“We’re going under so you’ll lose service, just remember if it’s a left or a right once we get out.” Brian expressed to Dougie as they drove into the Lincoln Tunnel.
A pair of friends heading into Manhattan for a night out with their girlfriends. Brian drives his beat up Toyota while Dougie navigates on his phone. The girls, Aisha and Gwen, sit in the back and talk about nonsensical things to pass time. Their plan is to enjoy the night, away from school and work, but no one could have guessed what was going to happen.
“It says it’s a left when we get out.” Dougie explained.
“I can remember a left.” Brian added.
“I’m sure I can too but I’m also sure that traffic is gonna be miserable once we hit the city.” Dougie expressed.
He looked out the window and gazed at the lights in the tunnel. Rays of yellow and shadows flash on and off as they make their way through. Dougie is usually the realist in any given group and it often comes off as being the guy to rain on everyone’s parade. He was looking forward to enjoying his night out with Aisha.
He continued to glare at the lights in the tunnel, the same continuous sight, as the others went on with a gentle banter to pass the time. The music was off since there was no signal in the tunnel so all they had was picking on each other. A joke about Gwen’s big feet and Brian’s hatred for Nicholas Cage were a few of the numerous exchanges the slipped into Dougie’s blank thoughts as he began to notice something odd on the road. It may have just been a coincidence but he began to realize that they were the only ones on the road. No other cars were in front of them or behind them. He thought about this until Aisha grabbed his attention to help her remember the name of a movie they saw. He wasn’t paying attention to their conversation, he only answered her and brought his attention back to his window. He couldn’t make sense of it but something didn’t seem right to him.
“Hey guys.” he said aloud. “Anyone got a weird feeling in their gut?”
“What do you mean?” Brian asked.
“I don’t know.” he replied. “Something just doesn’t feel right.”
“I think you’re just overthinking again, babe.” Aisha added.
“Yeah. Maybe you’re right.” Dougie allowed himself to lose the thought but still couldn’t shake the feeling in his gut.
He continued to stare outside at the passing lights, the yellow hues investing his vision, for what felt like hours if it was minutes. The feeling in his gut got bigger and caused more worry in his mind.
“We should’ve been out of the tunnel by now don’t ya think?” he turned and asked Brian.
“It’s a long tunnel under the water dude. It’ll probably be another 5 minutes or so.” Brian replied.
“I don’t remember it ever taking this long.” Dougie said.
“He’s got a point.” Gwen added. “I feel like we’ve been in this tunnel forever.”
“And I haven’t seen another car since we entered.” Dougie’s tone began to sound nervous.
Brian looked at Dougie than out at the road as he continued to drive. He was skeptical but he couldn’t help but also notice that there were no other cars on the road.
“I think you’re both nuts.” he finally spoke up. “Look the second we get around that bend, you’ll see the road slope up out of the tunnel to the street lights.” He said with confidence and continued to drive.
They drove and drove and it seemed as if the turn around the bend was never reached.
“You see what I mean.” Dougie said frantically.
“See what?” Brian asked.
“You’ve been going round this bend for so long, either we’re spiraling down to the bottom of the ocean or we’re going around in circles.” he explained.
Brian stared out of the front of the car and thought to himself for a second. The girls in the back also glared out of their windows.
“Think about it.” Dougie went on. “Something is definitely wrong here.”
Brian, still trying to keep to his skepticism, shook off his nervous look and chuckled.
“Ya know, I think you’re working too hard. Your brain is a bit fried.” he said.
“Come on man, can’t you see it?” Dougie begged.
“That’s just my point. Look out there. All there is are these damn yellow lights that keep going on and on and on and we still haven’t gotten around that bend.”
Brian gripped the steering wheel and put his foot on the break. The girls and Dougie all stared at him as his eyes wondered over the road in front of them.
“And there hasn’t been another car for a long time.” Dougie added.
“How..” Brian fought to find the words but eventually shook his head and got out of the car.
Following behind him was Gwen as he marched to the front of the car and gazed down the road.
“Brian!” Gwen shouted.
“How is this possible?” Brian expressed in bewilderment.
Dougie and Aisha both got out of the car and joined the other two at the front. Aisha stared back at the road behind them and saw the identical nothingness that lied in front of them. They were surrounded by nothing by concrete and the yellow lights illuminating the road.
“How is this possible man?” Brian expressed again.
“I don’t know.” Dougie said. “I’m having trouble coping with this idea myself but somehow…” he paused for a moment.
“Somehow what?” Gwen asked.
“…we’re stuck in this tunnel.” he finished.
“No.” Aisha said. “No. We can’t be. How can we be stuck here? There’s no collapsed section. We haven’t hit any dead ends. We’re all just losing our minds over nothing. Let’s get back in the car and keep going.”
“She’s right.” Gwen added. “You guys are just trying to scare us.”
The girls went back to the car as Dougie and Brian shared a concerned glance at one another before they too went back to the car.
They continued driving down the road, the yellow lights glaring into the car. Brian gripped the steering wheel hard, Dougie and the girls continued to stare out the window wondering if this was merely in their minds. Brian glanced down at his dashboard and noticed something else that filled him with dread.
“We’re running out of gas.” he said with grief.
“This is unreal.” Gwen bellowed hysterically as she glanced from the window down to her lap. “This can’t be happening.”
“It’s ok, Gwen. It’ll be ok.” Aisha tried to reassure her.
“How is this happening?” Gwen shouted as she began to cry.
“What are we gonna do?” Dougie asked Brian.
“I don’t know. But I’m gonna keep going until this makes sense.” Brian replied.
Dougie sat with his face in his hands, Aisha attempted to console Gwen in the back as she cried. Minutes turned into an hour. Than another hour and still no difference in their surroundings. Brian fought to keep his eyes opened, both hands white knuckled the wheel. He looked over to Dougie who was fighting falling asleep and up at his review mirror where he saw Gwen and Aisha had already fallen asleep. He than glanced down to his dashboard shocked. The gas meter was reading empty. But he was still driving.
“How?” he asked himself. “How am I still going?”
He looked over to Dougie who had given in and fallen asleep. He tried to wake him up but he wouldn’t get up. He looked into the mirror again to check on the girls and what he saw made him slam down on the breaks sending his and Dougies head slamming forward. He looked back holding his brow in shock.
The girls were gone.
“Gwen?” he called for her.
He got out of the car and shouted down through the tunnel.
“Gwen! Aisha!” no reply. No where to be seen.
He was confused. He peeked into the car to try waking up Dougie and discovered that he too had vanished.
“What?” Brian exclaimed in disbelief. “Where is everyone?” he stepped back from the car and began to search the car all around, shouting their names.
No reply. No where to be seen. Just the glare of the yellow lights.
Brian got back into his car and sat for a minute. He began to laugh uncontrollably which turned into tears and sobbing. He was confused. He didn’t know what to do. He slammed his hands on the horn causing the beep to fill the void of the silent tunnel. He was tired. He couldn’t think of anything else to do but he pulled himself together, used his shirt to wipe his face, than shut the door to his car. He turned the car on and kept driving.
The yellow lights never glimmered or darkened. They were a constant reminder to Brian as he continued down this endless tunnel alone. Fighting sleep, he drove on. Onward, into the abyss of the yellow light. Forward, through the emptiness of the open road. Forward, into the tunnel.