The phone was ringing upstairs. Always the upstairs phone. Always at the most inconvenient times. I spat out the tooth paste, quickly rinsed out my mouth, and sprinted up the stairs.
The answering machine machine caught it, but I picked up it anyway.
"Hello?" the voice on the other end said. "Dan? It's me, Dad."
Oh, my father. What a treat. We did the usual small talk. Ya know, I'm fine, busy with work. All that good stuff. We talked about my job, about his new wife, new house. Finally, the thing all our conversations always came down to: His goddamn cars.
Austin Healeys, Studebakers, Pontiacs. Fire trucks, sedans, convertibles. The list goes on and on. Car shows in this town, in that one. Car shows for countless weekends of my childhood.
"How are the car shows treatin' ya?" I finally ask. I don't really care, honestly. I think he knows.
"Oh, they're good. You know, same old. I actually just got back from this one kinda by you. Small town, real friendly. Mendon, that was the name of it. Ever hear-"
Mendon. I didn't hear anymore of what he said. Mendon. I had tried to forget about the town. Hell, I had even done it. Yesterday, if you would've asked me the name of that place, I wouldn't have been able to tell you. But hearing that name, that brought it all back. Mendon.
We talked a little more and said our goodbyes. I didn't say much. There was a lot on my mind. Or, rather, one thing. Mendon.
Three years. Three long, tired years since I had first heard of Mendon. Back in the day, my college-early years, we'd get high, or liquored up, and we would drive. We were stupid. Truly. But there was nothing better to do. Sure, there were parties. There were girls. But driving all night with your buddies? Nothing tops it.
We would drive around aimlessly. Maybe one night we'd head to the shores of Lake Michigan, the next to Detroit, maybe. Sometimes interstate highways, busy even at 4 a.m., or sleepy country towns. It didn't matter.
Until one night, after plenty of drunken debauchery, we found Mendon. A small town surrounded by forest, nestled in a kind of man-made clearing. Peaceful, quiet. Idyllic, maybe.
And it was, at least during the day. At Night, though, that was different. I wasn't driving that night, thank God. I was off my ass on some kind of LSD, I think. Some hallucinogen. Pretty good stuff.
Have you ever been in the woods when you're high? Probably not. There's so many better things to do. But me, when I'm in the woods in that kinda state, I see eyes. I hear things. It's just the dope, you say. There are no eyes. There's no monsters, but I see what I see.
In Mendon it was worse. I saw eyes everywhere. In windows. In the trees. I was scared shitless. There was something wrong in Mendon, I was convinced. Something evil. I wanted to leave.
But no. There was an old church in the town square. Made of stone, huge wooden doors. You've all seen old churches like that one. All small towns have them. Let's take a look inside, my friends said. I couldn't. I was terrified. The woods were filled with eyes. It might've been the dope. I wasn't sure.
Come on, my friends said. Don't be a pussy.
And then I saw something terrible. I swear, in that second when all my friends eyes were on me, I swear I saw the doors of the church slowly open. They tried to convince me, but I was staying put.
They went inside. I locked the car doors and waited. And waited.
I came back in the morning, and drove up and down the main street. Down the sideroads. Walked through the parks, and through the alleys. Nothing. I searched for hours. Back and forth, back and forth. Soon dusk was coming, and the sun was going down. I couldn't stay anymore. I was too scared.
So I left.
I never called the police, and I never told anyone. To my knowledge, the bodies were never found. I didn't read the papers, though. I didn't call my friends parents. I just tried my best to forget that godammned town. Mendon.
That's it. No exciting climax. No epic showdown with the Devil himself. Nothing, really. A couple of my friends got lost, and had to hitchhike a ride back home. Or maybe got a job out of state and left forever. They're all alright, just playing a joke on me.That's what I tell myself.
But I know better. I still get the chills when I see an old church like that, and I'm still afraid to drive around at night. I go to sleep early now, while it's still light out. I close the shades so I can't see the forest outside my window, and I never get outta bed until the sun comes up.
You might think I'm a shut-in. You might think I'm crazy. But I know what I saw, stoned or not, and I'll never be able to forget what happened in Mendon.