Creatures love one another, acts of kindness are becoming the norm and good fortune is all around us.
Whoa! It’s getting pretty ugly out there, and not in a good way.
That’s why sometimes you have to get away from your everyday.
That sometime is now!
But you don’t have to go on big trips to get big results. It’s often the simple places and simple things you do that make such a terrifying difference.
So many monsters don’t realize that eating chupacabra on a stick could bring such joy to one’s life, especially when the chupacabra eats back. How about that sinking feeling you discover when you get caught in quicksand . . . and there’s no way out? So cool. There’s also the pleasure you get out of unassumingly leaning against a wall, the wall rotating, and you finding yourself in a snake-infested mummy’s tomb.
If you’re looking for the small displeasures in life, a place where you can breathe the sand-filled air or somewhere to go to get a really, really, REALLY good tan, try the Valley of Doom.
Over the past few hundred years, the Valley of Doom has grown into a place where monsters from any world can come to stretch out their limbs and savor the minor pains we often overlook. There’s no denying that funny, tickly feeling you get when your skin is melting off your bones as you traverse the broiling hot Valley.
Upon your arrival, stop at Border Basin. There’s no better place to find a few things to make you frown.
At the Valley Outfitter right there on the main stretch of the old ghost town, you can get yourself fitted for a hat, boots, sidearm and noose. Sure, maybe the rope is too loose around your neck, it’s a bit frayed, and the tree branch at the other end is dry as a bone and wouldn’t stop your fall if your death depended on it (and it does), but how cool will you be when the rope tightens and you can rock that dangling-eyeballs look throughout the rest of your trip?
Get yourself some of that aforementioned chupacabra from Chupacabra Village. There, you can pick up some of the best prepared vampire beast from Chupacabra Kitchen (it’s a great outdoor eatery), or you can get it fresh next door at Goat Sucker Farms where they breed more chupacabra than anyone else this and that side of the border.
Get it to go. Throughout your day, you can dip your claws into the crinkly paper bag carrying your lunch and pick away at the contents. And just when you think you’ve finished (here comes the best part), your lunch picks away at you. Yes!
Have you heard of the Everything Ever After Network? Of course you have. Who hasn’t? It's a list of little things that make big differences. But those who participate in the Ev-Ev-Aft Network don't always come by those little things so easily. They start out wanting their cake, and they want to eat it, too. They hold the belief that it’s really dumb to bite off more than they can chew. But they go after “everything ever after” anyway.
In the Valley of Doom, there is no cake. This is a desert, not dessert. So there’s nothing here to want, nothing here to eat and nothing here too big to chew. Where the Ev-Ev-After-ers get it right is in their takeaway from their experiences. They go after family and career, six jobs at the same time so they can afford the lavish lifestyle they so desire . . . and still they want more. These American Dream chasers are after it all, after all. And in the end they get squat.
Or do they? It takes time, but the Ev-Ev-After-ers eventually find their true “everything ever after.” When they’re climbing for the peaks, they often find themselves in the valley, and it’s in the valley where they discover those little things -- pure, joyful doom. And it’s THE PITS!
That’s right, the Pits are a series of holes in the ground. If you fall in one, it’ll swallow you up. You ever run your hands through sand? The warm, fine grains go between your fingers, providing that calming sensory experience. Imagine that same experience, but all over your body as sand from the top of the pit you’re in covers you and you can’t breathe anymore. The best part is: You don’t have to do anything to get that experience. You don’t have to pay anything to get that experience. All you had to do was fall in a hole. Just one of the perks you get by being in the Valley.
The Quicksand Ranch has similar appeal. Critics have said, “This place sinks!”
And the Death Walk Tours -- you don’t go into a long hike through nothing to nothing and expect some big material gain. But, like the Ev-Ev-After-ers often discover in the end of their journeys, you wind up finding some other kind of bliss -- your very own “everything ever after” that comes as a result of the unique experience you had. In the case of the Death Walk Tours, you often discover hunger, dehydration, heat exhaustion, loss of skin, dry bones, buzzards from the Buzzard Bowl picking at you constantly . . . Need I share more?
This is one in a series of TRAVEL STORIES from the 13 districts of Transyl-vein-ia. These stories run weekdays between August and September. Jack-o’-Lantern Press’s regular news and entertainment coverage will continue in October.