”

“Since Cassidy got busted! Me either! Then today I ran into him at the gas station. He just got out of prison last week and said he was selling off the rest of an old batch so he could afford gas money to drive out to the silo to see his mom for Christmas and now YOU’RE here. Seriously, how frickin’ bizarre is that timing?”

“It’s almost as if the universe was in on it.”

“Right? Plus, I’ve gotta say…” The waitress looked me over and her grin got a little more mischievous. “You grew up pretty cute.”

I could feel myself blushing. Just like that I was a dumbstruck teenager again, struggling to think of something to say to the pretty girl in front of him. After an awkward beat, I finally stammered out my reply, “You are… also pretty nice to look at.”

She laughed and the sound was like music. The waitress held up the eyedropper and said, “You wanna?”

I took a moment to think about it. Tripping involves a certain level of planning; it puts your logical faculties out of commission for at least eight-to-ten hours and as a grown-ass man, these days I generally didn’t have the urge to commit that much time to getting any kind of high. If it had been someone else offering, I would’ve turned them down immediately. But when it came to the waitress, I’ve always had a problem just saying no.

“Fuck it. Why not?”

The waitress nodded at me and held up the eyedropper. “Say ah.”

I tilted my head back and opened my mouth. The waitress dropped a single hit onto my tongue and then held the small vial over her own mouth and did the same. She was sliding the eyedropper back into her purse when the guy she had been talking to earlier finally came in to check on us.

He nodded at me as he wrapped an arm around the waitress’s waist and I nodded back. The guy held out his free hand as he said, “What’s up, bro? Parker…”

I shook his hand and smiled. “Joel. I think we’ve met.”

“Yeah, I work with Doyle.”

“Oh, okay. Cool.”

Parker turned to the waitress and said, “So how do you two know each other?”

Me and the waitress shared an awkward laugh and finally she said, “Well…”

“We used to work together. When I was 16 and desperately out of her league.”

The waitress giggled and then nodded at Parker as she said, “True story.”

After excusing myself from that not-at-all-awkward conversation, I made my way out to the backyard to find Doyle seated around a roaring fire along with another one of my good friends, Chandler (Yes, like from Friends. Believe it or not, I have another friend whose for-real name is Matt LeBlanc. I swear to god!). I took a seat in one of the canvas chairs arranged around the metal fire-pit and told them about what just went down in the kitchen.

When I was finished, Doyle smirked at me and said, “Wait, you’re telling me THE waitress is here?”

“Yeah, apparently she’s dating some guy you work with… Parker?”


“I don’t know. I think that’s what he said,” I replied with a dismissive shrug.

“So…” Doyle raised an eyebrow at me. “Does she have any more?”

“I can ask.”

With an uncanny sense of timing, the waitress exited the back door at that exact moment and started towards us. I turned to watch her approach and heard Doyle whisper, “Fuck, dude, she got even hotter.”

The waitress nodded at me as she neared the fire. “You feel anything yet?”

“No but it hasn’t been that long.”

Chandler quickly stood and gestured down at the folding chair beside me, which he had just vacated. “Here, you can have my seat.”

“Aw, thanks.” She took his spot in front of the fire and Chandler stood there behind the waitress, silently mouthing the words: Ask her.

“Everybody, this is the waitress. The waitress, these are two of my best buds from B-in-the-D, I said, gesturing at my friends.

The waitress pointed at Doyle. “Yeah, Doyle, right? This is your house. It’s beautiful, by the way.”

“Thank you,” Doyle said as he smiled at her and then cleared his throat while gently kicking my leg.

“So they were wondering if you had any more of THAT that you could spare.”

“No, I came to a party full of people with only two hits of acid because I am an idiot.” The waitress rolled her eyes at me as she pulled the eyedropper from her purse and said, “Who wants to get weird?”

After that, we started reminiscing about the good old days and how much fun we used to have when the waitress and I would take our monthly road-trips up to Arkansas…

“Remember how you used to make me sing when it got really late as your way of ensuring that neither of us fell asleep?”

The waitress laughed and glanced at the rest of the group as she said, “It was so effective because not only is Joel completely tone-deaf but the only songs he knew all the words to were Rocket Man and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air intro-rap.”

“Hey! At least I had the decency to butcher GOOD songs, Miss Knows-Every-Word-To-The-Complete-Works-Of-Usher.”

Everyone groaned at this and the waitress shouted, “Oh, screw all of you. Usher is an artist of enormous talent and unparalleled abs.”

We had a good laugh at this and while we were doing so, the waitress suddenly placed a hand on my thigh and squeezed. I glanced at her and saw that she was staring down at her hand, which was still resting on my leg. It seemed as if the gesture had been a momentary reflex that surprised her as much as had me.

The waitress raised her eyes to meet mine and I gave her a questioning smirk. She smiled back at me and retracted her hand as she said, “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. That was the most action I’ve had all month.” The waitress scoffed. I pointed a thumb back over my shoulder as I turned toward the house and said, “I’m gonna grab something to drink. You…”

…want something? The words lodged in my throat as I looked back and saw Parker leaning against the side of Doyle’s house. He was looking directly at me and no doubt had just witnessed the waitress groping my leg.

“Well, this is awkward,” I mumbled out of the side of my mouth.

The waitress turned to follow my gaze as she said, “Why?”

“I think your boyfriend was spying on us.”

“My BOYFRIEND?” She glanced back at Parker and then looked at me as she said, “I have no idea who that is. I thought you knew him.”

“But…” Beyond confused, I turned back to look at Parker. It was then that the drugs kicked in.

I began to glide away from the light of the fire and into the darkness where he was waiting. As I neared, Parker’s eyes seemed to shrink, becoming two shiny black marbles set into the front of his face. His nose devolved into something resembling a snout and his teeth slid out of sight, retracting into his gums as Parker nodded at me and said, “Behold…”

We were only inches away from each other now, nearly nose-to-snout, as Parker gestured toward the window to his left and I glanced inside the house. Doyle’s massive living-room, which had been brightly lit and full of people a few minutes ago, was now shrouded in darkness and completely void of human life.
“Where is everyone?”

“They’re in there. Your friends are merely experiencing time on a different plane than us. Everything is moving much slower in there; a second out here being roughly a year to them. Do you see?”

Parker slowly extended a finger that must have been twenty inches long toward the window and I turned to look back inside just in time to glimpse something moving across the den, a shimmering transparent something like smoke through a beam of sunlight: there and then gone again.

“I have sealed all the exits. They do not age and don’t know why. All sources of food have long since been depleted and they have resorted to eating their own babies to survive. They’ve been watching you creep towards this window for centuries now, debating its significance.”

For one brief horrific moment, I glimpsed a face at the window. It was a glimpse of something that used to be human. I jumped back and glared at Parker as I whispered, “What are you?”

He smiled at me and paused before finally replying, “Merely the vessel.”

“The fuck does that mean?”

Parker slowly opened his mouth until it was wide enough to dislocate his jaw. He began to screech in short bird-like squawks, his arms and head twitching spastically as he lurched toward me in tiny awkward steps that made me think of an old wind-up toy.

I began to stumble back, towards the safety of the fire, and tried to scream but couldn’t quite get the sound out of my throat. From behind me I heard the waitress shout, “What the hell?!”

I felt Doyle pull me out of the way and saw Chandler snatch a poker from the fire. He pointed it toward Parker and screamed, “What’s wrong with his face?!”

“You see that too?!” I shouted, genuinely surprised. I had honestly thought I was just hallucinating up until now but the fear on my friend’s face was enough confirmation that this was actually happening.

Parker was still screeching like a startled bird as he flung his spastically twitching arms at Chandler, who responded by whacking him with the poker. The blow sent Parker flailing into the roaring fire and the flames consumed him like he had been made of dry tinder as Chandler suddenly shouted, “SHIT, my bad!”

Parker’s screeching only grew louder as he began to pull himself out of the fire. I heard the waitress scream, “What the fuck?!”

“Quick! Everybody inside!” Doyle yelled and waved for us to follow him toward the house.

“Wait, no…” I started to shout but then Doyle saw the problem for himself when he spotted the pale inhuman figures staring out at us from the living room window. The next couple of minutes went by in a very intense blur…

I can remember Parker engulfed in flames and stumbling toward us as he screamed, “DO NOT HIDE! IT WILL FIND YOU!”

Then we were sprinting down the dark alleyway that ran along the side of Doyle’s house but I could still hear Parker screaming behind us…

Then I was in the backseat of Doyle’s car, sitting beside the waitress who was staring out through the back windshield and looking on the verge of tears. Chandler was riding shotgun upfront and scanning through the radio stations, finding nothing but static.

“Somebody please call nine-one-one!” This was Doyle, who was currently driving and looking utterly bewildered.

“Sure,” Chandler said as he pulled out his cell and began to dial. After a pause, he lowered the phone and tapped the screen. “It’s busy.”


“I got a busy signal.”

Doyle suddenly slammed on the brakes, bringing his car to a screeching halt. “Where the fuck are we going?!”

We were on the interstate somewhere, headed north. They’re didn’t seem to be another car in sight. After a beat, Doyle found my reflection in the rearview mirror and then smiled as he said, “Oh wait, you know what?”

He began to scream. Doyle kicked open the driver’s side door and started sprinting across the five-lane highway while tearing off his clothes and shrieking at the top of his lungs.

“Shit,” Chandler muttered as he quickly unbuckled and hurried out of the car to chase after Doyle. I started to do the same but then the waitress grabbed me by the arm and when I turned back to look at her, she shook her head in a pleading gesture.

I turned back to see Doyle hurtling the center divider, completely naked now and seemingly beyond reason as Chandler continued to chase after him. Doyle reached the far end of the interstate and then scaled a short cement slope. There was an overpass just up ahead of us and Doyle was now digging around in the space beneath one end of the short cement bridge.

“We should go. I don’t like this.”

I turned to the waitress and shook my head as I said, “I can’t just leave my friends out he…”

She cut me off as the waitress suddenly pointed, shouting, “Oh god, look!”

I turned to see Doyle and Chandler, who was now naked as well, pulling a homeless man out from beneath the overpass. The man was squirming against their grasp, his face a bloody mess. Chandler spotted us staring at them and grinned, revealing a mouthful of red-stained teeth as Doyle continued to chew on the homeless man’s mangled nose.

“Yeah, fuck that…” I quickly climbed into the front seat and floored it, speeding past them as quickly as I could.

“What the fuck is happening?!”

I found the waitress’s wide eyed reflection in the rearview mirror and said, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

“It’s gotta be the acid. Something wrong with the batch…”

“Then how come we’re okay?”

“We are?”

“Yeah, I mean do YOU have any urge to strip naked and chew on a homeless man’s face?”

“No but…”

“But WHAT?”

“I think we should go see Cassidy at the Silo. He’ll know what to do. At the very least, I can ask for my money back.”

I nodded and said, “Sounds like a plan.”

And at that point, it really did. It was so perfectly logical that the solution to this epically bad trip was to trace it back to its source. The idea that something otherworldly might’ve been drawing us to Cassidy never once crossed my mind, probably because I was tripping balls.


After the Cold War ended, the U.S. government was left with an extensive collection of superfluous missile silos which they had recently installed all across the less populated stretches of middle America. Most of the silos were decommissioned and sold, sans-missile, to buyers in the private sector as a way of recouping some of the exorbitant cost.

Each silo went for roughly a million bucks and their purchase included two square miles of land with a large missile-chamber buried fifty feet below its surface, plus three floors of subterranean bunker. See, each of these silos was designed to house more than forty people at a time and came fully furnished with all of the requisite amenities: plumbing, lighting, air-conditioning, dormitories, and even a fully equipped entertainment-center, complete with 70s era electronics.

The Beige Family owned one such silo and had used it as a secure buy-location/hideout back when I was still doing business with them. This particular installation was roughly a seven hour drive from New Orleans, but that night we seemed to make it there in less than two.

Figures danced in the surrounding darkness as I slowed and started to steer the car across the vacant field that lead to the compound’s surface entrance. I thought it was just the acid at first but then a large naked man cartwheeled out of the shadows and across the dirt road, our headlights suddenly illuminating him mid-cart with his shriveled junk twirling in the night….

And then he was gone again, swallowed by the darkness before I could even begin to swerve out of the way. The waitress let out a shriek as the man shot past us and her eyes followed him back into the shadows. That’s when she saw the dancing darkness for herself. “Who are they?”

“Other tripping kids,” I said with an absent shrug and then slammed on the breaks, bringing the car to a screeching halt as a realization suddenly hit me. “Something was leading them here… Something was leading ALL OF US here.”

“What should we do?”

I glanced outside and quickly shifted the car into reverse, but it was already too late. The pulsating darkness suddenly took the shape of a hundred naked tripping kids who swarmed the car and began to beat on the windows, most of them screaming, “DO NOT HIDE! IT WILL FIND YOU!”

The waitress and I exchanged one last terrified look and then safety glass exploded against the back of my head and I was promptly knocked unconscious…

I was a knight stranded in the middle of a storm-ravaged ocean. There was no land in sight and my heavy armor made it almost impossible to stay above the water’s churning surface. I was only able to glimpse the princess for a moment, off in the distance, clinging to a jagged piece of debris as the tide carried her farther and farther away. I struggled to keep my head above the water but it was no use. A massive whirlpool began to form to my left and that’s when I finally decided to stop fighting and simply let myself drown like a man…

I awoke to a noise I had only heard once before, more than 10 years ago, but it was a sound I still recognized as soon as I heard it. The roof of the silo’s missile-compartment was opening. I fought an initial wave of wooziness and forced myself to climb out of the car.

The compartment’s retracting roof was about 20 yards to my left. As the massive circular ceiling withdrew into a hidden slot in the ground, orange light spilled out, illuminating the adjacent bunker’s surface-entrance just as its wide iron door began to swing open.

I ducked behind Doyle’s car when I heard the iron door squeaking open and was out of sight by the time Cassidy exited. I quietly laid down flat on my stomach so that I could see beneath the car, which was currently positioned between me and the empty missile-compartment, and watched as Cass dragged a woman’s naked corpse toward the large opening.

The dead girl’s head hung at an angle that suggested a snapped neck. Her eyelids and lips had been surgically removed so that her face seemed to be frozen in an expression of grinning horror. It wasn’t the waitress; I could see that now and let out a relieved sigh.

Cassidy mumbled something to himself while placing the woman’s dead body next to a pile of nude corpses that had been similarly mutilated (sans eyelids, etc.) and then he began strip naked.

Once he was finished, the now fully nude Cassidy dragged one of the corpses off of the pile and over to the edge of the open missile compartment, where a series of nooses had been secured to the ground surrounding the wide circular shaft. Cassidy slipped one of the nooses around the corpse’s neck and then tossed it over the side.

The dead body dropped down into the vacant compartment with a distinct THUD as it crashed against the inside wall. Cass began to chant as he repeated the process with another body from the pile. The seemingly archaic language that came out of his mouth sounded as if it were almost exclusively comprised of hard consonant sounds.

Cassidy continued this process of dragging and hanging until he had rounded to my side of the missile compartment. He was about to drape the rope around his fifth corpse when the not-quite dead guy lying beneath him suddenly wrapped a hand around Cass’s neck.

An unphased Cassidy casually reached into the back of his waistband and pulled out a large serrated hunting knife. As he raised the knife to stab the dying man, I sprinted out from behind the car and front-kicked Cassidy into the missile compartment. I don’t know why; it just felt right.

If I have one regret that I carry to my grave, it will be that I didn’t shout “This is SPARTA!” while I was doing it. Fitting pop-culture references hadn’t exactly been at the forefront of my mind that night, though. All I could think in the moment was: Holy shit, I just kicked a man into a four-story hole in the ground!

Cassidy managed to grab onto the railing of a small observation-deck jutting out from the second floor but he was falling too fast by then and was immediately torn away from the railing by his own momentum before tumbling the rest of the way down. He hit the compartment floor with such velocity that his limp body actually bounced before finally rolling beneath a row of dusty control-panels.

Cassidy had been conducting some sort of ritual; that much I gleaned from all of the chanting and corpse desecration. Still, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I looked down at the ground floor of the missile compartment. It was hard to even know what I was seeing at first and it’s still not the easiest thing to put into words, so bear with me here…

Four headless torsos had been sutured together at the waist and propped up on their bent arms. A third arm had been attached to each torso’s neck-stump. The arms acted as legs holding up a pedestal created by the sutured-together bellies of the four torsos. There was a gore-covered spine jutting out from the center of this “pedestal” and a bald man’s decaying head was impaled upon the spine. The man’s eyelids and lips had been removed, just like the rest.

When I was finally able to pull my eyes away from this macabre totem, I spotted the waitress strapped to a metal gurney positioned directly beside it. I said a silent prayer of thanks that Cassidy hadn’t landed on her when I kicked him down there and quickly checked on the guy he had almost stabbed, but the man had gone limp again and didn’t seem to be breathing.

I hustled over to the access-ladder bolted to the inside of the chamber and then started to climb down. As I descended the ladder, I noticed that someone (I assume Cassidy) had painted a series of primeval pictographs down one side of the chamber’s circular wall.

The images seemed to tell a story that was, from what I could decipher, about a giant hand that came down from the sky to eat a girl with crooked boobs and then the sun came up and everyone started dancing.

I finally reached the chamber floor and sprinted over to the gurney, making a conscious effort to not look at the fucked up thing beside her as I began to unstrap the waitress. I tried to shake her awake but it was no use. I checked to make sure the waitress was still breathing and realized that Cassidy must have sedated her for the ritual.

A hysterical cackling erupted behind me, followed by Cassidy’s shrill voice saying, “You ignorant child… it doesn’t matter if I finish the ritual or not! It already sees her! Nothing you do can stop it now!”

Cass was lying on his back beneath a nearby control panel, one twisted leg jutting up into the air and his mouth caked in blood. He tried to cackle again and coughed up a mouthful of red.

“We’ll see about that,” I muttered as I shoved one arm beneath the waitress’s back and the other beneath her knees and then lifted her off of the gurney.

“I can show you if you like,” Cassidy said in a mocking tone. He began to chant and I froze. The totem-head’s lipless mouth opened and it emitted a low moan. Its wide lidless eyes scanned the room before fixing on me as Cassidy’s chanting grew louder. Some part of me was vaguely aware that the corpses hanging from the opening above us were now chanting along with him…

A sudden surge of adrenaline snapped me out of my stupor and I tossed the waitress over my shoulder, switching her to a one-arm “fireman’s carry” as I turned and jogged toward the door leading to the access-stairs. Everything was moving in slow-motion now, a side effect of the adrenaline.

I can remember hearing something big shuffling behind me as I entered the stairwell…

And I can remember pausing for one brief moment to glance back…

And I can remember Cassidy’s murder-totem, crawling towards us with the grace of a daddy longlegs…

Motivated by sudden and absolute terror, it took me roughly seven seconds to get both the waitress and I up four flights of stairs. My next clear memory after that was pulling open the door to Doyle’s car and placing the unconscious waitress into the passenger seat. As I sprinted around to the driver’s side I glimpsed a large bulky shape emerging from the open missile-compartment, but by then, I was all out of fucks to give.

I slid in behind the wheel and started the engine, buckled the waitress and myself in and then I floored it out of there, our car trailing a cloud of dust. I reached the highway a moment later and ramped over the small dirt mound bordering the road before landing with enough force to finally wake the waitress and she sat up screaming, “Am I dead?!”

I couldn’t help but laugh at this. The waitress glanced around and then glared at me as she said, “Joel, what did you DO?!”

“I saved the goddamn day, that’s what!” I replied with a smirk as I leaned on the gas and we accelerated away from the silo.

The waitress shook her head and glanced behind us. “No! You have to bring me back! Right now!”


“It has to find me or this will never end! You have to bring me back!”

I scoffed and said, “No way! That is fucking crazy talk. I’m no…”

I was cut off by the waitress suddenly shoving the passenger side door open. She began to unbuckle her seatbelt and I quickly slammed on the brakes, reaching a hand out to stop her as I reflexively shouted, “WHOA!”

“I’m the one it wants and it will burn down the whole world to get me! I can’t let that happen!”

“Why does it want YOU?”

“Because…” The waitress looked up at me through watery eyes and said, “I’m the one that betrayed him.”

I gave her a confused look but was suddenly sure I knew exactly what the waitress meant even before I said it. “Betrayed who?”

“Did you ever wonder why we didn’t get into trouble when Cass’s family got busted?” The waitress glanced back in the direction of the silo and a tear escaped the corner of her eye as she continued, “I’m the one that got them busted… to save my own ass… In exchange for immunity for the two of us, I gave up Cassidy.”

According to what Cass told the waitress prior to sedating her; he knew she had been the one to snitch on him even before the cuffs were on his wrists and he had been plotting his revenge ever since. It was all he could think about while was sitting in court, waiting to be sentenced.

Cass had let his imagination run wild with the possibilities… all of the unspeakable things that he wanted to do to her… Then, as luck would have it, Cassidy’s cellmate was really big into the occult. He claimed to be a powerful dark priest, the kind of guy who could summon elder gods to do his bidding. From there, you can put the rest of the fucked-up puzzle pieces together for yourself.

“And it’s not gonna stop… None of this is going to stop until it finds me.” Tears continued to stream down the waitress’s face as she gestured at the car’s clock and said, “That’s why it’s 10 in the morning and still pitch black outside… why we didn’t see another car the whole way here and why every radio station is static… If you ever wanna see another sunrise, I suggest you do what I said and drive me back there immediately.”



“Fuck sunrises,” I said, trying to sound badass as I shifted back into drive and we continued away from the silo. I grinned at the waitress and winked but a nagging doubt had already begun to gnaw at the back of my mind. She returned my grin with a forced smile as the waitress replied, in a placating tone…

“My hero.”

“Damn right!” I nodded and sat up straight, my eyes trained on the road ahead of us and trying to look confident. I wasn’t fooling anyone. The waitress remained silent for another moment and then finally she started to say something…

When the glove-compartment suddenly flew open and three pale arms reached out to grab her, violently yanking the waitress back through the small space and out of sight before I could even react. I stood on the break, bringing the car to yet another screeching halt in the middle of the highway as the glove-compartment slammed shut behind her with a THUNK and I sat there glaring at the tiny closed door for what felt like forever.

Eventually, I had to hold up a hand to block the early morning sunlight from my eyes and that’s when I realized that the sun was out. I jumped as a song began to blare from the radio; Supertramp’s Goodbye Stranger. So that was working again too. I switched off the radio and started to drive home.

I got almost all the way there before remembering that I was in Doyle’s car. After a bit of internal debate, I decided to park it at his house and drop the keys in the mailbox as quietly as possible. As bad as it may make me look to admit this, I really wasn’t in the mood to answer any questions from Doyle’s girlfriend, who was no doubt in full freak-out mode by now.

Unfortunately, Doyle’s mailbox was a heavy brass number mounted to his front porch and it let out a loud squeal as I lifted the lid and placed his keys inside. I was turning to leave when the front door swung open and a fully-clothed Doyle leaned out to say, “Joel?”

“Hey… Glad to see you’re feeling better!”

Doyle furrowed his brow at me. “What do you mean?”

“That depends. What’s the last thing you remember about last night?”

Doyle gave me a lewd smirk as he replied, “If you’re asking whether or not I remember who you left here with, the answer is yes. I do. So you finally got to nail What’s-Her-Face? You lucky fuck.”

I thought about telling him the truth but had no idea where to even begin, so I simply said, “She does have a name, you know. It’s…”

Since then, I haven’t been able to remember. And it’s not just the waitress’s name that I forgot. I can’t even picture what she looked like anymore. Her smile, whether she was a blonde or a brunette…

My memory of that night is pretty hazy, to say the least, and maybe it was simply because I had been tripping balls at the time but that still doesn’t explain why I can’t remember the hair color of a girl I had known for over 10 years. Eventually, I broke down and tried telling Doyle about all of this a week or so later. His response?

“What waitress?”

So this is me writing all of it down before I can forget anything else. No worries if you don’t believe me. I like to write crazy-ass stories and this is nothing different in that regard. I don’t blame you for having your doubts.

Besides, something tells me that by this time next year, I’ll believe that I made it up too. Though if I had, I’d like to think it would’ve had a happier ending. At least one where me and the waitress finally got to do it…

Afterwards, we would drive off into the complete lack of a sunrise and eventually find a little place of our own out in the woods somewhere. We’d let the world end around us while we lived off the land and had mind-blowing sex every night until finally some jealous elder god had to tear the universe out from under us…

But as it stands, I can’t even remember her face. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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When Joel isn’t writing creepy-ass short stories, he can be found scripting and acting in subversive comedy sketches on YouTube. You can follow Joel on Twitter or support him on Patreon, if you’re into that.

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