Are You Afraid of the Dark?
If we had taken our flight to Split as a sign of what was to come, maybe none of this would have happened. But we didn't...so it did.
Calling our flight, rough and bumpy, would be an understatement. At one point, a woman leaving the restroom, actually fell on top of us and then just buckled up with us because it was too dangerous for her to continue down the aisle. I was several mini bottles of red wine deep, so I had pretty much come to terms with my life. It's been real, world. GOODNIIIGHHTT CROAATIIAA, I slurred, as this stranger, grasped my arm with what can only be referred to as a white knuckled death grip. I really helped calm her down. Our plane plunged down towards the tarmac, bounced, swerved, slammed the brakes on, and we were there! Croatia, you savage minx.
A bunch of frazzled people rapidly exited the plane, into the pitch dark night. A woman, acting as a patrol of sorts, looked both ways and then frantically motioned for us to sprint across the tarmac before we got hit by an oncoming bus.
Cursing the woman for making me run, my sisters and I hopped into a taxi, and hoped it was heading towards the area where our apartment was supposed to be. We pulled up to a corner, that I would describe as unnerving. It was ominously silent, with not a soul around. We were unloading our bags, looking for any indication of our hostel..or life, when a woman suddenly emerged out of the darkness. She approached the vehicle and asked our names. Before we could respond, she and the taxi driver began to speak in rapid Croatian.
Our driver turned and told us to stand on an incredibly sketchy corner and wait for a different girl. If this mystery woman didn’t come in five minutes, we were to walk 500 meters down the alley and then turn right. Alarmed, my sisters and I looked at each other, but when we looked back to ask several much needed questions, the woman and the taxi driver were both gone. What is going on? Who was that woman? Was she real? Who is that other woman? Did we even get all our bags out of the taxi?! Were we ever even in a taxi?!
This may be surprising to you, but the other girl never showed and we decided it unwise to continue to stand, obviously lost, on a street corner. We walked into a vast, desolate, ghost land of a town square, with seemingly empty hotels. What the hell is going on?! We turned, suddenly face to face with a man, dressed in all black. What the f*** is going on?! Nervously, we asked him for directions to our hostel. He turned and pointed down the sketchy looking alley, we had been trying so hard to avoid.
With no other choice, the three of us stepped towards the shadows. Nothing like a creepy alley to sober you up, I thought bitterly. My senses were suddenly heightened and I felt chicken skin rising on the back of my neck.
I turned around, alarmed to see that the man in black was walking slowly towards us, blocking our only exit (there were actually several other exits as we would come to see in the daylight). I began to run rapid calculations in my head to determine if two mediocrely fit girls and one super fit girl could take down a skinny middle aged man, remembered Erin’s Swiss army knife and her 14 pack, and decided we could.
“Erin, you have your knife?”
“It’s stowed away at the bottom of my bag.”
“Shit. At least we still have your abs.”
The man in black, had closed the gap between us far too quickly. He slowly reached into his back pocket. I tensed, heart pounding, blood racing, ready to dodge bullets, since I am actually a lightning fast super hero, not a sleep deprived woman who had recently downed several airplane bottles of wine. He pulled out a cell phone and proceeded to call the owner of the hostel and bitch him out for not being there to let us in.
He turned to us with a smile and said, “Okay. Five minutes. You wait.”
He turned and slowly receded back from whence he came.
With no other options, we continued to wait, in this creepy alley, at 11pm at night. During our waiting period, a crazy woman opened her window and yelled at us threatening to call police, and a group of teenage boys walked passed rubbing their hands together saying, “Oooh, Americans.”
After some looks from my sister’s and I that resembled this:
the teens ran away. Weird.
After what felt like hours, an odd man wearing bathing suit bottoms, flip flops, and blinding yellow shirt with Honolulu printed on the front, casually strolled down the alley. He smiled widely, revealing several missing teeth. He seemed nice enough, but unfortunately proved to be incredibly incompetent at every single aspect of his job. He walked us up to a shared room and checked us into bunk beds…with people already in them.
“We actually are supposed to be staying in an apartment.”
“No. You sleep here.”
“Someone is actually, physically sleeping in this bed, right now, right there.”
“Uh…yes, that is a human body in the bed.”
“Megan, Megan, Megan, You make me lose my job.”
“What?! We just want beds with someone not already sleeping in them!"
At this point, anything that was said by anyone made my sister's and I laugh. This conversation had us in stitches. We tried to catch our breath while the man in yellow walked away pissed and went to make a phone call. He came back and confirmed that our apartment was actually further down the road.
We once again found ourselves back in the desolate alley, late night. After about five steps down the alley, Kelsey realized that she left her camera bag in the hostel. We sprinted back and pounded on the door. When our favorite guy in yellow saw that it was us, he looked up at the ceiling as if willing us to disappear.
“Nope, still hereeee! Not figments of your imagination.”
He opened the door and we sped upstairs. Thankfully, her camera was still sitting there on somebody’s already occupied bed. Huzzah!
We bid our #1 admirer adieu and proceeded back to our place.
It was pretty late by then, but because of the time change and several near death incidents, we were alliiiveee and we were hungry! Also, we were too scared to stay in our possibly haunted apartment, so instead, we moseyed down the once ominous, now too familiar alleyway back towards the main square.
Surprisingly, we began to hear a sweet melody. Real tunes or figments of our sleep deprived imaginations?
We started following the music because what did we have to lose besides everything? We stumbled back to the once empty town square, which was now adorned with pillows, candles, and an acoustic guitarist playing Jack Johnson, Bob Marley and some Jackson Brown. The backdrop of ancient ruins fully completed our spooky night and provided excellent acoustics. The three of us snuggled up at a table, ordered an absurd amount of food and local wine to celebrate surviving the alley and sat back to enjoy the music.