‘I think we’ve run out of gas,’ said Pierre.
‘That’s fairly obvious,’ replied his business partner, Andre.
‘Yes, ok,’ Andre’s wife Jacqueline interrupted. ‘How far are we from the nearest town?” She was always the practical one, which was why she ran their massage business and they did most of the massages.
‘I think it’s about five miles that-a-way,’ Pierre said, pointing north.
‘Well we haven’t seen much traffic so I suggest one of us starts walking,’ Jacqueline told them.
Andre volunteered to go thinking it might relieve the boredom. Pierre and Jacqueline settled back in the car to wait. They discussed their holiday and how bored they were with it.
‘We should have gone on safari. Whose dumb idea was it to come to Alaska anyway? All we’ve seen is snow,’ Pierre moaned. He knew it was Jacqueline’s idea and was trying to wind her up. She ignored his jibes.
‘I like the snow, but one can only take so much of it. We should have learnt to ski or snowboard or something.’
They settled into an uncomfortable silence until Andre returned. He’d caught a ride with a logging truck and he animatedly shook hands with the driver before he left. They acted like old friends, slapping each other on the back; laughing and joking.
‘At least someone’s having a good time,’ mumbled Pierre. He had never gotten along with his mate’s wife and more than half an hour stuck alone with her was unbearable. He wished he’d gone for the gas but his football injury meant he couldn’t walk far without pain.
The trio took off with the car coughing and spluttering.
‘Must have a bit of dirt in the gas tank or something,’ Andre decided.
They limped into a small village where Andre had gotten the gas. It looked very much like a ghost town out of an old western movie. Most of the buildings were in dire need of a good restoration job. The streets were quiet and muddy between drifts of snow. Pierre could almost see the gunslinger on the corner near the hotel. He thought he could smell horseshit too.
‘I hope this two bit hotel is better on the inside,’ he grumbled. His hopes were dashed as they entered into an earlier century. The bar looked as if it was hundreds of years old and had the scars of many a broken bottle. He couldn’t see any bullet holes anywhere, which was a bonus. ‘It’s a place to sleep and get a drink, that’s all I care about right now,’ he mumbled under his breath.
They all went to bed late, bellies bulging from an enormous meal and too much to drink. Around 2am Pierre woke, the hairs on the back of his neck bristling. He couldn’t see anything but felt the fear nonetheless. He presumed the alcohol was giving him bad dreams.
In the next room Andre and Jacqueline were also awake they too had heard something. They drifted off to sleep again but slept fitfully. They still felt lethargic the next morning and readily agreed with Pierre when he said, ‘Let’s get out of here,’ after breakfast.
The car was determined not to start and this seemed in the natural order of things just lately. They did not want to stay another night and tried everything to get transport out.
‘We won’t get a rental car in this hick town,’ said Pierre, sounding quite resigned. The only mechanic in town was sick and they couldn’t even hitch a ride with anyone. No one was leaving with a storm brewing.
Another night seemed inevitable until Jacqueline suggested a plane or a helicopter and gave them some hope. They soon found a plane but no pilot would fly in storm conditions. That night they made sure they were well liquored up before retiring but it didn’t help. Once more they were woken by strange noises.
‘It must be the hotel ghost,’ Andre informed them at breakfast. His wife was surprised at how well he looked considering what they had drunk the night before. She had a splitting headache and could only face thick black coffee. Pierre looked even worse. He didn’t want to get into any discussions about ghosts and was prepared to walk out of this place, if he had to.
Weather had cleared enough the next day to fly out and as soon as they were airborne Andre started grinning.
‘What are you grinning about?’ Pierre asked.
‘Well you guys were moaning about being bored so I livened things up a bit.’
‘What do you mean livened things up?’
‘You know the ghost thing.’
‘That was you? You bastard!’
‘Well not me exactly but I arranged it. Remember the truck driver? Well his brother owns the hotel and they do those murder weekend things. The place was a bit quiet so he suggested a little boredom breaker for you guys.
Jacqueline punched her husband on the arm, ‘You bastard!’
‘Relieved the boredom though, don’t you think?’ Andre laughed.
‘Well I think you’re right there,’ Pierre agreed. ‘But you’ll get yours. What goes around comes around.’
He started laughing as the plane started coughing and spluttering. ‘I didn’t think we’d get this far,’ he chuckled as the plane started going down.
‘Did you really think the car ran out of gas by accident?’