It’s horrifying, trapped in a confined space with no way out, darkness being the only constant. We thought we would only explore the narrow passage for a while. But as we felt our way around in the darkness, with only the light from our phone screens guiding us, I can’t help but feel that whoever, whatever, that was in control of this god forsaken tunnel had meant for us to open the emergency doors and step through it.
I don’t know what we’re looking for, what we’re expecting. The dampness and the smell of this place is slowly draining the life out of me. The silence was broken only by the sound of our footsteps on the occasional puddles of water. And with every step that we took, I can’t shake off the lingering sensation that someone, something, was watching us.
That sensation was so strong that I turned back several times, expecting to see something, but was only greeted by piercing darkness. But that feeling that someone was watching was unshakeable. It bears down on you. Somehow, I knew that we’re not the first ones here. And neither will we be the last. And this could be the very place where we die.
I just hope Amanda is alright, wherever she may be. Dave and Cecilia are strangely quiet too, walking in front of me. Perhaps they’re caught in thoughts similar to mine. Well, at least they still have each other, if worse comes to worst.
Dave said he spotted a ray of light no far ahead! We’re making a dash towards it and with luck, we’ll find the door which we came in from, and Amanda will be waiting for us outside.
Just when I thought things could not get any worse. We did find a door, painted in red just like the one we saw earlier, but it was no the door we came in from.
The burning smell of tires hit us as soon as we pushed opened the door, mixed with an odour of decaying flesh. The three of us almost gagged when we stepped out. The door looked older and more worn-out than the one we saw earlier, but nothing compared to the sight that greeted us. The dark narrow tunnel didn’t seem too bad in hindsight.
Compared to the well-lit and empty road where we first found ourselves, vehicles littered this one. Not just any vehicles, but those that looked as if they were abandoned a long time ago. It was like a scene from all the apocalyptic movies, where cars laid strewn across the expressway, empty and devoid of life, as if they had their souls ripped off from them. Several had their windows smashed, while others had their paint peeling off.
On top of us, most of the lights were broken, with only one or two shining limply. A few flickered occasionally, gasping for the last breaths of life. In the distance, you could see shadows being casted on the walls from glowing orange flames, their shapes hardly resembling anything we were familiar with. There were also the unmistakeable sound of pained groans and moans, echoing through the walls, mixed together with the putrid smell.
The three of us instinctively turned backwards to the door where we came from, but like the first time, only a solid wall stared back of us. “Fuck,” I could hear Dave mutter loudly, as we stood there transfixed, unsure of what to do, unsure of what horrors that we have gotten ourselves into.
This is probably the last time to be funny, but I think we may have ended up in the highway to hell. Dave only gave me a cold glare when the words rolled off my tongue, as he tried to comfort a now hysterical Cecilia. I don’t blame him though, after what happened earlier. I was only trying to lighten the mood of otherwise a terrible situation.
We decided to check vehicles that laid abandoned on the road, hoping that perhaps one of them could give us a clue of where we were. There were all sort of them on the road. Sedans, trucks, vans and even buses. What crept us out were how for the vehicles that still had their number plates, they were all seemed different, with different languages.
“Seems like cars from around the world end up here,” Dave quietly observed, without elaborating.
All of them also looked as if the owners had abandoned them a long time ago, without any indication of where they went. As we moved from one vehicle to another, opening any closed trunks, compartments and dashboard, the smell and sound hung constantly in the air, not getting any further nor closer.
We were rummaging through our fourth vehicle, an older model of the Ford Mustang when Dave stumbled across a laminated card in the glove compartment. It was a driver’s license bearing the name of Colin Nessbit, issued in 1971.
Dave uttered “Fuck” again, albeit much louder this time round. He slammed the front of the car with his right hand, and Cecilia rushed to his side.
As she was slowly stroking his back, he turned towards us, his eyes staring into a faraway distance. “There’s something I need to tell you all.”