Thursday, December 15, 2011

Terminal 6: a scary travel story


"We've arrived to LAX early," the flight attendant said, "We had to park at a different terminal, Terminal 6."

Terminal 6, I thought.  Good thing my layover it two hours; I have plenty of time to schlep to my next gate.  People pushed and shoved to get out the door in the typical selfish fashion that strikes people in transit, but eventually I made my way off the plane and into the terminal itself.

As I looked around for a information screen or flight attendant to direct me, I couldn't help but notice the barren terminal.  There were gates with no passengers or attendants, active construction zones all around, and no one to direct us which way to go.  I tried to check my flight on my phone, but I couldn't get any kind of signal.  So, adopting the herd mentality, I followed my fellow passengers ahead as they wove through the maze of construction.

No one knew which way to go, and there was no one to ask.  We passed through a series of tunnels, escalators to nowhere, never seeing another soul for what felt like hours.

"Is this the way to baggage claim?" a blonde mother asked.

"I'm trying to find a connecting flight," another passenger said.  I told him I was doing the same, but neither of us new which direction to head.  Every new sign with an arrow had a contradicting sign nearby; we passed only one hurried pilot who answered none of our questions but pointed us down another long, white hallway.  There were no windows, no doors, just singular paths; I couldn't help but feel we were calves being led to slaughter.

Finally we reached a terminus, a single elevator door.  There were no stairs, no other way to go.  It was a dead end.

"This is like the Twilight Zone," one man said, laughing nervously.

"No, it's like the beginning of a horror movie," I said.  Everyone laughed with anxious smiles as we waited for the elevator doors to open.  As the doors closed before us, we didn't know which button to push; the doors opened on floor "0", where we saw two emotionless airport workers staring back at us.

"Is this the way out?" one of us asked.  They ominously directed us one floor up, to level "P" for planes.

No one spoke as we made our way up.  I nervously checked my phone for reception, but there still was none at all.  We stared quietly at the doors, when we heard a noise behind us.  I turned quickly, unsure of what we'd find.

We saw lights!  We saw shops!  We saw restaurants!  Everyone laughed and smiled at one another, heaving sighs of relief.  As I exited the elevator, I looked back with uncertainty.  That is not how horror movies end.  The worst must be yet to come… but since I am the narrator, I figure I've got a better chance of survival than most.

After all, horror movies always end up with sequels.

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