"I hate to say it, but I think we're lost." Nick said as he drove down a gravel road.
"You had a map, what did you do with it?" AJ said as he was looking in the glove box.
"It's right here, and according to the map, we should be on Interstate 96, westbound." Nick said as he held the map up.
AJ grabbed the map from Nick's hand. "Pull over and let's take a look at this."
Nick obeyed AJ's request and pulled the Durango off to the side of the road. He turned the dome lights on so that they could read the map together.
"Okay, how were you reading this?" AJ questioned Nick with an impatient tone in his voice.
Nick took the map and flipped it over. "Um, like this here."
AJ smacked Nick with the map on top of his head. "Nick! You were looking at it upside down, don't you know how to read a map for crying out loud?"
"I didn't have it like that all the time, genius." Nick corrected AJ.
"Oh, really? And, I am afraid to ask the next question, but how did you have it?" AJ peered over the top of his glasses.
"Like this and like this." Nick said as he turned the map in one direction and then another.
AJ tossed the map down onto the floor. "Well, this thing is completely useless to us now. How do you think we will find our way out of this mess?"
"We just follow the map backwards, we can backtrack." Nick offered happily.
"Nah, it don't work that way, boy, you have us completely lost now." AJ sighed.
"Well, lets go drive up to this house, they can probably tell us how to get back on the interstate." Nick said as he turned the Durango up a long dark driveway towards a house on the hill.
As they approached the house, lightening was flashing in the sky. "Whoa, this is almost like something out of a scary movie, huh AJ?" Nick observed.
"Ah, yeah." AJ replied nervously.
Nick knocked on the door. They were greeted by a tall, pasty white, thin man that appeared to be in his 40's. AJ and Nick exchanged glances out the corners of their eyes when the man spoke in a soft voice.
"Come in, I will get mommy." The man gestured for Nick and AJ to come into the house. Nick and AJ glanced at each other again and shrugged their shoulders as they walked into the large brick house.
Nick and AJ looked at the top of the long staircase and saw an elderly woman dressed in a long black dress standing at the top of the stairs. They watched her without saying a word as she slowly walked down the staircase.
"Edward tells me that you are in need of directions to the interstate?" The woman asked in a sweet voice.
"Yes, my friend and I are lost and need directions, could you help us?" AJ asked pensively.
"Oh, I can help you, but I think you boys should stay the night, it is getting awfully stormy out there and you really do not need to go out in this kind of weather. We have plenty of rooms so you would not inconvenience us in the least, I insist." The woman gestured towards the stairway as she offered a room to the boys.
Nick glanced at his watch. "No we really can't stay, we are so late for our appointment, the others will worry about us."
"Well, you can call them, you really must stay, it is too stormy out there and I'm afraid if something happened to you, I would never forgive myself." The woman insisted as she locked the doors behind AJ and Nick.
"I guess we don't have a choice in the matter." Nick sighed.
"No, you really don't. Now come, let me show you to your rooms." The woman guided Nick and AJ up the stairs to their rooms. "I want you to make yourself comfortable, and I would imagine that you are hungry. Please, wash us and then come down to the kitchen, I am an excellent cook and I would be pleased if you ate something before retiring for the night." The woman closed the door and AJ and Nick were alone.
"Man, she is really giving me the creeps." AJ said as he looked around the bedroom.
"Aww, just chill, she's just being hospitable, there's nothing wrong with being that way." Nick brushed off AJ's remark. "And besides, she did offer us something to eat and I am pretty hungry, getting lost worked up and appetite."
AJ rolled his eyes when he heard that Nick was hungry. "Nick, I think that the most important thing in your life is your stomach."
"Race ya down the stairs!" Nick took off out the door. AJ was reluctant and followed Nick down the stairs, shaking his head as he watched him take two steps at a time.
As they entered the kitchen, Nick was suprised to see all of the food that was spread out on the table and the countertops.
"Wow, this is like a Christmas party or something!" Nick exclaimed.
I'm glad you like what you see, this is all for you both, I know how hungry boys can be." The old woman smiled sweetly.
The woman watched Nick and AJ each take a sandwich and a glass of milk. As they thanked her, she corrected them.
"No, this is all for you, I would be very upset if you didn't eat all of it."
AJ and Nick looked at the banquet that the woman had set up for them. The food that was placed out could easily feed a crowd of 100 people.
"There is no way we could possibly eat all of this food. I can swear this time that I couldn't possibly eat all of this!" Nick offered.
"Yeah, if Nick is actually admitting he couldn't eat all of this, he really can't." AJ observed.
"Well, just start eating your sandwiches, boys, you will think differently in a bit, I am sure you will change your minds. I will leave you alone so you won't feel uncomfortable with me watching you eat." The woman closed the sliding doors that led to another room.
AJ played with his sandwich, he was not hungry at all. He sat back and watched Nick start eating his sandwich.
"Man! AJ, you should try your sandwich, this is unbelievable!" Nick said between bites. After he finished his sandwich, he got up and grabbed a plate and started to pile food onto it. He sat back down and started to literally shovel the food into his mouth.
"Hey, slow down there Nicky, you're scaring me." AJ said nervously.
"Come on, AJ, honest, you gotta try your sandwich." Nick insisted.
AJ looked at the ham sandwich that lay on his plate. Reluctantly, he picked it up and took a bite out of it. "Wow! Hey, Nick you're right, this is awesome, I have never had anything like this in my life." AJ finished the sandwich and got up and piled more food onto his plate. Once he and Nick finished their food, they both decided that they were extremely tired and wanted to go to their rooms to bed.
As AJ followed Nick up the stairs, he noticed what looked like pointed ears coming out of the sides of Nick's head.
"Hey Nick, turn around and look at me for a second, it looks like something's in your hair." AJ asked calmly.
As Nick turned around, AJ nearly fell down the stairs, Nick's ears had definately changed shape, they appeared to look like a cat's ears. As the light hit Nick's face, AJ noticed that Nick's nose was growing darker and wider. Nick seemed to be oblivious to the changes that were happening.
Startled at the changes, AJ yelled, "Whoa, Nicky, something's happening to you."
Just as AJ was crying out, Nick was shocked to see that AJ's hair was turning colors like a calico cat's and was getting longer and almost fluffy.
"Oh my god, AJ, you should see what's happening to you!" Nick shoulted.
Just as the boys reached the mirror at the top landing on the stairs, the elderly woman came out from behind a curtain.
"Yes!" She cried, "my plans are working perfectly." She clasped her hands together as if she was pleased with the changes in Nick and AJ.
"Hey! You put some kind of spell on that food, didn't you?" Nick asked her angrily.
The old woman laughed. "I just wanted to have some company, it gets pretty lonely in this big old house. Be patient, it will all be over soon."
"That's what we're afraid of," AJ shouted at the old woman. "Change me back, NOW."
The old woman continued to laugh as the changes were starting to take on more definition. "Oh, but you will like it like this, no one to bother you anymore, you can just spend you days laying in the window in the sun. It will be a much nicer life for you, boys."
"But I like my life the way it is." Nick hissed at the old woman. "STOP THIS NOW!"
Because Nick had eaten before AJ and had more to eat than what AJ did, his changes were completed and AJ was shocked to see Nick looking up at him with the blue eyes of a Siamese cat. Nick couldn't talk, rather his speech was a plaintitive meowing.
As Nick continued to meow in a very annoying way, the old woman decided that she had had enough of it.
Sighing, she said, "This is not what I had in mind. You must leave now, I no longer have any use for either of you." She waved her hand back and forth as if she were shooing flies out of the air.
"Wait a minute! Look at Nick, fix him this isn't right, he can't leave like this!" AJ demanded.
The old woman sighed. She reached into a cupboard and produced two green pills. She shoved them at Nick and AJ. "Take these, this will change you back to normal."
AJ eyed the pills suspiciously. "How do I know that these won't do something else to Nick?"
"What does he have to lose? Take them unless you want to spend the rest of your life looking the way you do right now!" The old woman hissed at Nick and AJ.
Both took the pills from the woman and swallowed them quickly. Almost instantly, AJ was back to normal. It took Nick a few minutes before he was transformed back to the way he was.
"Come on, AJ, let's get out of here, I've had enough of this place." Nick said as he pulled AJ's arm.
Running, they wasted no time in heading out the door and getting into Nick's Durango. Nick drove fast down the gravel road, trying to put some distance between the vehicle and the old woman's house.
Oddly enough, in Nick's haste to get away from the old woman, he drove the right way to the hall where he and AJ were to meet Brian, Howie and Kevin.
Satisfied, Nick put the vehicle in to park. "Wow that was pretty damn lucky."
AJ and Nick entered the hall and ignored the snide comments and remarks the guys had to offer about them being so late. Nick sat in a director's chair and waited until he was called to be placed for the group photo.
Brian,looking over at Nick, stopped dead in his tracks when he noticed Nick licking the back of his hands and running them over his head like a cat would.
"Um, Nick, is there something you want to tell me?" Brian asked as he watched Nick repeat his motions with licking his hands.
Startled, Nick pulled his hands down to his side.