Spotless Record

Every nascent road trip is incomplete without tourist traps. Tiny title spots found everywhere along the interstates, tourist traps divert attention from the trail ahead. That’s what makes them traps. Every driver may have duties and responsibilities, but a few hours in a haunted hotel or underneath a strange statue would make anyone insouciant.

The king of the roadside attraction is the mystery spot. A strange breed, mystery spots topple the illusory sense of normalcy that daily life warrants. There’s nothing normal at a mystery spot.

Chip hopped off the back of the truck, waving to the driver. The driver gave him a tentative wave, shaking his head. It was harder and harder lately to hitch a ride lately. It was probably his age. When he was in his teens, he came across as bohemian and free-wheeling, and getting a ride was a cinch. Now he seemed eccentric and out-of-touch, and everyone chided him for his choice in lifestyle. Armed with a cassette player, a bowtie, and a Polaroid, he wasn’t exactly average.

Chip walked straight past the shack. Undoubtedly it would offer trinkets and souvenirs, but that wasn’t why he came. He came for the hills. As he walked further, the cries of birds grew louder and louder. There it was. A bird flying straight into the ground, its wings moving backwards. There were a few cars today, testing out the hill’s vaunted magnetic properties. They were always unimpressed until the car started rolling uphill.

Chip couldn’t care less about the cars, or he birds. He was here for something greater. He took out his favorite stone. Uncut and untouched cassiterite, on a band of twine. He put it around his neck. He closed his eyes, and he listened. There was the pulsing. The ebb of flow that the hills could give him access to. He reached out for the nearest tourist with his mind and his stone, and watched him crumple to the ground with a satisfying thump, blood beginning to spill.

Chip whistled as he walked downhill, pocketing the necklace. He loved mystery spots. They had the most fascinating people.


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