-Bailey wiped the fog away from the window so she could see outside. There wasn’t much to see. Her –1father squinted through the windshield projecting confidence and direction. He barreled through the night, the windshield wipers washing away rain with frantic determination. Bailey’s mother, Blair was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Or better yet, between pulling out her iphone and mapping where they were going or keeping her iphone in her purse and relying on her husbands internal GPS.
Bailey was bored, and hot, and damp. She couldn’t open the window. She was afraid the dark dankness of the night would take over the car. Or maybe the heavy pelting rain would soak her. She wasn’t sure which she hated more.
Bailey saw the sign last. It was a lonely, lighted sign alerting all those unfortunate to be traveling on I-16 West through Georgia at 3:22 AM that the next exit was 34 miles away. There was no one else on the road. No one.
“Honey, I’m from here. We should have turned onto Lincoln road. My parents are waiting for us.”
“Blair, I’ve got it.”
“But…we’ve gone so far off course–”
“I’ve got it, Blair.”
Bailey knew her father was lost. Everyone in the car knew her father was lost. She wondered if her Father knew he was lost. Blair never pushed the issue. If her Father said he got it, it meant, he got it. But not today.
“Martin. You don’t ‘got’ it! We’ve been driving for hours and we are no where near my parents. Is there something subconscious that regardless of how many times we come here, you can never find it. Come on–”
“OK, here we are.” Martin turned the steering wheel to the right and traveled up a gravel road.
“Where are we?” asked Blair.
“Where we are going. It’s too late to arrive at your parents house. We’ll stay here for the night and continue to Bill and Rose’s lovely home tomorrow.”
Bailey knew her father was being sarcastic. He hated Gram-pa Bill and Gran-ma Rose’s house. They put us into all single beds. Uncomfortable single beds. It meant Mom and Dad didn’t sleep together. Dad was six feet five inches, so his legs hung over the end of the bed at his knee.
He hated staying there.
They passed a sign that said RockBurg Bed & Breakfast on the way up the gravel road. A flash of lightning outlined the two story stately Georgian home.
“Rockburg Bed and Breakfast. Martin, I heard this place was closed years ago.”
“Obviously, you heard wrong. This is where we’re going instead of straight to Bill and Rose’s.”
Blair studied her husbands face in the flashes of lightning every other second.She wanted to object but she was so tired. She just wanted to sleep.
They pulled up to the door and Martin ran inside to book their rooms for the night. Bailey turned on her ipod and put the earphones in her ear. Gangnam style blasted through her earphones. Bailey didn’t understand a word of the song except “Gangnam style” but she loved the heavy pop beats. It made her want to dance.
A few minutes later, she watched her father motion for them to come from the wide porch of the Rockburg. Her mother took the small bag of toiletries and rushed onto the porch. Bailey was slow to gather all of her things. She looked at the porch and saw her parents talking to each other through the rain waiting for her. She saw the glare of a metal key shine off a flash of lightening.
Bailey got her stuff and sauntered to the door. She looked up before she opened the door, dreading getting wet in the rain. A flash of lightening showed a male shadow outlined in one of the upper windows. Then he was gone.
“It must have been a house plant close to the window,” she thought then headed to meet her parents.
Her father took the earphones out of her ears. “That’s why you didn’t hear me. I was calling you. Come on, our room is on the first floor.” Martin guided them by the front desk. An old woman in a floral blue and pink dress sat behind the desk smiling at the family as they walked to their room.
Bailey looked back at her. The smile was gone, but she was still staring at them. A cold chill came over Bailey and she tugged her sweater closer around herself then huddled closer to her parents.
The family walked through the narrow hallways of the B&B. The wood floors creaking under their feet while rain pelted on the ceiling. The light bulbs flickered at every lightening strike. They couldn’t wait to get to their room.
The idea of showering and changing into their sleep clothing quickly went out the window when they felt the hard and cold bed. The mattress was old and somewhat dusty, the sheets were thin and there was a faint odor in the room.
“The faster we get to sleep the faster we can wake up and leave this place” muttered Blair. The bite of her words were colder than the dank room.
It was ten years since Bailey slept with her parents. She prided herself on being an independent spirit, but tonight, she jumped into bed between her mommy and daddy.
After twenty minutes everyone had calmed down. Their breathing became harmonic and they drifted off to sleep.
Then, Bailey jumped up in bed. Someone was pounding on the walls. The sound, the beating was getting closer and angrier by the second.
She stopped breathing and froze. Maybe if she was quiet, whatever this was would pass them by.
The banging and footsteps came to outside their door.
Bailey’s eyes fixed on the door, she heard another door open. Orange and yellow light seeped under the old door. There were two shadows now.
Bailey shook her father violently, keeping as quiet as she could. He didn’t budge. She turned to her mom and banged on her back, hoping, praying she would wake up.
There was nothing more to do. She backed up to the headboard and bunched the blanket in her hands. Tears rolled down her face but no sound came from her mouth.
There was a scuffle outside the door. Two bodies slammed into the walls and door outside the room. Muffled noises intertwined as the shadows under the door danced violently to a music Bailey couldn’t hear.
Then, a body was slammed to the wall and a loud pop went off behind the door. A loud groan was followed by a heavy thump.
The room next door was kicked in and a pop sounded inside the room following a loud plea.
This was it. Bailey kissed her mother and father, laid down in between them and waited for the inevitable. Someone was going to come in the room and kill her and her family.
It was funny. She no longer panicked. She just hoped her parents stayed asleep so they wouldn’t feel anything or be scared.
Bailey snuggled between her parents and closed her eyes, and let go of her fear and fight. She wouldn’t let who ever it was see fear in her.
Sunlight peaked through the sheer white curtains.
“Wake up honey, we’re leaving.”
Bailey rolled over and looked into her mother’s face high lighted by the light of the rising Sun coming through the window.
“My back feels like it cracked during the night.” A soft chuckle came from Blair.
“Am I dead?”
“Stop being so sarcastic, just because the bed was bad doesn’t mean it killed you. Hurry up, Dad is waiting for us.”
The family was having dessert after a scrumptious brunch. Everyone was relaxed and full.
“What’s wrong Baily? you’ve hardly eaten anything.” asked Rose. Bailey’s Grandmother prided herself on her culinary skills.
“Nothing.” muttered Bailey.
“Mom, don’t worry about her, teenagers these days.” Blair and her mother exchanged a knowing look.
“Where did you guys end up last night? We were waiting for you until we fell asleep around midnight.” asked Bill.
Martin looked at his wife with an ‘I told you so look on his face’. With a huge grin he said “We were on our way here but I knew you guys would be sleeping and I didn’t want to wake you up.”
“Oh okay,” said Rose.
Martin picked up his coffee and took a sip. “Yeah, we were pretty close. We stayed at a B&B last night.”
Rose put her coffee down. “Which one, Sandra’s B&B? I heard it’s really nice.”
“No, this was um,…what was it…. um…Blair help me out, where did we stay?”
“Rockburg. We stayed at the Rockburg B&B.”
“Oh no honey, you must have the wrong name.”
Bailey squirmed in her seat.
“That was the name Mom, Rockburg B&B off I-16.”
Rose cleared her throat, “Well honey, Rockburg B&B closed over thirty years ago when Rob Wittman the local baker killed his wife’s lover, his wife and another family staying at the Inn. You guys read wrong.”
Martin’s hand put his coffee on the table so he wouldn’t drop the cup on the floor.
He steadied his trembling hands then slowly looked up at his wife and daughter.