Keyahn Vedadi is an aspiring 20-year-old writer. He has lived everywhere but currently resides in Winter Park, Florida. He is currently enrolled at Full Sail University in it's creative writing program. Keyahn has been writing non-fiction since he was in the fifth grade and has always had a passion for dark material such as crime dramas and revenge tales.
ONE WAY TRIP TO HELL
Henry sat on the edge of a long, curvy road wondering how he had gotten to this point. How had he fallen so far? He had everything he could want in life just a few short months ago. Now it was all gone. He didn’t even know where he was. Somewhere in New Mexico maybe? It was in the middle of the desert with plenty of cactuses in view so it had to be somewhere in the Southwest . He didn’t care. He just wanted to find himself a ride to his next fix.
In the distance, he saw a minivan. He jumped to his feet and waved his hands. After a minute, the van came to a halt right in from of him. It carried a fresh faced couple. In the backseat a boy and a girl read books. They all looked as if they had just left church. The man in the driver’s seat talked first. “Where you heading to?”
“I don’t know. Anywhere I guess,” replied Henry.
“Well, we’re heading to Los Angeles, taking the kids to go see all the stars on the sidewalk. You’re welcome to join us,” said the man.
Henry thought about it for a moment. He’d never been to Los Angeles. He used to live in Tampa so he thought it could be similar. He loved the idea of being somewhere that reminded him of home. “Let’s go!” Henry shouted, startling the whole family.
The sliding door of the van opened and Henry climbed inside. He satin the backseat. The two kids were in the aisle seats in front of of him.. The van pulled away.
“So what’s your name, stranger,” said the woman.
“Henry,” he replied.
“Well, hello, Henry,” said the woman. “My name is Lindsey. This is my husband Patrick, and our two kids Hannah and Jackson.”
The two kids looked back at Henry with cold faces. Henry stared for a second and then looked away.
“So what kind of work are you in, Henry?” asked Patrick.
“Well,” Henry replied slowly, “you know, odd jobs. Whatever I can find—”
Patrick stopped him. “Oh well, you’re on the right track then! Los Angeles will have plenty of opportunities for a fellow just as yourself!”
Henry stayed silent. He was creeped out by them. They seemed familiar. Like plenty of families he’d known in the past. Henry felt tired. He had been out in the baking sun all day and couldn’t remember the last time he gotten a decent amount of shut eye. He slowly nodded off as the family sang some weird, made-up song that he couldn’t quite comprehend.
“Wake up Henry!”
Henry woke up startled. It was the two children yelling at him. Henry was very upset but didn’t express it. He looked out the window. It was nighttime. Tall buildings and lights were everywhere. Pedestrians strolled along the sidewalk taking pictures. He was in Hollywood! Henry couldn’t wait to leave this family behind and find his next fix. It had been close to day since he had last gotten one and he was overdue for another. “You can stop here,” Henry blurted out.
No one in the van replied.
“Hello?” Henry was dumbfounded. It was as if they were all taking in the sights and forgotten him.
After a moment, Lindsey replied, “We think it’s best if you stay with us until you get things sorted out.Los Angeles can be a very harsh place for a newcomer .”
“Henry became angry. “No!” he shouted. “I’m fine. Just let me out!”
Everyone remained silent. The van moved at around forty miles an hour, showing no sign of stopping. Henry relented and hastily sat back in his seat.
Thirty minutes later, the van pulled onto a dirt road. This did not look like somewhere that a family would live. There was nothing else in sight except for the large mountains on the horizon. The van drove down the dirt road before pulling up to a large, rough looking building.
Henry froze in silence. Patrick and Lindsey exited the van. A large, gruff looking man stepped out of the building followed by two other men. As they talked, Henry saw something tucked under the seat in front of him. He pulled it out carefully so Hannah and Jackson wouldn’t notice. As he pulled it out, Henry gasped. “Dianetics” by L. Ron Hubbard. Henry knew this book very well. He had been forced to read it growing up. This was no ordinary family like he thought. They were Scientologists, like he had once been.
Henry didn’t think for a second. He jumped out of his seat, slammed open the sliding door and ran as fast as he could from the men at the building. He heard them behind him shouting. Then there was barking. Henry ran faster. He was running out of breath and slowing down.
He felt a great amount of pain in his right leg. He fell over to the ground, landing his face in the dirt below. When he looked up, a German Shepherd loomed above him, barking ferociously. If he moved, it wound pounce on him. Henry knew he was trapped. He thought for a long moment and then stood up. He walked over to the men. They cuffed him as he walked into the rough looking building, defeated in his attempts to leave his old life but realizing he had nowhere else to turn.
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