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Yuki: We’re rounding corner and soon to be on the home stretch for Christmas.
Assistant: Man, this year really is going by fast…
Yuki: It has been, yes.
Assistant: …That’s not you, is it?
Yuki: No! I mean…I don’t think it is anyway. Why? Have you noticed anything with the systems? I can start to run diagnostics.
Assistant: It’s okay, it’s okay! Really. It was just a joke, Yuki (mostly).
Yuki: Geez. You really got my heart going. And we haven’t even checked in with Nicole and her kids. I think we should go ahead and do that now while we’re still pumped!
Assistant: While you’re still pumped, but yeah, tuning into the Void now!
Next audio log:
Country roads, take me…outta Kansas.
Hoo-boy. I’ve never seen so much nothing…ever. Cows. Open land. Rows of crops.
We are in the aptly-named White City. Crackers as far as the eye can see. Not so much as a suntan. The only color here is the red on the back of everyone’s necks. Jesus. You’re hard-pressed to even find a book shop–Christian ones don’t count. For one, they never have anything good to read. And, two, whenever we do go in–more or less to get out of the weather or to stretch our legs or use the bathroom, the ancient staff always give us the dirtiest looks. How dare I, a single mother, bring my children into their sacred space. I’m always tempted to get a cheap-ass ring to keep the unwanted stares and lectures away.
Ugh…small towns, man. They’re great for us to hide in, but fuck ‘em. Seriously.
Thankfully we said goodbye to Kansas and made our way into southern Nebraska. We’re just past a village called Cowles. Though “village” may insinuate the town had some decent scale to it. I think there are, like, ten streets total, and they may outnumber the population.
I had it circled on the map for us to find a place to set up camp. No dice. This place is too small. If there is anyone around, they’ll certainly know strangers from neighbors.
We’ve got enough gas to get us up to a place called Blue Hill. Considerably more streets on the map along with a gas station and a couple places to stay…at the very least I can feed the girls and the car.
Next audio log:
Nicole: Oh, ho-lee shit! Guys, you aren’t gonna fuckin’ believe this…Crystal Lake. There’s a goddamn Crystal Lake here–even better, there’s a campground set up there. Fucking Camp Crystal Lake. I really know I shouldn’t…but I’m going to anyway…the girls are using the gas station bathroom now, so I can plot this out. And I know I said these tapes were for actual scientific purposes–but since I’m not a scientist, I’m gonna record everything for posterity. So, c’mon, let’s do this.
(car door opens)
(footsteps across gravel and pavement)
(phone comes off the hook with a dial tone)
Nicole: (whispers) C’mon. Wake me up early and make me pack up and drive–paybacks is a bitch.
(door opens and closes in the distance)
(phone hangs up)
Riley: (from the distance) Who you callin’?
Nicole: Motel. Sign’s broken. They’re full-up. We’ll have to stay somewhere else.
(door creaks open again, more footsteps approach)
Nicole: Alright, troops, looks like we’re campin’ out again. We’re gonna grab some groceries–see if there’s a Mickey D’s around here.
Nicole: Hey, I can’t help if the only motel in town is booked up. Ten miles up the road, we’ve got a campground with a lake!
Zelda: But it’s too cold to go swimming…
Nicole: (sighs) You can still swim after Labor Day; it’s not a set-in-stone rule that applies to everyone, everywhere. It’s still decent out. The water might be great. You’ll need to wash up still…I’ll have a fire going before you get in.
(agreement all around)
Nicole: If nothing else, it should be a great view.
Annabelle: Can we get a camera?
Nicole: We can’t lose the photos, okay? We’ll see if the grocery store has a Kodak disposable at checkout or something.
Nicole: But…this will have to be the last thing besides food or bed. We’re not critical on funds. But we will need to shop so I can work for a bit, okay? If we get a camera, make sure the thing lasts.
Nicole: Alright. Car. We shop first.
Next audio log:
(crackled audio, slightly muffled)
(car doors close, seat belts buckle, car engine starts)
Nicole: Alright. Won’t be too long. Only a few miles straight down from the motel.
Annabelle: Mom? Sign said they had room.
Riley: It’s broken. Mom called them earlier while you were stinking up the stalls.
Annabelle: I was not!
Riley: Yeah you w–
Nicole: Guys! Come on now! Just give me five minutes! We’ll be there and you all can give each other some space.
(a sigh from the back)
(trip continues with the hum of the engine, indistinct conversation in the back of the car, and the occasional woosh of a passing car)
Nicole: Yup; just around the bend here. A change up from all the open fields and crops.
Jaden: Wait! What did that sign say!?
Riley: I didn’t see it…there’s another one coming up.
Riley: You gotta be shittin’ me…
(collective clamoring and panicking)
Nicole: (openly laughing) It’s just a name!
Zelda: I don’t want Jason coming after me!
Nicole: (still laughing) You know those movies aren’t real. Don’t be scared! Zel, Jason never went after little kids…I mean, mostly. He only went after teenagers.
Jaden: Thank, Mom. My turn for bad dreams.
Nicole: Oh, you will not have nightmares.
Jaden: I’ve got Friday the 13th on my mind and we’re gonna be out in the spooky woods. Safe bet I will.
Nicole: It’s beautiful out here! The wood aren’t…too spooky.
Nicole: I’m sure the sunset over the water will be lovely, so save some film for that.
(more indistinguishable panicked conversation in the back)
Cell phone voicemail:
I think we may have spotted them coming in from Kansas. Honda Civic with the matching plates.
We put a tail on them and kept a quarter mile back. They’re north of Blue Hill, Nebraska They’re at campsite. I’ve sent the coordinates. We’re keeping a close eye on them now.
It’s the off-season, so they’re the only ones taking a camping spot. Should be an easy extraction tonight. I’ll keep you posted.
Next call, we should have all five in custody.
Radio transmissions (fragmented):
Charlie: Road closure barricade up. No one coming in or going out.
Alpha: Roger that. Bravo, Delta; confirm.
Delta: Western perimeter along Scott Creek is clear. Troops in place.
Bravo: North to east of Crystal Lake is covered. If anyone comes through the treeline, we’ll see them.
Alpha: Copy, Bravo; Delta. Alpha team has arrived on the campgrounds. Approaching target now. Standby.
Next audio log:
Nicole: (whispering) Motherfucker! Not a drill. Not a drill!
(hysterical jabbering in the background)
Nicole: Riley, shush! Go back and keep watch over Zelda and Annabelle!
Jaden: (in the distance) What about me?
Nicole: You’re coming with.
Nicole: Stay close.
Jaden: What the hell is that?
Nicole: Dunno. Uhh…for anyone listening to these tapes in the future, there’s a fog settled over Crystal Lake and there’s a weird, yellow-ish glow in parts of the fog, I can barely see it through the trees.
(grass swishing, twigs snapping, and leaves crackling)
Nicole: It’s dead quiet. There’s no sound coming from the direction…
Jaden: (quiet) L-look!
Nicole: Christ…it’s moving. The light is moving! I can’t see the brightest part–the trees have blocked it…but the light is spreading out…like snakes weaving between the trees. Fuck. It looks like…glowing tentacles? They’re rising up from the grass. There’s so many of them…Here, Jay, follow me. Stay away from the light. There’s gotta be a way through to get a better look.
Nicole: Jaden? What’s wrong?
Jaden: (stammering, hoarse) O-o-over there! It’s–
Nicole: (quiet) Jason Voorhees…what the fuck. Shh, shh, shh! Calm down! See!? He’s walking away. We’re going back to camp now.
(running, staggered breathing)
(machine gun fire in the distance)
Nicole What the fuck!?
Assistant: Holy crap!
Yuki: What the hell is going on!?
Assistant: I don’t know! The readings are all fine on our end! Hang on, double-checking…no…it’s definitely not us this time!
Yuki: Triple-checking…dah-dah-dah…shit…it’s not us.
Assistant: That’s good though right?
Yuki: Good for us and our system? Yes. Good for the universe? No.
Yuki: (pointing to The Void) Something in there. Shut the viewing down. I’m gonna have to go in for a look and take some readings.
Assistant: Wait! Yuki, don’t go in there!