Six days ago, we thought we were bad ass daredevils, and unstoppable. Today, she’s still buckled in her seat, eyes glazed over, heart not beating, both our seats soiled, and I know I’m next.
It was just supposed to be a ski trip. Lacey had found the resort on one of her Pinterest boards. The Secret Notch was supposed to be a hidden ski resort for only experienced skiers, yet I had never heard of it. This intimidated me; I didn’t want her to think I wasn’t experienced. I pretended I had heard about it, I lied about going there once as a kid. Before I knew it, she booked us a room, and we were driving North for the weekend. We followed the highway, and took an old exit off into the mountains. The roads had less and less street lights as we drove further away from society. I started to grow concern that we were lost, but couldn’t show her that I misguided us quite yet. I didn’t want to expose myself as a fraud. I was relieved as we kept travelling (and I kept reassuring her I knew where the fuck I’m going) as we hit the little ski town. She rolled her eyes, and her dimples sunk as she smiled and giggled, as I yelled an I told you so! That was, until we took a closer look at the town.
It had been the height of ski season; we had already been shocked to get a room. But the little town, that should be thriving with tourists, skiers, and boarders, was dead. The store fronts were boarded up, and looked as though they had been vacated for years. “Did we come to the right resort,” Lacey asked. I told her to be quiet, as I got out of the car. We walked around, and sure enough it was the right town (we had found a vacant gift shop), but everything, even the air of the town felt wrong. We joked about ghosts, and murders, and half-ran back to the car, to safety, to drive back home. We locked ourselves in, buckled up, and I put the key in the ignition. The car never started again.
I spent the next hour trying to call AAA, to get a tow truck to come get us; the first time they hung up, thinking we were prank callers, the second time we couldn’t hold cell service. The third, they said they were on their way (with a four hour wait). Lacey tried to find the hotel, but became even more scared to find it had been boarded up several years prior. We decided it would be best (and safest) to stay in the car.
AAA never arrived, and by the time we awoke, our phones were dead. To make matters worse, from the time we fell asleep, to the time we awoke, there was a blizzard, trapping us in the car. We had no sense of time, limited food, no heat, and no way to call for help. I joked with Lacey, to try and lighten our situation. I told her it would be like camping; the snow would melt, and we’d get the hell out of here in a day or two; we had food and water to last us that long. She was scared of the ghost town, and being isolated. I was scared of the person who answered the phone to take our reservation, and the story behind why AAA would think we were prank callers.
The only thing we could do was sleep; it kept us warm, it kept our minds occupied, and it was the only way we could pass the time without scaring ourselves; or so we hoped. The first nap we took after the initial storm, I woke to Lacey screaming. Human hand prints, with long, wispy fingers covered every window, sinking at least three feet into the snow that piled onto the car. We hadn’t heard anyone outside the entire time, but discovered by looking through the prints it hadn’t snowed since our drive up; someone had dumped snow and packed us in tight while we were sleeping. I told her it was probably some stupid local kids, which she was eager to believe, even though there were no clear signs of any locals, aside from the hand prints. We had also noticed there weren’t any tracks in the snow leading to or from the car. Someone wanted to fuck with us; but by doing so they had at least given us our sense of time back. I figured between our drive up, and waking from the first nap it had been almost 24 hours.
The second sleep, I woke from first, Lacey shortly after. It was hard not to wake up, with all the blinding sunlight reflecting into our car. Whoever left the hand prints had left us with a clean car, and a note on our window; Don’t smash your windows, we’re watching. Our first reaction was to race out of the car, and run to find help, but we were frozen shut. We were too afraid to smash the windows. We didn’t know who was watching, and we didn’t know who would get us. I wish we smashed the windows; at least we would have fought for our lives.
The third sleep I was the only one to wake up. It had only been four days. Lacey was already dead. Her face was permanently frozen in fear, her skin turning blue. Her expression appeared to be one that stared death in the face, and couldn’t bare the sight. Her body should have been preserved in the cold, but I still couldn’t escape the smell of her corpse, her shit, and the stale air of the car. I tried to look away from her. I was able to during the fourth day, even though the town wasn’t much to look at. Night was more difficult. I always felt like we were being watched; but it was confirmed as I peered out as the sun was setting. At first I thought it was just my mind playing tricks on me; hunger, fear, delusions. But then they appeared to me, clear as day. Shadows. Stalkers. People peering out of buildings, slowly, stalking the car. Circling like sharks, then vanishing in the sunrise. I dismissed them as hallucinations, but saw them every time I shut my eyes. I dreaded the nights, and I felt them during the days.
There wasn’t any food. I was hungry. I sunk my teeth into Lacey’s shoulder, only once, and that was the most I was able to bring myself to. I couldn’t bare to think of her being found like that, I couldn’t bare to think of being found alive, and having any first responders knowing I ate a piece of Lacey. I couldn’t bare thinking of her funeral, and having to see her family, knowing her shoulder digested through me at one point.
The shadows were getting closer, and closer. As they came closer, I could see their features more and more. Their eyes were sunken in, much like Lacey’s. Their hands were long, like the prints. They looked as though they were dragging they’re feet, yet they never left tracks. They multiplied before my eyes. I tried to tell myself I was going crazy, but as they seeped closer to the car, I couldn’t ignore the visions in front of me. On the sixth night, I knew they would take my life, like they stole Lacey’s. I wanted to fight them off, I wanted to be brave, but I had no fight left in me after being trapped for six days.
I guess I always knew you could freeze to death in more than one sense. The first being freezing to death, because you are so cold, that your body shuts down, and you actually die. The other being so petrified in horror, you can’t move. I never knew my demise would be the result of simultaneously doing both.