The Twilight Zone: Don't Go Out Tonight
Patricia Jones is a normal young woman. Innocently, she goes bowling one night. But that was a mistake she wishes she would have never made, when she realizes she has entered in to The Twilight Zone.
She had had a horribly busy day and had gotten home late. She had hoped that maybe if she could get some sleep she could sort things out.
She slipped in and out of sleep for about an hour or so but then decided it was no use. She had to get out, had to do something, had to go somewhere. I could go shopping, she thought. No, maybe not. She wasn't really in the mood for it. Maybe bowling, she thought. Yes, bowling sounded fun. She would go by herself, though. Tonight she felt like being alone.
It was about 9:30 pm when she left for the bowling alley. The sky was dark, and clouds covered the stars. She climbed into her car and backed out of the narrow driveway and onto the road. The town was eerie at this time of night, and she felt rather uncomfortable.
The alleys were filled with cats, staring at her with their large, bright green eyes. The lit up sign on a gas station that she passed flickered slowly in the darkness of the night, reflecting off her windshield. It seemed to her that she had been driving for hours when she finally reached the bowling alley.
She was surprised to see that only one car was there, and she assumed that it belonged to the worker. She parked up front right beside the door.
Cats still seemed to be everywhere, lurking around the bowling alley and walking by the road. She stepped out of her car and walked toward the door. 'Open all the time, come in if you wish' the sign read. That's odd. What is that supposed to mean? And I thought they've always closed at midnight. I've never heard of a bowling alley open 24/7! She thought to herself as she entered.
The lights were dim and only one lane was lit up. She looked around her but didn't see anyone there.
"I've been expecting you," said an eerie voice. She quickly turned around to where the voice came from. There stood an elderly lady.
"Uh… what do you mean you've been expecting me?" she asked the lady.
"Well, you are here to play the game, are you not?"
"Well, yes, but-"
"Then come with me," the lady interjected. She reluctantly followed the strange lady.
She eventually found herself standing in front of a long, white counter. The lady reached below the counter and pulled out a pair of bowling shoes.
"How do you know my shoe size?" she asked as she observed the shoes.
"You are just full of questions, aren't you?" the lady said.
"I just don't understand. What is going on?" she asked.
"Just follow me; it's time to play the game. Don't you want to?" the lady said. So she once again hesitantly followed the lady to the lit up lane. She looked up at the score board, and was shocked to see that her name was already on it.
"How did you know my na-"
"I told you, I've been expecting you," the lady interrupted.
"What is your name?" she asked.
"Verna Allucard, call me Miss Vern," the lady answered. "Shall we start?" Miss Vern asked. With an unsure nod from Patricia, Miss Vern rolled the first ball and got a perfect score. Then it was Patricia's turn.
Maybe it was the unnerving situation that was so odd to her, or maybe it was the dim lights, but when Patricia rolled the ball down the lane, she failed badly. It rolled into the gutter after a few feet. "Oh, that's too bad," Miss Vern said as she turned her head to one side. All too quickly, it was Patricia's turn and once again she rolled a gutter ball. And so finally, it was the last round of the game. They each had one turn left.
First went Miss Vern, and then Patricia. She actually had a chance of winning, though it was unlikely. She had somewhat been catching up during the previous rounds. As she slowly walked towards the lane, ball in hand, Miss Vern's voice suddenly stopped her. "You know what happens, don't you? I mean, if you lose," she asked with a creepy smile on her face. "Wha-what do you mean? It's just a game," she said. "Yes, it is a game. But the results may keep you here forever," Miss Vern said. "Well, I can only do my best," she said as she rolled the ball down the lane.
No, no! She cried inwardly as she released the ball from her hands. The ball slowly rolled into the gutter. "Well, that's just too bad," Miss Vern said, "I guess you won't be leaving." "What? What do you mean I'm not leaving?" Patricia asked in disbelief. "You lost," Miss Vern answered. "Well, you just watch me march out of here right now!" Patricia told her. And so she walked briskly towards the door.
But when she tried to open it she realized it was locked, though she still yanked and pulled on it with all her strength, while screaming, "Let me out! Let me out of here!" But Miss Vern did not let her out. "You can't leave now. You lost the game," Miss Vern said, laughing evilly. It was just then that Patricia realized that she was in a horrible situation; an odd one, but horrible indeed. "You lost! You lost!" she heard over and over like a chant. She didn't know where all of the voices were coming from but she wished they would stop. She placed her hands on her head and cried, and then returned to yanking on the door.
Suddenly, everything around her went fuzzy. She found herself lying down in her bed, holding onto her pillow and pulling on it. That was all a dream? I must've gone to sleep after all. She said quietly. It seemed so real to her. At first she was disturbed, but after a while she found it amusing and actually laughed at herself for her silliness. It had been quite some time when one day she went bowling, though the atmosphere wasn't as eerie this time. 'Open from 12pm to 12am' read the sign. She laughed inside. That's more like it, she thought to herself. But, when she entered the bowling alley and walked towards the counter, all of the lights suddenly went out, except for one lit up lane. Everything looked as it did in her dream. Miss Vern walked towards her out of the darkness.
Patricia Jones is helpless. She cannot break through the walls of the odd place she found herself trapped in one day. Occasionaly she escapes, or so she thnks, but she is only granted short glimpses; freedom, that is, that she finds when she is away from the twilight zone.