Mile 81 is Stand by Me meets Christineâ€”the story of an insatiable car and a heroic kid.
At Mile 81 on the Maine turnpike is a boarded up rest stop, a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. Itâ€™s the place where Pete Simmons goes when his older brother, whoâ€™s supposed to be looking out for him, heads off to the gravel pit to play â€śparatroopers over the side.â€ť Pete, armed only with the magnifying glass he got for his tenth birthday, finds a discarded bottle of vodka in the boarded up burger shack and drinks enough to pass out.
Not much later, a mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadnâ€™t been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says â€śclosed, no services.â€ť The driverâ€™s door opens but nobody gets out.
Doug Clayton, an insurance man from Bangor, is driving his Prius to a conference in Portland. On the backseat are his briefcase and suitcase and in the passenger bucket is a King James Bible, what Doug calls â€śthe ultimate insurance manual,â€ť but it isnâ€™t going to save Doug when he decides to be the Good Samaritan and help the guy in the broken down wagon. He pulls up behind it, puts on his four-ways, and then notices that the wagon has no plates.
Ten minutes later, Julianne Vernon, pulling a horse trailer, spots the Prius and the wagon, and pulls over. Julianne finds Doug Claytonâ€™s cracked cell phone near the wagon door â€“ and gets too close herself. By the time Pete Simmons wakes up from his vodka nap, there are a half a dozen cars at the Mile 81 rest stop. Two kids â€“ Rachel and Blake Lussier â€“ and one horse named Deedee are the only living left. Unless you maybe count the wagon.