Welcome to Part 2. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, go read it first. It’s here:
I’ve never written fanfiction before. I’ve never had the motivation. After the great summer I’ve had thanks to David Lynch and Mark Frost’s fantastic creation, however, I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the world of Twin Peaks. I came up with an idea for a short story about something that might happen and decided to just run with it.
So, this is completely unofficial. It is just my attempt to have a peek into the world that they created. I hope they don’t mind. This is just for fun and completely free. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you’re new to the world of Twin Peaks, I hope it’ll inspire you to seek out the real thing. If you’ve been a fan for as long as I have, then I hope you feel the love I have for that world in what I’ve written.
All the best,
PART 2 – “Someone in there with you?”
Interstate stretched out beneath the wheels of the rental car; miles and hours of it punctuated only by the occasional rest area or strip mall. It was midnight when I reached Spokane and made the switch to Highway 2. Tiredness was overtaking me so I rolled down the window, admitting the deep aroma of the tall firs that lined the road. It was only a momentary relief, however. The night air, cold as it was in the closing days of October, was also starved of oxygen. It was as if the mighty trees surrounding me were taking a collective inhalation of such scale that it made the remaining air close to toxic.
The lines of the highway drew on and on, familiarity broken periodically by a car coming the other way, hard halogen lights stinging my eyes. Eventually, the woods receded a little on either side and I rolled the car into a little clearing of a place called Lewis Fork. It was very late and the selection of places to eat was severely limited. Severely limited meant one place: a garish nightmare of a franchise restaurant called ‘Norma’s Double R’.
It was a great relief to stamp on the parking brake and climb from the car. I stretched my arms high above my head and then retrieved my jacket from the back seat. Finding a booth in Norma’s, I ordered some coffee and pie from a waitress whose name tag introduced her as Harriet. After the sugar and caffeine hit that I hoped would perk me up a little, I put my feet up on the seat opposite and slid back in the chair, gazing at the ceiling. The pie was a disappointment: that mass-produced, supermarket taste so prevalent in places like this. My eyes, itchy from tiredness were eventually drawn to a worn sign above the door. This hadn’t been Norma’s forever, it seemed. The old sign thanked people for visiting the Lamplighter Inn. I wondered how it had slipped into Norma’s hands, if there even was a Norma. If there was, did she know how her name was being used to sell garbage like this. Feeling no more desire to sit still (and stirred on by the returning sense of purpose the caffeine gave me) I paid up, grabbed another coffee and fired up the car for the last leg of the journey. Two more hours of driving would bring me to wherever it was that these numbers were leading me.
That was it, after all. Something was leading me. Like so many other times in my life, I was being led and I seemingly had no way to escape the leash. It had taken me all the way from this country to the other side of the Atlantic when I was just a boy; it had led me from job to job and place to place in the south of England. Now it had led me back here to the other side of the country of my birth. Lucky winner: that was me. I didn’t believe anyone actually won those kinds of competitions. Text this number, they said. Now I was barrelling into the darkness at the behest of some other force in the Universe, a galactic pawn. Maybe the road would reveal some purpose of my own for once, I thought. If I followed long enough, maybe I would get to a place where I felt like I could make my own decisions. Daddy always used to say, “It’s now or never.” Before he left, that is.
It was after two in the morning when I entered the town of Twin Peaks. After filling up at a gas station and paying the elderly guy, who seemed disconcertingly happy given the time of night he was working, I rolled my way through the central drag of the town and eventually pulled up outside a neon-lit bar to look at exactly where the Sat Nav was taking me. There was music coming from inside; a surprise given it was Sunday but then I figured it was that time of year. Halloween was a lot bigger deal out here than it was back in England. It was a soft voice that sang through the night air, a dreamy reworking of Blue Moon that took me out of myself for a few minutes as I listened. It grew momentarily louder as the doors opened and a party of revellers emerged into the chilly air. Laughing and hanging onto each other, they made their way off into the night.
A man, strangely apart from the others, stood by the door looking in my direction. Short, immaculate, greying hair sat above a frowning, contemplative face that looked right into me. I was sure he hadn’t been there before. He started toward the car, taking a hand from his coat pocket and pointing at something over my shoulder. As he drew nearer and nearer, I wanted to follow the finger but all the time I had the most intense dread of what I would see. Behind me, in the darkness, I could feel something that would tear the life out of me through every pore. It was the feeling of something old and mildewed that was just out of sight; a shiver on the back of my neck, evil’s breath that I couldn’t turn around to face. I knew if I did, I would never come back. The man was closer now, still pointing. He slammed a hand down on the bonnet of the car and pressed his face close to my window.
“He’s in the car.” He yelled.
I looked down to the steering wheel. That thing, whatever it was, was on the passenger seat. I could sense its breath, almost smell its malice. I’ve never been so certain of my own death. It was like the feeling you imagine in people who see a train coming and know they can’t get out of the way. So, they just stand and wait. It would reach into me and…
Another slam of the man’s hand down upon the bonnet and I turned to the passenger seat.
Just the empty takeaway cup from Norma’s and the lightbulb.
I exhaled loudly, fear fleeing from my blood and leaving a hole to be filled by the anaesthetic of relief. My hands were gripping the steering wheel so tightly that, when I removed them, they left strong imprints on the vinyl. Turning to the window to thank my saviour, I felt a chasm open up all around.
At the window, in place of the grey-haired man, was a masked face, its nose a crooked, proboscis-like extrusion that pointed at me with unfettered malevolence. Beneath this mask was a body clothed in a red suit. I say a body for, even though its form was human, I knew in my soul that it was not. I stared at it, feeling sickness scratching at the end of my nose, sliding toward my mouth. Tearing my eyes from the mask, I saw a hand rising up clutching a forked stick. Seeing it, I thought of the lady in Seattle; the one who had kissed my cheek and looked at me with such sadness. Was I meant to die here?
No, I thought. I reached for the key and brought the car back to life. I stamped on the accelerator and felt the tyres struggle to find grip on the loose stones by the roadside. Eventually, accompanied by a painful screeching and the smell of overheated rubber, I threw the car onto the road and sped away. I hurtled out of the town, unable to stop or slow myself. Yellow lines blurred under the car and I stopped focussing on anything else. What had I just seen? What was in the car with me and why?
I was going faster and faster, my Daddy’s advice from long ago swimming in every corner of my panicked brain. Oh my God, I thought. Was it still in the car? I reached over with my hand and waved around in the passenger side of the car. Then I looked in the mirror to see what was behind. Nothing. After more searching, I finally felt my breathing begin to slow. I was still heading in the right direction according to the Sat Nav and I reached out to the display to zoom in on where I was. Panic began to rise in me again as my arm refused to move. It was completely numb. I pulled over to the side of the road at an intersection, a solitary traffic light swinging in the breeze above the car. I rubbed at my arm, willing it back to life, but it would not acquiesce to any of my massaging or hitting.
The need for freedom overtook me and I climbed out of the car. Pacing to and fro, I kept at my arm, becoming more and more scared that it would never wake up. Whatever had been in the car with me, and there had been something, must have cast some spell on it. Why then, had it taken that time to begin? As I paced, I looked up at the traffic light, watched it change from red to green, green to red and on and on. From there, I looked up into the sky to see how many stars were visible in this remote town. London was so bereft of a meaningful night sky. That’s when I saw them.
Hovering way above me, each one about two hundred feet in diameter, were two shiny discs, each one glowing with a silvery light. They seemed to move gracefully around each other in a figure of eight pattern. I stared upward at them, transfixed, wondering if anyone else was sharing this sight. Did they see me as I saw them? I tried to focus on one of them but the glow made it all seem like something of a blur. I fancied that I saw some sort of openings at regular intervals around its circumference, windows, maybe? What was I thinking? This was ridiculous, wasn’t it? Discs in the sky? Within a few seconds, the twin circles moved off at incredible speed. I was ready to dismiss it as a trick of the eyes, leftovers from whatever I had experienced outside that bar. At the same moment, however, a growing noise approached. As the discs sped away silently, they were pursued by the lights and monstrous roar of a jet aircraft. As I watched it cut through the darkness and felt the air displaced around me by its low altitude flight, the sensation returned to my arm. Flexing my fingers with immense relief, I looked around me just in time to see the lights of a police car spring into life.
I could sense the goodness of the man as soon as the door swung open. His long, white hair appeared first, followed by a face that could have been carved from one of the majestic trees that surrounded us. The badge on his chest shone out like it gathered new authority by being pinned to him, as opposed to the usually inverse case. His Native American features glowed with wisdom and made him appear like a warden of this place. Whoever he was, he extracted the fear from me by his very presence.
“Are you OK, sir?”
“I am now. Did you see those lights up there?”
“No. Did you see those lights back there?” He saw my confused look and pointed back along the road. “The lights you just drove through.”
I slowly realised what he was talking about and felt my whole body sag in relief. After what had just happened, running a red light seemed like a welcome reminder of the real world.
“Something scared me. I’m sorry.”
“Best keep your speed down. Anything worth doing is worth waiting for.”
“That’s good advice.” I smiled at him and he looked past me into the car.
“Someone in there with you?”
I darted a look at the passenger seat and saw it empty. Nothing.
“No. It’s just me. It’s weird, though-”
“It usually is around here. You have a good night. There’s a hotel up the road a stretch if you need a place to stay. It’s just by the falls. Be safe now.”
I climbed back in the driver’s seat of the rental and looked at the Sat Nav once again. As the police car drove past me, it let out a solitary wail on its siren, turned and vanished out of sight. There was only a little bit of decent road left on my journey and it wasn’t long before I was instructed to turn right where there wasn’t really a right turn. There was merely a small gap in the trees. Nudging the car through, I discovered the beginning of a trail which (though I feared for the damage it might do to my rental car) looked passable. The Sat Nav was telling me that there were only a few miles to go. Of course, I had no idea how long those miles would be or what would be waiting at the end.
Check out the final instalment, Part 3, here:
I’ll See You in the Trees – Part 3 | The Crossing
I’ll See You in the Trees – Part 3 | The Crossing