Going to work one day, I approached the entrance to the parking garage. I noticed a GPS device sitting on top of a yellow box that contained the weekly free newspaper. No one was around, the place was empty. Hooked into to the GPS was a wire that attached to a cigarette lighter on a car’s dashboard. Rain was on the horizon, I snatched the GPS and put it in my satchel. Forgot about it.
Later that night, I unpacked my bag and remembered the GPS. I tried turning it on but either the battery was dead, it was broken or I needed to plug it into the proper outlet. I quickly made a poster that read: FOUND! GPS device. If this is yours, please call/text message me at the following number: 416.---.----. Please be prepared to tell me the brand name of the GPS. I want to ensure it goes to the right person.
I stapled the poster on the community bulletin board in the stairwell that led to the parking garage. I expected a call or message within the hour, imagining one of those awful moments when you discovered you’ve lost something expensive. All day they were racking their brains, trying to recall where they left the GPS. And they would see my poster and be filled with hope. I would be a hero.
No one called. I forgot about it myself except for the times I passed my poster in the stairwell. I would read, FOUND!, and think, Isn’t that nice. I’d get to the phone number and wonder, Hey, that’s awfully similar to my phone number. Yes, I can be a bit dense sometimes.
After a week, I assumed that the GPS must have been broken and the owner didn’t need it anymore. However, my curiosity encouraged me to bring the GPS down to my car. I turned on the ignition, plugged the cord into the cigarette lighter. The GPS lit up immediately and the last destination popped up on the screen. It was a little out of the city, but not too far. I had nothing to do tonight. I put the car in gear and pulled out of the parking garage.
This deceivingly simple decision changed my life. Maybe it was a little odd, a strange thing to be doing. At first, I thought perhaps the destination would lead me to the owner of the GPS. But why would someone put their home as the destination? Didn’t they know where they lived?
I drove for about an hour. Pulled on to a country road. Dust and dirt created a cloud in my wake, pebbles and gravel flew from my tires. No street lights, just the illumination of my headlights in front and red brake lights behind. The GPS instructed me to keep going another one hundred meters and the road would end. I stopped where I was told.
I looked around, kept the car running just in case I needed to make a quick getaway. But I couldn’t see beyond my headlights, the darkness too thick for my city eyes. I turned the car off, the engine fading away. My eyes adjusted to the dark, the only light the stars and the moon. Instantly, I saw a shack to the right of my car. I didn’t get out yet, just waited, watched for movements. I’ve seen too many horror movies.
Finally, I opened my car door, the creak loud in the night. I closed the door quietly, just incase whoever or whatever was out there didn’t hear my noisy car approach. The road really did end, the GPS did not lie. Long grass wilted in the wind, large trees flanked the road on either side. I slowly walked to the darkened shack, I wished I had a flashlight in my car. It was old, barely standing, made of decomposing wood. I made a wide circle around to the side, stopped every few steps, listened for noises. Nothing seemed out of place, the only sounds were of nature. I looked into the side window but couldn’t really see inside.
I walked around to the front of the shack. Put my hand on the dirty knob, turned, as quietly as possible opened the door. Something came flying at me, I ducked and watched as a crow landed on the roof of the shack. I took a few breaths to settle my heartbeat. The only illumination in the shack was from the moon, it was only one room and I could see an object in the middle of the room. A tiny vase.
From the corner of my eye, movement through the window.
Quickly, I scanned the rest of the shack, but it was empty. I snatched the vase and as I did, the front door slammed shut. I tried the doorknob but it was locked. I threw the vase through the window, smashed the glass. Ran towards the window and jumped out, cutting the outside of my hand on the rigged glass, landing painfully on the ground. I heard some footsteps – or something – coming around the shack. I grabbed the vase and ran to my car. Didn’t look back. Remember, I have seen too many horror movies.
I jumped in the car, hands shaking, finding it hard to simply put the key into the ignition. Finally, the engine roared to life, I peeled away, I thought I saw something running from behind the shack. I didn’t want to wait around and learn who or what it was hiding out in the dark.
I drove fast, not sure how I avoided the police. At home, I was still shaking. The vase was nothing special, a plain blue with no design. I tried to relax but kept pacing back and forth. My now bandaged hand throbbing. I picked up the vase, put it back down. Picked it up again, my hands were still shaking, I accidentally dropped it on the ceramic floor, it smashed into three pieces. Amongst the ruins was a small piece of paper rolled up. It had a message on it and coordinates to be put into a GPS. The message said one word: