Roadside Attraction: Part 2
Read PART 1 here
Scott shifted in his seat, not wanting to get out of the car alone. With the Dark that sounded far too much like Reggie (and, simultaneously, nothing like him) growing louder in the shadow of the Spire, he felt as if he would step out into its view and it would reach down and swallow him into oblivion. That’s stupid; don’t be stupid Scottie. You’re on edge because you’ve been in a funk lately and who wouldn’t be? You don’t think anyone else who’s seen–
Tony’s voice broke him from his thoughts. For a moment, Scott worried he might have said something aloud again. He shook his head and asked, “Say what?”
“I said, ‘You ready or what?’”
Tony sounded a bit perturbed, but still unaware of the thoughts running through Scott’s head. He nodded and zipped up his thin jacket. “Yeah. Let’s do this.”
They both stepped out of the car and stared up at the massive structure. Tony slapped him on his shoulder as he started towards the welcome office. “Looks like we get to stretch our legs at least.”
Scott continued to take in the Spire. “Yeah, we do.” From this close, he could make out strange markings along the surface. There were outcroppings and what looked to be openings along its outer walls that could have served as a type of balcony if the entire thing was flipped on its head. Then he realized Tony was about to walk through the front door and he hurried to catch up. The Spire felt like a slumbering giant, ready to wake at any moment and Scott did not want to be caught alone when it did.
As they approached he saw bright yellow lettering on a sign in the window read, “Come take a tour in the Spire!”
Please, be closed or under construction, please. This just isn’t right.
To Scott’s chagrin, the door opened with ease, striking a small bell to announce their entrance to whoever was the owner of the old Jeep. The inside of the welcome office was normal enough with an endless amount of tourism fliers full of local maps, small blurbs about Wella, a review for one of the local restaurants.
One caught Scott’s eye that featured the Spire in an old photo. He took it from the rack and saw that it was a compilation of newspaper and magazine articles spanning from the ’60s to the late ’80s. “Come see the modern marvel that defies your imagination!” read a headline from October 27, 1972. The date caught him by the throat and threw him into a haze.
[The day Reggie Bit the Bullet.]
Yeah, 3 decades later. It’s a coincidence, nothing more than that.
[You and I both know that don’t roll here in Donesville, Scottie. No such thing.]
A distinct New England voice came from behind the counter, startling Scott. “Well lookit both of you!”
He turned to see a young woman with dark curly hair. She wore a yellow T-Shirt with a cartoon rendition of the unnerving structure outside and the words “get in-SPIRED” in a blue, bubbly font beneath it.
“We don’t normally get too many strangers here anymore.” She wore a wide smile and smacked away at a wad of chewing gum as she spoke.
Tony leaned against the counter between them. “Yeah, I’ll be honest– we’d never heard of the Spire before seeing the sign for it out on the highway, but it looks awesome.” Scott fumbled the flier into his back pocket as he joined Tony.
“Really?” the woman said, still chewing and smiling away. “A sign, huh?”
Tony and Scott exchanged a glance.
Did she not know about the billboard?
“Uh, yeah,” Tony said, “it talked about your famous tour you got going on here. You’re still doing tours, right?”
Please say no, please say no.
She steadied her eyes on Scott’s and the smile wavered for a moment. Scott raised his eyebrows casually, but inside panicked that she somehow felt his unease. “Well, I’m glad you decided to follow it,” she said, not looking away from Scott. “Got to stretch the legs, and no better way to do that than a walking tour.” Her eyes squinted as she chuckled.
Tony, being a good sport, chuckled along. “Yeah!” He gave Scott another playful pat on the shoulder. “Just what Scottie was thinking, right?”
Scott glanced over at Tony, unsure of how to take the comment. He’s just joking, quit spazzing out. He nodded and gave a small shrug. “Yep, too many miles in that tuna can of car.” Why do I feel so uncomfortable with him using my name in front of her like that?
The woman walked to the end of the counter and flipped up a hinged section for them to come through. “Well right this way gentlemen. My name’s Suzie and I’ll be your guide today.” Suzie extended her arm towards a door behind her that presumably led out to the Spire.
[The end of all things Scottie.]
“Alright,” Tony led the way and Scott was careful to follow close behind.
Let’s just get it done with. You wanted out of the car and now we’re out. You’re just being paranoid about the whole thing. Scott knew that had to be the truth; it was a weird building and nothing more. He was on edge because of Reggie and this time of year, the rest was malarky built up by the Dark he’d allowed to fester for the past 12 months.
They passed through the door behind the counter and back outside along a roped off walkway that led to the Spire. The base looked to be no more than 10 square feet. As Scott looked up the structure’s outward curvatures looked to have grown hundreds of feet taller. He looked straight ahead as a pit in his stomach formed not dissimilar to the car sickness that had begun to form on the highway.
They were walking towards a large red door at the base. Scott had a moment of relief when he realized the tour might only include the one small room at the bottom.
As if on cue, Suzie began to recite information on the Spire as they neared the door. “The Spire’s been around since before I was born, built in 1963 by an industrial mogul by the name of Gallager Warren.” She motioned to the horizon on their left, and Scott could make out a series of buildings in the distance. “He had built up the steel mill in town starting in the 20’s and decided to start this project just before he died.”
They reached the door and Suzie placed her hand on the handle. “He called it the Conaltradh.”
“The hell does that mean?” Tony asked.
She was silent for a beat, smiling and chewing. For a moment Scott saw her right eye drift towards him independent of the left. Then he blinked and she was staring at Tony, with both eyes, again. “Couldn’t tell ya,” she said pleasantly. She then turned her back to them and, with a hefty shove, pushed the door open to the Spire.
[Conaltradh, that’s what she called it.]