True in Some Sense

Questions on the Long Road; Chapter 1

Saturday, July 10, 2010, about 8:00 PM (and throughout the following day)

Gidget makes her way out of San Francisco, prepared to drive to Los Angeles. Her drive is initially uneventful.

After making her way out of town, she decides to stop at a little roadside motel about three hours down the highway. She checks into the motel, and after checking email and whatnot — having not received an email from Dr. Gutermuth as of yet — she decides to go to sleep.

At least until she hears a scratching at her window. Wary, she opens the curtains to find nothing but the parking lot. She recloses them and returns to bed, but the scratching starts again. She initially ignores it, but figures she must do something when it grows insistent, thudding against the glass. As she throws the curtains aside, she sees a small, humanoid, reptilian creature with a toothed muzzle and elongated limbs throwing itself against the glass, putting a splintered crack in it. Initially confused, she begins to call the front desk when the thing breaches the glass, sending slivers in all directions with a great sound.

It snaps at her a couple of times, but she manages to evade it and backpedal her way into the hall, just in time to see the night manager making his way down the hall at a quick pace, evidently having heard the breaking glass. She looks to him, and hears a dull thud on the ground, her head swinging back around to see…a charred and burned log.

Though still confused, she tells her story to the night manager, explaining how she saw some animal thing battering against the glass and trying to attack her. Does the area have a zoo that might be the source of some komodo dragon or something? He says no, and eyes her warily. He throws the wood in a plastic bag and calls the police. She is sent to another room for the evening. After getting situated, she speaks to the officer that arrives, telling her story, and then goes to her room for the night. She does not sleep, instead reading for the evening.

Around 3:00 AM, she hears a scratching at her door. Looking out, she sees movement toward the bottom of the peephole, but does not actually see anybody at the door. Placing the security bar on the door, she opens it to be greeted by a slender, clawed hand reaching in. The thing quickly batters the door open, fouling the security bar. Gidget throws her suitcase at it, but the luggage goes wide, leaving her arm open to the thing’s slavering jaws. It bites a chunk out of the crook of her elbow. She manages to evade its further frenzied bites, evading it, grabbing her bags, and running out the door. Seeing a security door on her left, she runs for it, throws it open, and slams it shut. She feels the beast slam against it, and as she runs, she hears a gunshot ring out, accompanied by an indentation on the metal security door. A second shot is fired, and Gidget throws her things in her car to loop around for a better look.

Upon entering the front of the motel, she is greeted by the night manager holding a revolver at his side. He freaks out upon seeing her, telling her to get out of his motel. He fires three shots at her — all miss — as she runs out of the motel and speeds away in her car.

After getting away from him, she pulls to the side of the road to use her cell phone. She calls Lilith first, getting her voicemail, and leaves a message just seeing that all is well. Having texted Paul earlier in the evening, he calls back to see what is happening. She explains her situation, and he explains that she was likely attacked by Pandorans, the abortive attempts at creating more Prometheans that he has previously described. He recommends she finds a place to heal, and then bids her good night.

Gidget wraps her arm and decides to drive straight through the night to Los Angeles. When she finds her way to the city, she gets a first aid kit for future preparation and to better bandage her wounds, putting an Ace bandage on the whole thing to make her gaping wound less noticeable. She checks email and gets breakfast, and not having received an email from Dr. Gutermuth, decides to go south to San Diego. Along the way, she stops for gasoline, and goes to the bathroom, taking the opportunity to stick a finger in an electrical outlet. The lights dim, her wound closes, and electricity starts to arc from her as she removes herself from the outlet. She then pays and makes her way out.

Finally, she arrives in San Diego, deciding to go to the San Diego Zoo. Much to her chagrin, however, she finds that she sees little, as the animals actively avoid her presence, typically positioning themselves as far away from her as possible in their enclosures. Most stay calm, but wary. Some panic.

Saddened, she decides to wander in the Gaslamp Quarter, taking in the sights. After a bit, she realizes that she is being flanked by three fairly nondescript men who all look similar, like brothers. As one tells her that she needs to come with them and shows her his gun for emphasis, she screams “RAPE!” and all hell breaks loose. Most people hide or scatter, possibly calling on cell phones, but a few actually jump in to help. Amid the chaos and the gunshots, Gidget slinks away. She calls the police on her cell phone to inform them, as a bystander, of what is happening. Finally, she returns to her car, and despite not having heard from Dr. Gutermuth, decides that the West Coast is far too crazy. After driving out of the city a brief distance, she turns to head East.

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