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Phil walked to his very expensive penthouse in Manhattan. The weather was hot, too hot for someone that had grew up in the Midwest. He preferred the day to day weather changes that only the Midwest could offer.
The bellhop stood like a statue at the entrance of his apartment. As Phil stood in front of him he waved his hand in front of the man’s face, he didn’t budge, he never budged. Phil reached in his pocket and gave him a ten-dollar bill just for opening the door. In the back of his mind he thought why in the hell was he paying a grown man more than he used to make in a day in college.
"Thank you Mr. Sip, " the man said without a smile or any gesture that he was human.
Phil didn’t respond to him, he knew that the man looked at him like he was one of the rich and powerful. He was now rich but powerful was not in the cards for Phil. He thought that luck was on his side more than all of his schooling or whom he knew. Everything in his life he knew that it was just being at the right place at the right time.
His apartment was a mess. He couldn’t see paying someone to clean his house, he didn’t want to seem like he was too good to clean his own mess. The clothes were all over the floor and the smell was now noticeable upon entry.
He looked over at the answering machine and as usual it was filled to capacity. He didn’t want to start his Thirsty Thursday like that. Suddenly something came over him. Maybe it was the heat of New York or maybe the long drive from Queens that he endured every day for the last year.
He was determined to get out of New York for the weekend.
Phil ran over to a Mahogany chest that stood taller than most ceilings and found a map of what else, the entire Midwest. He had a grin on his face that only a mother could love.
Phil was already thinking of ways to tell his girlfriend that he was not going to be home this weekend. The past couple of weeks were hard on both of them. She is ready to be married and he is still waiting to find his soul mate. At the rate that he was going he would never find someone that would stay with him for an extended period of time.
Phil took the map and looked frantically for a piece of tape to put the map on the wall.
"Yes, " Phil screamed.
He took the map and taped it took the closet that he could find. He remembered that he that his best friend had gave him a dart board when he left school that he had never used. Phil ran over to his closet and grabbed a box that had a dart board on one side of it and a picture of their rival soccer team on the other. He finally found what he was looking for, darts. Phil opened the bag of darts like he was a child on Christmas morning.
He lined himself up to the map on the wall and prepared to launch the dart. He only had three darts so the best out of three he had to choose one. He took a deep breath and threw the first one, it fell to the floor. He remembered why he never opened the box, he sucked at darts. Two darts were left and he knew that one of them was going to be his weekend get away. The second dart was no better than the first, it fell to the ground as quickly as the first one. With this last and final dart he put his shoulders into it.
"Come on baby."
Phil threw the dart and finally it stuck into the wall. Phil walked over to it and saw that it was close to Michigan. The closer that he got he saw that not only was it in Michigan it was near the water.
"Looks like were going camping boys."
The map had pinpointed the city of Laethem, Michigan. Phil wasn’t too worried about where he was going, just when and how quick he was going to be leaving. He grabbed the map from the wall and saw the city of Laethem and he was determined to be there by this time tomorrow.
Phil grabbed his laptop and typed the city in and searched the entire internet. There was no place to be found. He thought for a moment that someone was joking with him and maybe gave him a bogus map.
He ran over to his phone and called to an operator.
"Hello, I’m trying to find a city of Laethem in Michigan, " he said to a bored operator.
"I’m sorry sir but that doesn’t show on my records, is there anything else that I can do for you? " she said.
Phil looked at the map and right neat the hole that came from the dart he saw that it was very close to a lake, Cadillac Lake.
"Yes, do you have anything for a Cadillac Lake park or Town hall? "
"One moment please, " the operator turned him over to an automated system.
The computer gave Phil a number. He fumbled around to find a pen but had to stick it to memory. He kept saying the number over and over in his head because he knew that he was going to forget at any second.
He didn’t know where he was calling but he was halfway there. He called the number and to his surprise a voice answered.
"Hello, I was wondering if there are any hotels in the area? "
"One second, " a lady said in a strange voice.
Phil was taken back for a moment but was far from being detoured. He patiently waited for someone to come back to the phone.
"Cadillac Cabin, " a male voice said.
"Oh yes, excuse me, but I was trying to get somewhere to stay for the weekend. "
"What weekend? "
"Oh, I’m sorry this one, weekend I mean, " he mumbled.
The man didn’t respond, Phil hoped that he was looking on the computer to see if they had any vacancies.
"Is that it Mr. Sib? "
"Yes, yes that’s it."
"You can pay when you get here, " the man said.
"I’m sorry how did you know my name."
"Caller Identification son, " the man said without laughing.
"Of course, I’m sorry I was just . . . "
Phil heard the phone go dead. He figured that he had just offended some small town hick. But he was closer to his goal, he could get out of here and finally see a tree that had actual roots and didn’t smell like spray can pine.
"HOW IN THE HELLS DO I GET TO CADILLAC, MICHIGAN. "
Phil got off of the smallest plane he had ever saw in his life. He was finally in Laethem, It was just a city in the woods. The weather was perfect. The trees kept the sub at bay and the breeze was the icing on the cake. Phil felt his stress level decrease before he had reached his cabin.
The pilot that flew the plane told Phil that he could rent his Jeep at a Reasonable rate.
The woods were no stranger to Phil, but they were not his friends either. He had all of his language in the back of the small Jeep Wrangler. The pilot gave him a map of how to get to Cadillac Lake, it wasn’t that hard because there was only one road that lead in and out of town.
Phil tried in vain to find a station on the radio, nothing but static. He didn’t mind he just wanted to relax his mind. He wanted to get away from the L Train, the chicken on a stick that was on every corner in Manhattan. Most of all to get away from tipping a guy hard earned money to open a freaking door.
He knew that he had reached his destination when he ran out of road. He parked the Jeep next to a cabin that said managers office on the outside of it. Phil walked up to the front looked around before he entered the cabin.
"Hello, anybody there? " he said in normal voice.
No one responded so he looked around for a bell or something to get someone’s attention. He saw that there was a pile of linen on the desk with a note on top of it. The note said that the manager would be back later in the evening. There was a set of keys on the side of the pile.
Phil walked out of the manager’s cabin and looked at the woods and he was shocked to see that he only saw three cabins in the distance. They all surrounded the lake, it was breath taking to his eyes. He saw a man with a small fishing boat out on the lake throwing his line in the clear water.
Phil looked at his keys and saw the number two on it. He left the Jeep and grabbed all of his bags then headed for the second cabin slightly up a small hill.
One of the cabins that he past he could hear the moans and groans of a woman in the distance, he smiled and kept his pace.
When he got to his cabin, he threw all of his things on the bed, a bed without any linen on it. He didn’t feel like walking back down to the manager’s cabin. He took of his shirt and started to walk over to the lake. He could see that the man was laying down in his boat. The small boat was slowly coming toward the shore.
Phil took off his shoes and sat down on a small pier. With his feet barely touching the water he let out a sigh of relief. Phil laid back and looked up at the clouds, he thought of better times when his father would take him hunting. He felt something tap his foot, as he sat up to see what it was he saw the man still laying down in the boat. The boat must have drifted over, he thought.
He reached down to wake the man before he damaged the boat. When he got closer, he could see live fish swimming in the boat it looked like they were swimming in a red liquid. He called for the man but got no response. His hat was covering his face, Phil was close enough to reach it, when he reached out and grabbed the hat, the man had no head. Phil jumped back and looked around to see if someone was playing a joke on him. Suddenly, a hand came from the water and threw the head of the man toward the pier that Phil was sitting on.
Phil freaked out and ran toward the manager’s office.
"Help!" he screamed.
Before he got to the empty manager’s office he got to cabin number one. He could still hear the moans of a woman coming from the cabin. He felt like they were going to think that he was crazy but he needed help.
Phil beat on the door and the woman seemed like she was not in ecstacy but in trouble. He tried the doorknob but the door was locked from the inside. He didn’t want to kick in the door but this was an emergency. Phil stood back and prepared to breech the door. He put all of his energy into the bottom of his foot and kicked the door. The old wood gave way and his foot went straight through the door. He pulled his foot back and dropped down to one knee and looked through the door. He saw a young woman tied to the wall with no clothes on.
"Hold on, " Phil said.
Phil was no scared to enter the cabin, his mind was racing and he was determined to save this helpless person. He took a couple of steps back and launched at the door. He took the door off of the hinges. He fell to the ground and got splinters in his face from the wood.
As he got his composure back, he could see that the girl was naked and tied to post that were in the wall. She had a black bag over her face and blood dripped down her arms as they were like spaghetti above her head. She moaned and groaned the same way that he had heard earlier. Phil stood close to her and tried to untie the tight knots. He got her feet untied and then as he tried to take the bag from her head he could hear the groans turn to the sound of a wild animal. He slowly pulled the bag from her head, she was the most hideous thing that anyone had ever laid eyes on. She lunged at him in vain, her hands were still tied to the post. Her teeth were of a wild animal.
"What the fuck is going on?" Phil said as he backed away from her.
The animal raised her feet and used them to untie the knots that were on her hands. She then climbed the walls like a spider. All the while she stared at Phil like he was her next meal.
Phil didn’t want to run, he figured that she would chase him if he tried. He couldn’t believe that this animal was defying gravity and walked on walls and ceiling the way that she did. He backed out of the door slowly and never turned his back to her. Just then he remembered that something was outside waiting on him, whoever threw the head at him was still somewhere in the area.
He made a break for it. The managers’ office had to have a rifle in it or something that he could use to defend himself. He ran as fast as he could and refused to fall for any reason.
The lake was as still as glass and the darkness was coming, faster than it had ever came in the history of Cadillac Lake. The trees stopped swaying with the wind, it was if time was standing still and every second seemed like an eternity.
Phil made it to the manager’s cabin and pushed open the door. He immediately grabbed a heavy wooden bench and pushed it against the door. The windows were filthy, he couldn’t see all of the way back to the cabin but he knew that for now he was safe.
"What in the hell are you doing you little shit? " said a small man from behind a desk.
"What the . . . hey listen I’m Phil I rented the cabin up there," Phil said out of breath.
The man did not seem too interested in why this man was blocking his door. He sat down in his chair and lit a cigarette.
"There is something out there. I just saw a girl in cabin one. She was naked and covered in blood, " Phil said hoping to get a reaction out of the calm man.
"I never rented you anything, I don’t rent no more."
"Ok, whatever you need to get someone out here. There is a guy in the boat with no fucking head! " Phil screamed.
I just left from the lake and I didn’t see no man with no head but what I do see is a trespassing son of a bitch! " the man screamed back.
"You’ve got to be shitting me," Phil said as he watched the man reach under his desk.
Phil had seen many movies and in all of them when someone reached under a counter in anger, they always come up with a shotgun. And just as he had feared the man had a shotgun in his hands. The old man could barely hold the gun in his hands. Phil knew that he had a better chance with the girl and the head-thrower than the slugs from the gun.
"Get the fuck out of here for I fill you full of lead!"
Just as fast as he entered the room he threw the bench out of the way and was out of the door. The air was thick and a fog was hovering over the lake. He left all of his belongings in his cabin. He had to get the keys to the Jeep and his cell phone. The faster that he ran, the shadows from the trees followed him.
Phil looked over at the lake and saw the girl kneeling in the middle of the lake. She was on top of the water as if something was holding her up but it wasn’t. Phil started to run as fast as he could. With everyone of his steps the animal would crawl twice as fast. Her hair covered her eyes and she had moaned like a cat in heat.
Phil made it to his cabin and grabbed his bag from his bed and went to the door. Before he had a chance to open it, he could hear the animal scratching in it. The sound was etched into the soul of Phil.
He ran to the back of the cabin and saw a small window in the bathroom. He picked up a small statue that was in the bathroom and threw it at the window instantly shattering it. He then jumped through it and found himself in the middle of the woods. All he wanted to do was get back to the Jeep and get back to Manhattan.
He ran frantically to get back on the path to get back where the Jeep was. He looked through the trees and saw the animal standing on the top of his cabin. She saw him and leaped down. She was like a lioness in her pursuit, her back arched and galloping toward him. Phil reached into his bag and felt his keys in his hand. He made it to the trail that lead back down to the manager’s office. It felt like time was standing still and maybe even going backwards as he tried to get there.
As he got to the manager’s cabin he looked around like a crazy man for the Jeep, to his dismay it was gone.
"There ain’t nothing for you here your son of a bitch, " the old man said as he stood on the cabin’s porch still holding the shotgun.
Phil started to cry and could not speak to the man. All he could do was point toward the animal that was in pursuit of him. He fell down on his knees’ and knew that whatever that was going to happen to him was going to happen now.
He stood and turned his back to the old man. He saw the animal coming at him full force. He raised his hands to the heavens and said the quickest prayer that had ever been said in his mind.
Just as the animal hit Phil he flew five feet in the air with the animal’s mouth wrapped around his throat.
One month later
Phil sat behind the manager’s desk. A young couple handed him a credit card and a driver license.
"Welcome to Cadillac Lake, how did you folks hear about us?" Phil said as he tightly gripped a machete under the desk.
IN THE END THE LAS WILL BE FIRST.