I sensed when we were left the road and started to approach the house because the vibrations of the van changed after it left the blacktop. We drove first onto dirt, and then onto what could only be gravel. I recognized the gravel because it made a distinct crunching noise that I could hear even over the sound coming from my headphones. I’d once spent the summer with my ex–the truly bad restraining-order psycho–and his family in East Hampton. His folks had a gravel driveway. I’ve never forgotten the noise tires make on it.
I screamed a little bit. It scared me. I’ll admit it. The closet door vibrated and rattled.
They were screwing the door shut. They were locking me up in the closet.
The squeal of the drill, much closer to my head this time. Whoever was wielding it was putting in a screw at about the same height as my head. I yelped again and scooted my body away from the door.
And then it was done. It had only taken a minute.
I heard the clank of something heavy and metallic shift around–maybe a tool box. Someone said something I couldn’t make out. Someone else laughed. I heard running water in a faucet and metal sink. Then, the sound of retreating footsteps.
They’d left the building, whatever it was. I sensed that they were gone.
They’d left me in the closet.
I positioned my body so that my back was opposite the door. I put my feet against the door and pushed with all my might (which wasn’t much–my legs were returning to normal, but they still felt warm and weak).
The door didn’t budge. Not even a tiny bit.
I drew my knees back and kicked at it. Pretty feeble.
“Hello?” I called out. “Uh, hello? Hello hello?”
“Hello? How long am I going to be in here?”
I looked up and around me, trying to survey my surroundings. It was extremely dark in the closet. My eyes had adjusted all they were going to adjust, and I still couldn’t make anything out.
I craned my neck up. How tall was this closet?
And there, in the corner, I saw it: a tiny red light, glowing steadily. Unflickering.
I thought exactly what YOU would have thought in that situation, good reader! I thought: That looks just like the recording light in a video camera.
“Oh no, come ON!” I spat. I was frustrated and irritated. I’d said NO CAMERAS. That was one of my non-negotiable hard limits. No pictures, no video, no audio recordings!
I started moving my feet around, trying to determine the size of the closet. It was not large. It was about the size of a small supply closet. The size of the closet in my bedroom at home.
My foot bumped against something and made it move. Made it roll.
“Whaaa?” I said, and kicked at it again.
Something small and hard. Plastic or metal.
I fumbled in the dark and grabbed it.
A pen-light. They’d left me with a flashlight.
I twisted it on. A yellow beam of light cut through the darkness. I looked around me feverishly.
Yup–my perceptions were right. I was in a small, bare closet with a concrete floor. There was really nothing else to say about it.
I pointed the flashlight up at the little red light I’d seen in the corner. I started to curse and swear in a most unladylike fashion. Cause it was a camera. A damn security camera, set up there in the corner, looking down at me.
I looked up at the camera and shot it the bird.
“Hey, come on, guys–this isn’t funny! I said no cameras! You need to come get this thing and take it away right now!”
It was then that I noticed something right beside the camera.
An enormous spider…!
I am not talking your friendly neighborhood tarantula here. I mean an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom monster with a legspan at least as large as a dessert saucer. And when I moved the flashlight across it, I saw it move.
You can imagine my reaction, gentle reader, but I know that you want me to describe it, so I will: I freaked out. I screamed. Yes, I screamed, just like a scared little girl, and I threw up my arms in front of my face, dropping the flashlight, because I was suddenly sure that the spider was going to launch itself down upon me from the heights of the closet corner like the arachnid hand of a punishing God, probably to crawl all over me and frighten me even more. With delight, I have no doubt–the spider would want to do this with delight. The entire time the spider would be crawling all over me, it would be laughing inside of its malevolent spider-brain.
(Yeah, I know that doesn’t make sense. No spider would want to do that. But so what. How many of our fears are rational?)
When I didn’t feel the spider land upon me, I suddenly became worried that it was crawling toward me instead, and I reached around me for the flashlight. I needed to get onto my feet! I needed to be prepared to stomp it when it attacked!
I pulled myself up, knocking my head against a closet wall in the process, and anxiously focused the light by the video camera, where I’d last seen the spider.
The ugly bastard was still there. Right where I left him.
Waiiiiiit…..wait a minute…!
That spider didn’t look like it had moved at all.
I raised my hand over my face to protect it from a spider attack and stood up on my tiptoes, peering at the spider through my fingers.
That spider was a rubber Halloween prop! It was fake! Upon closer inspection, it didn’t look remotely real–not even in the dark.
I tittered nervous laughter. “Oh man! That is not okay,” I said, to no one in particular.
I sat back down in the corner and trained the light on the spider. I knew it was fake, but I couldn’t stop looking at it. I thought that if I did, maybe when I moved the light back to it, it wouldn’t be there anymore. If I took my eyes off of it, it would magically come to life and commence its nefarious reasons for being.
The spider was fake. I told myself that the camera had to be fake, too.
I don’t know how long they left me in there. Probably long enough to have a late lunch.
Then it was time for the intake interview.