I’m writing this from a hotel as a warning to anyone that might be making a cross country trip.
We’re driving from Seattle to Wisconsin, and last night we were in the middle of nowhere. The fact that Kimmy and I both have a lack of any proper sleep schedule meant that we’d decided to forego a hotel and just drive through the night. We were taken off the freeway due to a detour, and ended up on State Road 200, a long, straight road with high hills and mountains on either side. It was startlingly dark outside; the moon was only a sliver, and we thought it was odd that there weren’t many stars out. We hadn’t seen another vehicle in at least two hours, and besides our eyes being relatively adjusted to the darkness the only light we had was our car’s headlights.
We’d stopped at what was without question the rapiest 24-hour gas station in the country about 15 miles back when all of the sudden we heard what sounded like a gunshot, followed by our front left tire wobbling off the rim. I pulled off to the side of the road and we both got out of the car, me to change the tire and Kimmy to hold the flashlight on her phone for me.
Out of habit I turned the car off when we exited, and given that we were in the middle of nowhere, the only sounds surrounding us were cicadas and the trees swaying from the ocasional gust of wind. That being the case, the sound of rustling coming from the hills that began a short distance to our left was quite apparent. Kimmy and I both looked across the street behind us, but the darkness only allowed us to see so far. We weren’t afraid of anything paranormal or anything like that, our worry stemmed from the prospect of animals.
I went back to getting the tire off, but a few moments later, we heard it again. It sounded like it was off a little ways, so we turned back around and continued, picking up the pace a bit. I had just taken the tire off, the bolts were all collected in an empty McDonalds cup from earlier in our trip. I had turned to my side to grab the spare tire when we heard the sounds again, but this time we ignored them.
And then the brightest light either of us have ever seen flooded the entire area. It was absolutely blinding. We both let out a “what the fuck?” and shielded our eyes, trying to find the source of the illumination. My eyes adjusted just enough to see at least three massive flood lamps that were spread across the hills. We were more confused than anything, because lights aren’t really anything to be afraid of. I’m going to illustrate the following image as well as I can.
Kimmy must have noticed them first, because she whispered “what is that?”. I squinted my eyes and just barely made out several figures descending the hills towards us. They were just silhouettes in the bright light, just vague shapes of people trudging through the tall grass, all spread out over maybe 25 yards. There was no house, no building, no structure from which the figures emerged, at least none that we could see. That’s when I heard something behind us.
I quick turned around and saw even more figures, those these ones I was able to get a look at. These figures weren’t just silhouettes, they were fully visible in the sea of light, and it was infinitely more horrifying. They were dressed in what I can only describe as traditional hillfolk garb. Torn, filthy flannel, blue jean overalls, one stick thin, the next overweight. But it was their faces – or rather what they had over their faces – that truly made my heart sink to my stomach.
They wore crudely-made circular masks that I would guess were made from paper plates. The faces on the white surfaces were scribbled on, and each one looked to be expressing a different emotion. I hope you can understand why I didn’t sit there and examine them.
This entire situation had been going on for about ten seconds at this point. I told Kimmy to get in the car, opening the driver’s side door and all but shoving her in. As she crawled into the passenger’s seat and started the engine, I maneuvered the spare tire on and spun two bolts about halfway as far as they could turn before I ran out of time. I yanked the car jack from its spot as hard as I could, dropping the front left of the car to the ground. As the people from our side of the street closed in, I hopped in the car and put it in drive. Instead of slamming on the gas, as I feel anyone would be wont to do in that situation, I lurched forward in an attempt to keep the tire on while still going fast enough to escape whatever the intentions of the hill people were.
This lasted for maybe 35 yards before the spare tire broke off and that car wasn’t going to go anywhere else. Kimmy and I got out of the car and began sprinting down the road. I looked back and saw the hill people running after us; there must have been 15 of them all spread out across the street. There wasn’t really anything on either side of the road, just open land with the occasional tree and the bordering hills.
I don’t even remember what I was thinking at that moment, but I know that both Kimmy and myself were given a boost of energy when a pair of headlights came into view from atop a hill down the road. I held my phone’s flashlight up and pointed it up and down in a sort of rudimentary SOS manner. It then occurred to me that whoever was in the car could’ve been one of them, but I figured that if that were the case, there was nothing that could be done, so I continued flashing the light. The hill people yelled behind us; it was all incomprehensible, but it definitely sounded threatening.
Then the approaching headlights flipped to their high-beams. Kimmy and I started waving our arms wildly, hoping that this person would stop, or at the very least not run us over. We had about 20 yards between us and our pursuers when the car slowed to a stop. A man stuck his head out the window as we sprinted to him and yelled at us to get in, no doubt seeing the masked rednecks behind us, illuminated by his headlights. We both jumped into his back seat and he made a wide u-turn. Kimmy and I looked behind us, and in the red glow that the taillights gave off we saw our pursuers stop in the middle of the road, then slowly walk off the road in both directions, melting back into the darkness.
The man’s name was Matthew, and he absolutely saved our lives. We called the police from the car but didn’t stop driving until we got to the next gas station, which was about an hour from where our tire had blown. It wasn’t open, but it gave the police somewhere to meet us. They eventually arrived, we talked to them, told them where everything had happened, and after Kimmy’s firm refusal to go back to the scene, they drove us to the nearest town and paid for a motel room for us.
We’re safe now; they have an officer parked right outside our room, so I doubt anything else exciting is going to happen, thus negating the need for an update. I just wanted to get this all down for everyone as a warning:
AVOID STATE ROAD 200 THROUGH MONTANA AT ALL COSTS