Chapter 3:

The Road Trip Begins

Missing Reel


Monday, at noon, Syd was loading up the snacks her mom bought into the back of Jules' car.

“This is why I love your mom. She just gets me!”


Stars formed in Jules eyes as she stared at the 3 boxes of snack in her trunk. Syd pushed Jules to the side when she saw that Jules started to drool. She loaded her bag into the trunk and closed it.


“Finding Brimstone first. Food later.”


They loaded into the car and headed off. Speeding through the familiar sights of their hometown before being off into the unknown territory.


“Horror music or an audio drama?”


Syd pulled out her phone to pick something out for them to listen too. Jules gnawed at some jerky while making a decision.


“Audio Drama.”


Syd played the first episode of Quatermass Vaccine, a sci-fi horror about a scientist who tries to make a cure for an outbreak using an unknown genome as the base. Music that sounds ripped from a 50s horror movie filled the car. It helped bring life to the barren landscape they raced across. They were an hour out from their hometown when Syd spotted a man in a makeshift store.


“Hey, let's ask that guy if he knows where Brimstone is.”


Jules turned down the audio drama and pulled over to the guy. Inside a cardboard frame was a stocky guy. He had an unsettling stare attributed to his eyes that seemed like a dead cow's eyes. When Syd came into his view, he motioned to a single pineapple that stood on top of the cardboard.


“Want some fruit? 4 shells.”


His voice was harsh, as if a grater was against his vocal cords. Syd ignored the fruit offer and asked the man a question.


“Do you know where Brimstone is?”


“Why would I know where toothpaste is? Don't sell that. Want some fruit?”


“Um. No, thanks! Well be on our way.”


“Wait!”


The man bent down behind the cardboard. The sounds of thing basing against stuff rattled the air. Suddenly a growl shuddered the cardboard. The man popped back up holding a glass jar. Inside the jar was a black gelatinous thing. It coiled and latched around the walls of the jar. The thing stop and waited. A crawl traveled down Syd's back. It was like the creature was staring at her. The thing squished itself into a ball. A black pillar rose from the ball and started to shimmer. Multiple undescribable colors started to dance down the pillars back into the ball, giving it a surreal glow. Syd danced her nails against the car door, signalling to Jules.


“Special deal! Fifteen shells. It's a Gallus stolen from Eden Island. The crazy mad scientist there tried….”


The car peeled off, leaving the guy to continue to ramble off his special deal to himself. The girls sat there in silence, trying to figure out what they just witness. Jules was the first one to break the silence. She looked at the gas, then made a noise, bringing Syd's attention to her.


“Kinda sad that you're wearing that.”


Syd looked in confusion at Jules' statement. She was just wearing a flannel shirt that belonged to her dad.


“What's wrong with this?”


“Not enough cleavage. Didn't bring enough money to fill my car back up, so was hoping you would. You know, show some. Just so we could get the price down.”


Syd just stared at Jules.


“You didn't fill the tank before we left?”


“I kinda got distracted picking out what movies to bring on this trip that I forgot.”


There was a gas station up ahead. Syd figured that Jules wanted to fill up now than later since she forgot to do it before. Syd unbuttoned a few of the flannel shirt and started to fluff up her hair.


“Get the bat ready”


“This baby is always ready!”


The gas station was a lot more rundown than they thought. You would think that it was out of business since all the windows were boarded up. The only sign that it was still operational was the green open light that shined in front of the door.


“It's a self-service station.”


Syd didn't feel like going in to the place now, and quickly found a way to not go.


“There's no place to put in money tho”


Jules was right. That seem contradictory that this self serve gas station wasn't really self server. Syd thought about it for a bit, then headed towards the front door. It opened with ease. Syd was hoping the same contradiction applied to the open sign. Dust flew out of the store, then a surprising sweet smell came also.


The candy like smell eased Syd's nerves as she entered the store. It was dusty but surprisingly was kept in great shape. Syd went up to check the sell date on a bag of chips in front of her. Only a couple of days left.


“Man, this is an odd gas station.”


The front door finally closed, which darkened the place. There was enough light in the store that kept the gas station barely visible. A shadow moved up from the register, putting Syd on alert.


“Yeah it is. I wish it would just close already, but I need the job.”


A tired voice came from the shadow as it turned the brightness of lights up a notch. The light revealed a woman in her 20s rubbing her eyes awake. She was wearing a red jacket that had “Midnight Gas” stitched on the left breast. It went well with the red splotch that was on the girl's pale face.


“So, what you need?”


“Need gas.”


Syd approached the counter. She held out her phone as she reached, making sure the notes app was open.


“And directions to Brimstone, if you know where it is?”


The name of the town shot the cashier eyes open. A smile crept on to her face. All lips, no teeth.


“Now, why would a young girl like yourself want to go to Brimstone? It's rundown, no more residents that would enjoy your.”


She took a good at Syd. Her golden eyes scanned her up and down.


“Assets.”


“I'm looking for a lost movie and I think it would be there!”


Syd was unfazed by the cashier's actions. Her reaction means she might know where it is! Syd silently thanked Jules, forgetting to fill up the tank. This was going to be a quick trip with this kind of luck.


“Well, that makes sense, a lost movie might be there, but it's not a place for something a sweet as you.”


The cashier steady her smile at Syd as her nose moved so slightly. Syd wasn't going to stop there. This could be the only person for miles that would know the location.


“Please, I really need this information…”


Syd looked at the girl's jacket to find anything that seemed like her name.


“Carmilla.”


She put her arm under her chest. Syd blinked playfully as she pushed up her chest. The flannel shirt struggled to hold back her boobs. It was a desperate play by Syd to see if she could get the information. Carmilla busted out laughing. She laughed so hard, the other side of her face started to redden. Syd broke her flirtatious pose as Carmilla wiped her tears from her eyes.


“Sorry, I don't partake in the wilds of flesh anymore. But if you're quick to go to hell.”


Carmilla took the phone and wrote out the directions to Brimstone. While typing, she saw a Sunii message pop up on the screen from Jules saying how much money in gas to get. Carmilla handed the phone back while getting the order ready.


“Thank you so much!”


“Don't mention it, kid. If you guys are sticking around there for a while, I'll come visit when on my next day off.”


“Deal! So why are the windows boarded up?”


“Ah, just want to ask a bunch of questions, huh? Sunlight and I don't mix.”


Syd leaned forwarded. She rested her chest on the counter, flashing a playful smile. It was a pose similar to when she asked Mr Berman;


“What's your favorite horror movie?”


Carmilla mimicked Syd's pose. She flashed a smile, revealing 4 sharp canines in her mouth.


“La Seduione di Carmilla”


It took sometime for Syd to get what movie she was talking about. It was an old film from the 80s. An art house horror movie about the fall of a virgin girl into queen of the Vampires. What clicked with Syd is that the girl had the same name as the cashier.


“Don't worry, my dad didn't name me after some movie character”


A light small laugh escaped from her. Her eyes became hollow as she fixed herself from Syd's pose. She grabbed a cherry soda out from behind her. Carmilla chugged the drink in seconds, wiping the red stains from her mouth. She took out two other cans of the same drink, putting them in Syd's cleavage. The coldness of the drink made Syd shake, but she didn't look away from the growing sadness in Carmilla's eyes.


“It's just an unfortunate coincidence. Have good time at Brimstone now.”
A.A.Androun
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