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Rest Stop

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Well. This is a weird one folks. It’s anyone’s guess at this point whether or not it really happened, but as far as I’m concerned, this is a true story. The implications are simply bizarre, especially in this day and age where miracles or any other form of theological claims are few and far in between, and when they do show up, they're immediately debunked with mountains of logic. That'll probably happen to this story. It doesn't really matter. I’m not in it for the fame. I just want to warn you about the bathroom of I-90 East’s rest stops. Which one was it, I seriously don't remember. They all seem the same don't they? I'm sure you'd agree on that part anyways. It was close to Boston, about a half hour away or two.

Once upon a time, I was coming home from a road trip from Tennessee. My girlfriend was attending college down there and I rarely had a chance those days to see her. We spent several days in her Dorm, doing average couple things like watching movies, playing video games, having copious amounts of sex. You know how it goes. Having a full time job that has sporadic schedules and such, I have to be opportunistic about taking these trips. These opportunities tend to rise up once a month since she is usually busy herself.

I live in Massachusetts, so these trips take a lot of time for me, usually requiring breaks at a rest stop or two to go to the bathroom and eat overpriced fast food or just sleep in my car. Buying gas is obviously a given. Now, I’ve always enjoyed these places as they always seem to bring about an exceptional plethora of individuals. You get crack heads, business men, tourists, students, you name it. Sometimes you see a large group of people in similar themes of clothing and notice that they are probably coming home from a concert or a themed party. These were fun distinctions to make. I never really considered myself much of a people watcher until I started making these trips, but yeah, it’s fun.

Me and my girlfriend, we go to a breakfast joint in the morning then say goodbye. She goes back to her dorm and I go back to Boston. I had a long drive ahead of me and I wasn’t really looking forward to it. The drive was very uneventful, very forgettable, well, aside from the bathroom incident. Yeah, that made the drive pretty memorable actually. Never mind.

So anyways, I’ll just jump straight into it. I would be reaching Boston in a half hour, and the momentum gained from the impending conclusion of this long arduous trip began to excite me. Staring at the road for eight hours at a time has a general tendency to wear down on your soul. I really don’t understand how truckers maintain their sanity. Oh wait, yes I do, it’s called Chrystal Meth. Haha. Anyways, Don’t do drugs kids. Take the soul crushing misery of driving alone. I’m getting off topic, I apologize.

I really had to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t paying enough attention for the last two hours to notice the rest stops and I wound up missing two of them in a row. I found myself falling very uneasy as I was certain I would fill my pants before I made it to one in time. Driving with such an impending call of nature is never ever fun, and it really does impact your performance behind the wheel, and missing an opportunity twice in a row doesn’t bode well for your moral.

Against all possible odds, I finally see one on the horizon. Those beautiful golden arches of McDonalds mounted on twenty foot tall polls, I can’t recall being happier to see them. I found it very ironic given it was their food that I ate six hours ago that placed me in this dilemma, but hey, who doesn’t appreciate irony right? This rest stop was precisely the same as all the other ones, which meant that there would be an exceptionally large bathroom, a large choice between fast food restaurants, a convenient store to buy energy drinks, and a claw game because…why not.

I pop my car in park and make a B-line straight into those doors. Out of the corner of my eye I see a plaque. More on that later. As I run into the building, I immediately find myself overwhelmed by the stench. Where there should have been an alluring aura of fried food, I smelled trash. Have you ever worked in a food related location where they toss out unused food in a particular assigned compactor? It smelled like that. There could have been several reasons for this, but I chose not to ponder it. I booked it straight into the bathroom.

Oh the bathroom stench, now that was brutal. Whatever that smell was, it was certainly coming from in here. I was shallow enough to immediately conclude that this smell was coming from the shirtless fat guy. He was standing by the sink closest to the door. He was washing himself with the hand soap. Not just his hands, you see, he was washing his entire body. A repulsive sight for sure, and it was fairly obvious that I wasn’t the only one who thought this way. People were leading their children away from him, shying away from him themselves. There was an unused sink next to him, and all the others were currently being used by others. There was a line in wait for these sinks, and nobody was even considering the prospect of using that sink near the fat man.

Me and another bathroom patron exchange an uneasy look. In that moment, we were brothers in this ordeal. Two men sharing in the tribulations of a gross fat crazy man muttering to himself as he washed himself with soap. Did I mention that he was praying loudly as he was doing that? Well he was. Perhaps he was one of those homeless dudes with a mental disorder that you hear so much about. He was definitely into religion that was for sure.

I just kind of awkwardly pass him by, trying not to breath in that stench. I didn’t want to make eye contact with him for fear of seeming judgmental. To say the very least, I had to extend at least a minimal degree of respect for his decision. I mean, he WAS doing something about it. Hell, he was even trying to wash his dirty soul with his frantic praying. As I was saying earlier, rest stops are exceptional nexuses for weirdoes. I’ve seen worse than this.

So the walls were lined with stalls. At least ten of them on each side. I run to a random one, and give it a knock. When I do, the fatman stops praying and immediately looks at me. His look is a wild one. He suddenly starts shaking his head. “Not that one!” he shouts.

Oh great, now he’s talking to me. And people were looking at him, and then they were looking at me. I don’t want this attention. I fling the stall door open and slam it shut. There were far more pressing issues at hand.

So there I was, sitting on the can. I begin to hear the man pray even louder. I hear somebody shout at the man to shut up and get a job. Seems about right. I would wager a guess that this man receives said advice up to dozen times a day, the poor guy. Oh well. The sound is shortly drowned out by those blowers people use to dry their hands with. Amidst the droning of the blower units, I hear somebody scream. Well, pooping can be an ordeal for people, you know? The sound is replaced with slamming, like somebody is kicking at their door. Weird, but not completely out of the ordinary. I let out a chuckle.

that’s when I noticed that my chuckle had a strange echo to it. Bathrooms tend to have that acoustic quality where they echo, but this was different. My chuckle sounded like it was in a church, or a cavern. It echoed longer than it should have. Out of curiosity, I cleared my throat and gave that echo a listen. Yup, definitely strange. The man that was screaming was beginning to sound distant as if far away. Perhaps he was leaving the bathroom? Maybe he injured himself by accidentally closing the door on his, never mind. You can speculate, I’m sure.

That droning that was coming from the hand dryers began to change and warp. It seemed to be getting louder, and a with it, there was a progressive bass pitch to it, as if it sounded bigger. The room began to shake, not like an earthquake, but just a strong rattle, like when you crank a subwoofer. A breeze was blowing at me through the crack of the door and below it. It was warm, humid and thick with that horrible smell. Scratching my head, I deduced that the fat praying guy farted. It was a funny thought, and I actually laughed out loud at the prospect, but then noticed that my voice was now repeating itself in an echo. It sounded like I was in a vast location, and not a bathroom.

This was no fart though.

The air had become extremely humid, and the heat was already making me sweat. At this point in time, I had already considered this one of the stranger bathroom experiences, but what happened next was just downright ridiculous, and by ridiculous I mean soul shatteringly horrifying.

The bassy drone of the blowers exploded into a roaring crescendo of something akin to organic growling. How a hand dryer could sound organic, is anyone’s guess, but it was wild to say the damn least. Then it stopped. There were no echoes for it, how that was possible, I don’t know. The drastic silence in the wake of the noise going dead was really strong. I couldn’t hear the dirty guy praying anymore, I couldn’t hear sinks, hand dryers, people talking, walking around, toilets flushing. Everything just went silent. Have you ever heard the phrase, Silence is deafening? Well, it totally was. It gave me Goosebumps. With as much logic as I could muster, I maintained a mild observation regarding this situation and deduced that it was…creepy. I decided to zip up prematurely and vacate before my business was concluded.

As I moved to stand up, that’s when the silence was shattered by a slam. It sounded like something huge crashing into metal. The residual noise raked across the unseen landscape beyond my stall door. Wait, you’re asking, landscape beyond your door? You are in a bathroom right? I thought so, or well I was determined to believe so, but with the humidity and drastic shift in atmosphere, It felt like I was in an outdoor location, somewhere vast. Somewhere alien.

I sense that I may start losing some of you soon.

Another slam, enormous and angry. Like a sledgehammer against sheet metal. Again, then again, then I heard what sounded like metal being grounded, followed by a blood curdling scream. I could hear what sounded like a struggle, shuffling of feat, slamming, ripping, shouting. People in the stalls around me, were muttering in confusion, some were telling them to be quiet. A door opened to the adjacent stall, followed by a shout and then the door slammed shut again. He was muttering the Eff word over and over again. He sounded angry, yet terrified. I could hear him dialing his phone, but whatever number he was trying to reach, assuming 911 or something, he wasn’t getting through.

I zipped my pants up and pulled the door open. What I saw was wrong, on so many levels it was wrong.

Instead of the bathroom, I beheld a long cavernous hallway. Blackened stone, with a light source in the far off reaches that emitted a reddish glow, that flickered like fire. The cavern was enormous, and that stone it appeared to consist of had a gross quality to it. They seemed to be covered in a strong film of brown slime, some of which was dripping to the ground, which was an absolute swamp of it. Farther off towards the end of the cavern, I saw how the consistency of the place had a dramatic shift to it. It went from being of that gross slime ridden stones, to just smooth and pink. There were yellowish stalagmites and stalactites rising out the walls and grounds. Worse yet, I saw that the whole area was uh…pulsating in a rhythmic pattern akin to the steady rise and fall of ones chest as they breath. I muttered an expression of confusion.

“What the fu-”

The pulsating threshold retracted and let out a roar. That noise earlier from the hand dryer, or rather what it eventually transitioned into was actually this thing. I feel a harsh breeze brush into me. The humidity was disgusting, and it was rank with sickness and garbage. I noticed that the flickering fire glowed wildly and illuminated the cavern so brightly I had to cover my eyes and look away. When I did, I saw it happen.

A creature, a humanoid monstrosity of gross horror, eight feet tall, and made out of deformed human faces. It walked on two legs which consisted of crying children’s faces, and wielded its unpleasant rage with arms made out of the faces of men and women, alive. They were alive, and they were spitting brown and black slime, like vomiting it out. I knew that this beast was the source of all the slime. It pulsated with the crap, like blood from a cut artery. One of the faces began to cry. It was using the brown junk as tears. This creature, had ripped the stall door off of the hinge, and it was wrestling with the person within. It pulled the person out by their ankles. It was a women, younger than I was. Maybe old enough to be a freshman in high school? Her pants were down, and she was being pulled on her back, through the swamp of slime. She was screaming, she was crying, thrashing, all in vein.

Why a girl? I could have sworn this was a men’s bathroom, but I also seem to recall that this was a normal bathroom, period, and not some kind of gateway to an interdimentional Giger painting. I let that observation cease to irk at my mind as I watched her grab a rock sticking out of the ground. I could see that her shirt was pulled over her head and she had cuts all up and down her back from being dragged across the rough surface underneath that layer of slime. The monster turned and looked at her. I could now see its face, well, something that served as the face. There was an aura of light that appeared to shine with a purple glow. It looked like the night sky in a remote location, the same shade as the milky way across a starlit sky. But it was contained by a tangle of flesh colored branches with sharp ends. As the thing looked at her, those branches retracted outward, and that morphological glow began to seep towards her. The light didn’t necessarily illuminate her, instead, it just burned her. I could see her skin turn rough, and then break apart to reveal blistering pink flesh beneath. She was shrieking in pain as the thing cooked her alive with its…uh…face. Even the slime she partially buried in began to boil. I could feel the heat from where I was standing and knew that the pain she was engrossed in was probably something I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy.

She let go, and the tendrils of its face closed in around that glow again. The heat vanished. It wasn’t gradual, it was just sudden, like a switch being flipped. The monster grabbed her with its hand, which was made out of the same tendrils that consumed the light of its face. Those things wrapped around her head and tightened. Her screams became muffled as she was suddenly raised into the air, her body flailing with the beasts motions like a rag doll. The monster turns around, the faces all over its body were now screaming as they projectile vomit more of that sludge in all directions. The monster makes its way down the cavern, towards that organic threshold. With an inhuman cry, it raises the crying girl over its head with both arms, and hurls her into the pulsating portion of the cave. The ground reacts to her impact by retracting as if shocked by the sudden irritation. As she struggles to find her feet, it lowers under her weight like it was a soft cushion. She loses her footing and falls down again.

As she struggles for her balance, the monster turns around with a chilling demeanor of casualness and begins to walk back towards the stalls. The girl finally finds her footing and makes to run out of that threshold. The light from within the threshold began to glow bright behind her once again, and she looks back and screams. For a moment, I thought she would escape, but then the whole thing contracted, as if caving in on her. She was lost in it, the slamming sound, the crunch of her bones, the ripping and tearing as those yellow stalagmites pierce her body. Finally it envelopes its own interior leaving the whole area in darkness, for an unsettling degree of time that may have been hours, or more likely several seconds. I hear her muffled cries of pain for thirty seconds before ceasing, giving way to a grinding and gross noise akin to that of chewing. I hear what sounds like a large swallow. I notice that the glow peeks through a small orifice. The collapsed section is moving around, like a giant maggot or something. Suddenly, it opens up again, awkwardly, as if it were struggling against its own weight until finally, the threshold matched the cave and became once more, an extension of it.

I slam my door shut. I look at the toilet, and for a moment acknowledge that I’m in this was the perfect thing to have around at the moment as I begin to vomit into it. I also noticed that I have made a gross mess in my pants. Well, how embarrassing that was…yet given the circumstances.

Not knowing if that thing saw me, or if it was even aware of my existence, I stand on top of the toilet like an idiot, thinking that this would trick it into thinking I wasn’t in here. As I do so, another roar shoots out of the cave. My door shakes with the wind. What was once a breeze is now a furious gale. I hear another door get smashed open. The one right next to mine. The muttering man starts to scream. I hear it drag him down the cave, I hear the struggle. I hear inhuman cries coming from what I knew were the faces all along the monster. I hear the slam of the collapse as it bears down upon the poor guy. That chewing, the swallow, the flash shining in through the cracks of my door as it reopened itself.

That’s when I realized three things. The first part was that the monster was making rounds. He was extracting us one by one to feed to that monster at the end. I then noticed that I was next in line, that the monster was making its way towards me. The thought of it all made my head spin. That slime, that monster, the burning thing it did with its face, the texture of that monstrosities maw, being ground into mush and voraciously consumed. I began to mutter no over and over again to myself. Third and most importantly, I noticed that while the faint glow of the light within that horrible maw was seeping through the cracks of the door along with the bottom, the top of the stall barriers, were glowing with fluorescent lights that didn’t match the scenery beyond. That was the normal bathroom.

That was my ticket. That was my way out. This place, this portal or whatever it was, it was only active in the doorway and underneath it, not above. I raised up to look out into the bathroom to notice that it was, much to my hope, the rest stop bathroom once more. The fat guy was staring at me, he was covered in hand soap. He nods to me, and signals me to climb over. Yes, now I get it. He was the prior patron of this stall. That would explain the praying. That would explain the washing. If he could climb over, then I sure as heck could.

It wasn’t hard, and the relief of not having to endure that fate leant me some strength. We’ll call it adrenaline. Anyways, I get one leg over the door, and just as I shifted my bodyweight to fall to the beautiful bathroom floor, the door flies backwards and I feel those horrible branch like fingers grip around my shins. With terrible strength, I am pulled back behind the stall door and back into that horrible portal place. The monster shoves me right up against the wall presses its inhuman face against my own. I feel that horrible heat against my face, brushing against me in rhythmic exhalations. I was partially blinded by that purple light behind those thorn like tendrils. I’m certain I could see stars in them, murky depictions of spinning nebulae and so many stars. I even saw spiraling messes that were apparently galaxies. This thing, it would appear, had an entire universe for a face. How nice.

“Where you going little morsel,” it asked in a vaguely condescending voice, before hurling me out of the stall and out into that nasty cavern and into the slime swamp. That splash was horrible as it was thick and chunky, as if it were more like thick melted chocolate than mud. It was sticky, it was cold, and holy yuck, it was disgusting. The monster turned towards me, and all the faces began to scream. Some of them spat more of that crap out of their mouths and eyes. The thing took a step towards me, raising an arm to reach out to me. I could see those thorn tendrils it was using as fingers bending in many different angles, some of which were twisting together. I knew that if it got a grip on me, it was over. There was no possible way I could overpower this abomination, and those thorn hands, I wouldn’t be able to break free of that. I took a quick glance at the threshold and saw the light glare brightly as it unloaded a miserable belch.

I wasn’t thinking, I didn’t have time to think. I picked up a hand full of that crap and I threw it at the monsters face, not really expecting anything. The thing reacted though, it took a step back and grabbed its face. Right, so it was weak against its own secretion? That didn’t make sense. Those face tendril things were squirming uncontrollably, when suddenly the light went out. I thought I did it. I thought I stopped it. I picked up some more slime and hurled it at its face again.

Then its face opened, and out came the light. It burned instantly. I ran back, away from the thing and towards that threshold. The muck began to boil around me, It was boiling on my skin. I was losing composure, the pain was overwhelming. I dived into the slime and submerged myself beneath it. It was cold enough and it alleviated me of the heat straight away. When I pulled my head out for air, I got a ferocious whiff of that garbage smell, and I almost puked my guts out there and then. The monster was pacing towards me, its face was now shut once again.

“Run away, little piggy,” it muttered, “We revel in this, the struggle,” The faces began to whisper his words as if in echo.

This monster wasn’t fast. I could outrun it, but that light thing that it did, that I couldn’t outrun. I could see those face tendrils working around in an agitated fashion. Well it seamed they were agitated. How do you read a monster with a universe for a face?

I ran to the very brink of the threshold, if I took a step in, I knew that thing would collapse down on me, those stalagmites, those teeth would tear me to shreds, and this disgusting monster, oozing with that crap, would stop at nothing to make sure I find myself in there.

I had to appreciate the layout of this cave, it was a straight line, but it was also very wide. As I ran further away from the faceman, the smaller he seemed in relation to the cave itself. If I could lure him close enough away from the stall door, I could run past him and make for another escape.

Picking up another hand full of that muck, I stood at the threshold and waited for it to get close enough, waiting for it to get in throwing range. I raised my hand, I aimed at his head, and I hurled that slime into its starry face. The thing raised its hand and blocked it. I grabbed another and threw it at him, but he kept blocking it. I had two handfuls, this was my last chance, as he was practically on me, I threw one, and just as he raised his hand to block it, I threw the other, and hit it square in its face of light. The thing went dark again, and as it did, the threshold behind me retracted wildly, as it released a blood curdling roar. I saw that it was moving forward, grinding against the cave walls, and overtaking it, like it was growing into it. Could it be that the…whatever this thing was, was it sensing that I might escape? I didn’t stick around to try and find out.

I ran past the faceman, who immediately reached out at me with a surprising degree of agility and slashed my arm wide open. A few more inches, and it would have caught me. I booked straight for that wall of stall doors. When I got closer, I felt the heat as the monster opened its face again. I could feel my skin turning rough, like a sunburn. Simply moving began to hurt as my skin appeared to be losing its natural elasticity. The slime was boiling. I ran like I never ran before, and I charged straight into the stall bathroom, almost slamming into the toilet itself. I slammed the door shut, and saw the fluorescent lights above blink into existence above the door. This was it. This was my chance.

I jumped up and threw my leg over, screaming like a maniac, as everyone in the bathroom immediately started staring at me. I felt the door began to shake. The monster somehow made it in a surprising amount of time. It slammed into the door and I began to feel it rattle against its hinges. With all the strength I had left, I threw myself to the bathroom floor and smashed my head so hard, my eye swelled shut completely.

There I was. On the bathroom floor of the rest stop, covered in that slime. I must have looked like a silly person. I felt like a silly person, but I felt like a fortunate person more. I had just survived something ridiculous. I look over at the bathroom door and noticed that while some people were awkwardly staring at me, another man was making his way towards that door. I got up and screamed “Stay away from that bathroom door! It‘s the gateway to hell!” I got up and shoved him away. The guy threw his hands up in the air and backed off. He didn’t want anything to do with a lunatic like me.

Scanning the bathroom, I looked for something to bar the door with. I saw an out of order sign leaning against the wall, and with a head still murky with that hit against the floor, I stumbled to the sign and put it up against the door. It would have to do. I looked over at the fat guy washing himself. He was watching me very closely, and when he saw me put the sign against the stall of horrors. He nodded his head. “warned you,”

“Yeah,” I said. The commotion of our strange behavior died down quickly. People went back to ignoring us. Some were shooting angry glares at us as they eagerly pulled their kids away, but that became the gist of it. I went to the sink next to the fat guy and looked at myself in the mirror. I was covered in that slime. I pumped some hand soap and started cleaning myself. The fat man asked me to pray with him, and I thought long and hard about it. In the end, I chose not to. For some reason, I was still combing my brain for a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why this had happened. I had to just assume this was some kind of hallucination, but then what about the fat guy?

I didn’t stick around long. Just enough to get the crap out of my pants, and clean enough of that stuff off me. On my way out, I looked at that plaque by the entrance. Giving it a closer inspection, I noticed it involved a picture of some kind of weird symbol that involved spikes or whatever. Underneath was written: Order of Balgagobothroth-Asharidon. Yeah, I don’t care about that. I’m sure the internet is filled with explanations as to what a balgago-whatever-was. I chose not to check it out. I had more than my share with dealing with whatever this was all about.

Occasionally, I still feel a strong sickening surge of apprehension regarding a trip to bathroom in public locations. Considering the fact that I escaped based on some kind of magical loophole in their system, there’s a good chance that those balgagoborbablahblah people were smart enough to rectify their trap. This is speculation though. I’m not even one hundred percent sure that this order had anything to do with what happened.

Now look, you don’t believe me. I know you don’t, and that’s fine. If I was in your shoes, I would also call B.S. I mean, all things considered, I thought the fat guy was nuts. I’ll tell you this though. If you find yourself uneasy behind the wheel when nature is calling hard when you‘re as far along I-90 East as I was, hold it in. Boston is just a half hour away.

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