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So I'm a bit of a haphazard mess at times. The sort of person to jump into things without thinking, and to say to myself, "ah well, I'll figure it out soon enough." My recipe for Beet Shoop is one of the more successful results of this lifestyle, maybe because beets are easy.

Sometimes it doesn't work out. For example, trying to trust the roads around here in central Connecticut. If I think, oh, well, I know what direction north is, I can get home from here no matter where I exit the turnpike, sometimes I am wrong. P

This is such a story. Not a long one, but characteristic.

It begins with me leaving a bowling alley along the turnpike. I've got a map up on my phone and I've asked it to give me directions home. It tells me to head south. I think, hold on now, home is north! So I very nearly decide to turn left out of the parking lot, deciding at the last moment to take a right and go south as I have been commanded. And then the phone tells me to takeĀ  u-turn, and I grumble and obey, because that will get me going north, and then it tells me to get onto the highway at a certain point, and I think, oh no, I know how to get home from here without the highway, thank you very much.

Now, at this point I really ought to be obeying the damn phone, because I have alrady realized how close I came to dying already by taking a left out of the parking lot. It's the turnpike, I realized, a highway divided by a metal barrier in the middle, and the road away from the bowling alley goes in one direction. I almost made a hell of a lot of trouble for myself and everyone else on that road.

So I'm shaking in my shoes. Do I obey the phone? No! I hate the highway. And I hate the fact that the phone's style of guiding me home is to constantly force me back to the path I chose even if it requires a damn U-turn. Phooey. We're takin' the back roads home. Never mind that you should never trust a residential road in this state, because they twist, they turn, they put you back where you came from. That happened the first time I took the turnpike home without a map. It also happened in my hometown where the streets are usually straightforward. No, one should never trust a residential road.

But I am foolish, and my memory is faulty. So I head north on the turnpike (proper side of the road now), and turn left at a certain intersection, thinking, ah well I've done this before, I got home from here before, in the dark, without any GPS or map. So there.

The phone tells me to take a left at the T intersection. Oh no you don't, phone, I'm not going back to the highway no sir.

So I take a right.

Now at this point, I'm just a little nervous about the road I've chosen, because the first thing I saw at the T intersection was an industrial building whose lights were off and whose windows were boarded up. As I recall.

I maybe should have realized it wasn't going to get better. Because this road has no lights, and not a single building along it is lit, not even with a front porch light, even though it's only 11 PM. Tall trees bending over the road, and no moon. Creepy already. But I think, ah well, I've driven roads through dark woods before, this will be no different. I'll be fine. I'll be fine. What's that barrier up ahead? Alright maybe I won't be fine.

At a certain point I can see the barrier in my headlights. The road is out. No way through this way. I can't be certain but it may be that the road itself ends there. I think it's only dark woods beyon. And now I'm thinking, this looks exactly like the start of a horror movie. And I know who I am. I'm the kind of person who dies in the first five minutes of a Doctor Who episode. You know, where the camera creeps forward through a dingy set, and some poor sap is puttering around with a flashlight and they say "H-hello? Is anyone there?" And then the camera jumps at them! Panicked scream! Fade to black. Roll opening credits.

But I'm not a complete idiot, and I did a quick K turn and got the hell out of there.

Spookiest thing I've ever seen in a while. The quiet, empty darkness of a Connecticut countryside lane at night. Well. Better hope it's empty.

I didn't look back.

Halloween Horrorquest 2019