Some People Never Return

“What’s wrong? Where are you going?”


“You’re pulling off to the side of the road.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re pulling off onto the shoulder—there’s no tollbooth here.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s a tollbooth. See?”

“You just passed around the tollbooths. Is this an exit or something? Are we going off the Parkway?”

“We just went through a tollbooth. Just now. EZPass. I didn’t take an exit.”

“I think you took an exit by mistake. God, we should be back in Connecticut by now. It’s this highway—it’s narrow, it’s congested. The exits are confusing.”

“Yeah, true, but I really did go through a tollbooth just now. You didn’t see that?”

“Whatever. I don’t think we’re on the Garden State Parkway anymore.”

“Um . . . yeah, this does look kinda weird. Maybe that tollbooth was for an exit or something.”

“And now it’s foggy. And there are no other cars. You definitely took an exit.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll just find someplace to turn around.”

“Well, we’re on some sort of highway. Let me check Google Maps.”

“Damn. Fog’s getting worse. And nowhere to pull off.”

“Come on, Google. . . . Nope. No bands. No cell. It figures.”

“I’ll just take the next exit and turn around.”

“Can’t see a damn thing. Except— What is that up ahead?”

“All those lights? Some sort of factory complex?”

“Like, maybe a power station? Lots of lights, all over the buildings, up on towers.”

“Yeah. It’s weirdly beautiful. Like an industrial fairyland. And check out the birds. Flying around the lights. Those are some pretty big birds.”

“Probably just an optical illusion. Looks like there’s an overpass, though.”

“I’ll take it. There’s got to be a way to turn around. . . .”

“Less fog up here. That’s good.”

“Yeah, but I don’t see a way to get back on that highway in the other direction.”

“Damn. Looks like this is just an entrance to the power plant, or whatever that is. I can see a gate up ahead.”

“Good. Maybe we can ask a security guard how to get to the damn Parkway.”

“Don’t see anybody. Should we keep going through the gate?”

“Well, it’s open. Let’s drive in. Then I’ll try to turn around. It’s pretty narrow here.”


“Lights and fog. Hard to see.”


“I’ll just creep forward until I can make a K-turn. What the fuck was that!

“I don’t know! I don’t know! One of the— Looks like a big bat! There’s another one! They’re slamming into the car!”

“Holy shit! We’re being attacked by bats?”

“They’re huge! Turn the car around! Do something!”

“I can’t. It’s too narrow here. And the fog—”

“Step on the gas!”

“I can’t see! I don’t want to hit anything! And if it’s a power station, there might be high voltage stuff around. Shit. Shit. Shit.”

“Oh God—the bats! They have heads like horses!”

 “Shit, where are they coming from?”

“Something’s happening—those floating lights?”

“Now I really can’t see. I’ve got to stop.”

“Don’t stop! The bats!”

“But I can’t see!”

“This is really weird. Those lights are too big. They’re not flashlights. And they’re just sort of floating.”

“Now they’re moving all around the car.”



“Don’t roll down your window!”

“It’s a guy. I think the bats are gone. He wants to talk to us. Maybe he can tell us how to get out.”

“This is too freaky.”

“Hi— Um. We need to turn around. We’re here by mistake. We need to get back to the Parkway.”

“Well, well, well . . . You can’t turn around here.”

“But— then where— where can we turn around?”

“Well, well, well . . . You can’t turn around here.”

 “But Sir—”

“Okay, I’m really freaking now, really freaking.”

“Shush. . . . Sir, I’m sorry we came in here. We just need to find a way out, to the Parkway. Or, um, the highway?”

“No, no, no . . . You can’t turn around here.”

“Can we—”

“Oh God.”

“Take a deep breath. . . . Sir— Where did he go?”

“Just put the car in reverse.”

“Yeah, maybe if I just try to slowly back up.”

“Put the car— There are those lights again.”

“Holy shit! What the hell is that?”

“Step on the gas! Backwards! Go back fast!”

“It’s coming towards us! I can’t—steer—”

“What the hell is it? Some kind of giant gorilla? A huge sasquatch? Get. Us. Out of here!

“Okay, okay. I’m trying. Shit shit shit.”

“BLAHHHHH—he’s picking up the car! Now we’re gonna die!”

“Hold my hand. Hold my hand!”

He’s picking up the fucking car! He’s picking up the fucking car!”

“Oh fuck!”



“Step on the gas! We’re back on the ground! The gas!”

“He turned the car around. Damn.”


“I am! I am!”

“Oh shit, here come the bats.”

“And the fucking lights.”

“Duck! Fucking bats!”

“Shit, I think that cracked the windshield!”

“The floating lights again! I think they chased the bats away.”

“I don’t care. Just get us out!

“Okay. That way south. That way north. Which way did we come from?”


“North, then.”

“Oh shit.”

“Are the bats still chasing us?”

“I don’t want to look.”

“There’s something up ahead. Wait. That’s another tollbooth.”

“I don’t see it. Where?”

“Right there. A tollbooth.”

“I don’t see a tollbooth anywhere.”

“Right ahead. You don’t see that?”


“We’re going through it. You still don’t see it?”


“Look: ‘Go EZPass.’ And . . . look, we’re back on the Parkway.”

“Giant bats with horse heads, giant bats with horse heads, giant bats . . .”

“Hey. Are you all right?”

“No. Not all right. Nope.”

“Look: lots of cars; no fog.  Buildings. We’re back on the Garden State Parkway.”

“Promise me. Promise me we will never, ever set foot in New Jersey again. Promise me that. We will never return here. Ever.”

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