Festival

This happened 10 years ago. I was free and bored during my first autumn at university, so I went out for a drive with three of my friends. We drove for about an hour to a depopulated area, looking around here and there, but there wasn’t especially anything interesting around, and next thing we knew, the sun was setting.

“Oh yeah, isn’t there supposed to be a ghost spot around here?” my friend A suddenly said. This was a time before smart phones and the reception was terrible, so we weren’t able to look it up, but we followed A’s instincts and drove around to find it.

Summer was about at its end and the days getting shorter, so everything around us grew dim.

“Ah, it’s starting to get creepy now!” A said, excited. “Turn right there,” he said quickly, relying on his instincts. Something didn’t feel right to me, but everyone else was excited and getting worked up.

As everything around us grew pitch black, we saw a building to the left of us. It looked like a small building you might see at any station in the countryside, the types that sell local vegetables and stuff.

“Is this it?” B asked.

“No, not here,” A said.

“Yeah, it looks like a regular station,” I said. The building was dark but didn’t look that old, so we went straight past it.

Everyone fell silent as we drove along a creepy mountain road, and before long we could hear the sound of drums and flutes in the distance.

“Hey, is that a festival?” C said.

“Sounds like it,” B agreed. “You wanna go check it out? And I gotta pee too.”

“Yeah, me too,” I said, and everyone started talking again, I think to get rid of the fear that lingered in silence.

After driving for a while we again came upon a station the same as the one we’d just seen on the left hand side of the road.

“Huh? Isn’t that the same place?” I said.

“No way, maybe we circled around,” B said.

Still. It looked exactly the same. “It’s a waste of taxpayer’s money building two buildings that look so similar so close together,” I bluffed, but honestly I was scared.

I soon realised what it was that was making things feel off.

I stopped the car in what looked like a parking lot. Even the asphalt felt old and crumbly. The building was locked with a chain and it appeared quite a bit of time had passed since then, so it was falling apart. There appeared to be a festival taking place nearby, and the buildings we could see in the dim light in the distance also looked creepy.

“Damn, doesn’t look like the toilets here are open,” B said.

“Gross, hurry up and go,” C and I said, returning to the car, but A had made his way to the edge of the parking lot and he screamed back at us.

“Hey! Over here! There’s a festival!”

“Do they have toilets? If not I’m gonna go piss over here,” B said.

“They do, come on!”

B, about to wet himself, quickly hurried after A. C and I looked at each other.

“A’s acting strange, don’t you think?” We both agreed and ran after them. A narrow path ran by the side of the building and led to a small open area with various red lanterns lined up.

We could hear drums and flutes that sounded like a recording, but I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. And although there were red lanterns everywhere, there were scarily no people.

“Huh, where did they go?” C asked.

“The toilets? But why is there nobody else here?” I said.

“Maybe it got cancelled?”

“I dunno, wouldn’t there still be staff here then?”

We got chills and continued chatting to each other quietly for several minutes.

“They’re taking too long, what the hell are they doing?” I said.

“Is there even a village anywhere around here?” C said.

“I dunno…”

A chill ran down my spine. It felt like we shouldn’t be there.

“Let’s go back to the car,” I said, and both of us rushed back. B was sitting inside when we got there.

“Huh? When did you…”

“What? I’ve been here the whole time, I never got out in the first place,” B said.

“Huh?”

“Where’s A?” I asked.

“A? Who’s that?”

“A… He came here with us.”

“Huh?”

Nothing made sense. According to B, only three of us came here; himself, C, and me. I clearly remembered A being with us, yet strangely none of his stuff was in the car. But looking back on the day, I could recall speaking with both C and A… but those memories were indeed weak.

I decided to try calling him, but all of our phones were out of range. Then we suddenly heard a loud, strange sound coming from the festival area.

“What the?”

“What’s that?”

The lights from all the lanterns had disappeared, and the only light was that coming from the car.

“Shit, shit!” I was about to lose it. “We’re leaving, get in!” B and C started to panic as well.

The strange sound went off again. I started the engine and sped off as fast as the car would go. The area was pitch black, but I still could see what looked like figures in the festival area in the rear-view mirror.

“H-Hey, check it out, behind us! Is that something following us?” I said.

“Shit, are you for real?” C said. He and B turned around, but it was too dark to tell. We turned back down the road we’d just come, and before long the station building came into sight.

“W-Wait, the lights, the lights are on!” C screamed.

“Earlier, that was… huh?” B said.

I was so focused on driving that I couldn’t look. Before long we hit the highway and relief took over, but my heart was still pounding.

“What the hell was that, seriously,” C said.

“What did you see before, B?” I asked.

“No… just… on the side of the road by the station there were so many people…” Normally that wouldn’t be so strange, but… “The parking lot and the building was full of dark figures… You think you’d hear at least one voice, right… but I couldn’t hear a thing… And they all seemed to be looking right at us…”

“What the hell?” I said. The car fell silent. “Oh yeah, come to think of it, we should try calling A.”

C tried calling him. A answered like nothing was wrong. He was out drinking with friends. I could hear people talking in the background, so it didn’t seem like he was lying. He had no idea we’d gone out for a drive.

Come to think of it, I couldn’t even remember who suggested we go for a drive in the first place.

Several years later I wanted to go for a drive back there again during the day, but I wasn’t able to find my way back there again.

What on earth did we see that day?

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