For a few hundred feet the car bounces over rough ground, and Vincent Chase is rudely shaken into complete consciousness. There’s one last bounce, a big one, and then: suddenly smooth sailing. Somehow they’re on a completely smooth blacktop.
They’re rolling slow, about ten miles per hour. On each side of the big convertible, Vince can see shapes, big shapes in neat rows, rising darker out of the dark. It’s like they’ve landed on another planet, and yet somehow so familiar.
Mary guides the car off the road to the right, slows down, stops. She turns to Vince:
“Get up. We’re here.”
Unquestioning, Vince gets out of the car. If anyone was flying above their heads (and maybe they are, on silent bat wings- there are a lot of strange things in this desert) – but anyway, if they were up there, this is what they would see:
Mary has driven them off of the main highway, across a wide grass embankment, down a street and into a far-suburban cul-de-sac – 16 houses spaced even around the perimeter of the circle. 16 identical houses, and as we pull back, twenty, thirty, forty cul-de-sacs just like this one, drawn onto the nothing of the desert like ancient runes remaining far past their time, now spelling out nothing for an audience of no one.
But that’s from up top. Vincent Chase is not privileged with such a God-like view of the events he is participating in- not yet, anyway. For now, he can barely even think, can barely even gets his legs moving enough to follow the girl into the house:
Up the front path- the lawn on either side still has grass somehow, but in this light it looks black to Vince, and then he looks up at the shadow of the house towering over him, blocking out the stars- he feels sick in a way he can’t describe, stumbles, falls to his knees.
“It’s OK.” Mary is whispering in Vince’s ear.
“You fell. It’s OK. We’re almost home. Just a few more steps. I’ll make you a nice hot cup of tea. Come on.” She helps him to his feet and they make up the path. Mary pushes the door open.
Inside: This must have been someone’s dream house once. Three bedrooms, four baths, a deck out back, a kitchen with one of those islands in the middle with the pots and pans hanging down. All that and a spectacular view of the stars- right through the exposed rafters where the roof would have been, if anyone had ever lived here.